Online Application
Printable Application
Special Needs Goldens
Blank Adoption Contract

Memorials & Tributes
Puppy Mills & Auctions
Helpful Dog Information
Poetry and Prose
Success Stories
Before You Adopt
Dog Poisons

Thank you for taking the time to learn how to adopt a  Golden Retriever. Please note that we cannot accept applications from outside our chartered area of northern California and the Reno/Lake Tahoe area.    For questions, send an email to [email protected]

NGRR screens all applicants thoroughly so we have a lengthy application which we will review with you both on the phone and in person before we will consider placing a Golden in your household.

We will try to contact you within 10 days, but please be aware we are all volunteers who donate our time and that our response to you may be delayed due to other commitments.  

To submit an application, see our On-Line Adoption Application  or our  Printable Adoption Application.   Note that we identify your Area Adoption Coordinator  for applications and questions based on the city and county you enter. 

If you want to find out more about a particular dog, the best way is to submit the On-Line Adoption application and inquire about the dog in the comments section. This way we can evaluate your needs and see if the dog of interest to you will be the best match.

To adopt a Golden, NGRR requests an adoption fee of $400 at the time of placement. Your donation helps us meet our veterinary costs per dog which is usually greater than the adoption donation. Adoption donations for senior dogs (I.e. over 8 yrs old)  and special needs Goldens may be adjusted.


Please allow up to 10 days for a volunteer to contact you. If after 10 days you are not contacted, you may leave a voice message on our Hot Line at 650-615-6810 or call our Cell 650-665-0964.

Please be aware that:
1. NGRR Obligation   We cannot and do not guarantee a Golden for every applicant. We look for the Golden with the best match to your household's requirements as shown on your application and follow up reviews. However, if your requirements are too narrow regarding behavior, compatibility with your children or other pets, etc., it will delay or may eliminate you from getting a Golden from us.

Applications with the least restrictions on behavior, age, compatibility, etc., and who meet our requirements, stand the best chance of adopting a Golden sooner. Conversely, purposely submitting an application that does not accurately represent your real needs can only result in a bad outcome (wrong dog, then unhappy dog and family) so we strongly recommend that your application represents your real needs.

2. Age-- Nearly all of the dogs we rescue are older than 18 months; we rarely have puppies. However, our number one request from applicants is to adopt a Golden under 18 months. So, if you specify only a dog under 18 months, it could delay your adopting a Golden from us. If you do not wish to broaden your age requirements, we recommend you find a reputable breeder.  Do this  by going to the  Puppy Page at the NORCAL Golden Retriever Club website where there is an e mail address you can contact for a current list of reputable breeders.

3. Responsibility--We require adopters to be fully committed to the ongoing health and welfare of the dog, including regular vet checkups, inoculations, etc. We prefer that the new Owner not leave the dog alone for long periods during the day, regularly exercise the dog, socialize the dog with other people and other dogs, and train the dog in the obedience basics (sit, stay, down, leave it, not pulling on the leash, etc.)

4. Adoption Guidelines  NGRR  finds safe, loving homes for our dogs where we want them to become household pets and part of your family. Before you adopt, we want to assure that your house and yard are suitable for the dog, and that  dog will be well cared for as a family member.  This is why we have such a long adoption application and then insist on a  home visit before you are approved to adopt a dog from us. The dogs that are surrendered to us have aready been through tough times and deserve a loving home that has been screened by us to afford the best possible chance for success.

For a better discussion of our adoption guidelines, please see our Frequently Asked Questions. While each of our Adoption Coordinators has some leeway in placing dogs, applicants with exceptions to the guidelines will likely have lower priority for an adoption.

5. Household Support  We require that all members of the household who will be responsible for the care of this dog support  this application.

6. Application Process- Following your application submittal, the Adoption Coordinator in your area (as determined by the county and city on your application) will contact you by phone to review it. If this goes well, we will set up a home visit by one of our volunteers. The volunteer will review all the items on your application to assure complete clarity and understanding. If this goes well, you will then be an approved applicant, and we will actively be looking for the best match for you.

When your Adoption Coordinator finds a potential match, he/she will set up a time for you to see the dog. This works best if you bring the whole household and any other pets in your house to see the dog to assure a good fit. Typically this means you have to drive to the dog's foster location. If this visit goes well, then you can sign our Adoption Contract, provide the recommended donation, and adopt the dog.

7. Dog List  The list you see on our Available Dog page only shows dogs we choose to put on this page. There are typically more dogs who may not be available right now, or where we don't have a current picture, etc., that are not on this page. So don't defer submitting your application just because you don't see a perfect match for you on our Available Dog list.

8. Vacant Area   If you are in an Area where we have no representatives,  but you are very interested in adopting from us, please complete the application and submit it. You will get an auto response that the Area is vacant, but if there is a chance we can find one of our volunteers  out of your area to visit you, you will be contacted by our Vacant Area Coordinator who will do an initial phone interview and then try to arrange the  home visit.

9. False or Misleading Adoption Applications  Please DO NOT contact or send applications to our Adoption Coordinators outside of your home area by filling in a false county and/or city.  It will delay your application, and puts an undue burden on our people trying to figure out who you are, what Area you live in, who has your application, which of our volunteers will be working with you, etc. Work only with the Adoption Coordinator in your home area or the Vacant Area Coordinator.

10. Our geographic area
We operate in Northern California from Fresno to the Oregon border plus the areas around Reno, Sparks and Incline Village, Nevada.  We cannot accept adoption applications if you live out of this area.