GRREAT (703) 620-6593

Close Icon
Contact Info     Available Dogs Special Needs Dogs Donate Now


We welcome your interest in adopting a rescued Golden Retriever.  The satisfaction and love derived from giving a homeless dog a loving Forever Home is boundless, and we hope to provide you with the information that will enable you to successfully adopt a wonderful GRREAT dog.   Before you take the next step, we hope you can answer “yes” to the question: Is a Golden Retriever the right dog for me and my family?

Jinx 12-005 was turned over to a shelter at the tender age of 6 months.

Jinx 12-005 was turned over to a shelter at the tender age of 6 months.


  • IN GENERAL, OUR COVERAGE AREA centers on the Baltimore and DC beltways and surrounding areas, but we do have gaps in this area that we can’t cover, and we do have other areas on the outer edges that we can sometimes cover. See a general map of our area HERE. If in doubt, please ask:
  • IF YOU ARE NOT IN OUR AREA, you can find other GR Rescues here: GR Rescues By State and don’t forget to check your local shelters and humane societies.


Click here for the GRREAT Adoption Application now! Please fill it out online, then print, sign, and mail it in. All adults in your household MUST sign and initial the application.  We require original signatures, so please do NOT send the application electronically.

  • The non-refundable application fee is $25 and must be included with mailed application. The application fee cannot be paid online.

Return your completed application to the appropriate address

In Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware:  
Application Coordinator
201 Prince St NE
Leesburg, VA  20176
In Virginia, DC and West Virginia:  
Application Coordinator
201 Prince St NE
Leesburg, VA  20176

Please allow us 4 to 5 weeks to process your application. Why does it take so long?

A home visit is required

  • After your application has been reviewed, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment to visit your family.  All family members and anyone else living in the home MUST be present for this home visit.
  • We will contact your personal and/or veterinarian references as part of the approval process. Please call your Vet to give them permission to speak with us.

How long will an approved application stay active?

  • An approved application will remain active for 6 months and can be re-activated, at 6 month intervals, for up to 2 years from the date of the original approval.  After this time, a new application must be submitted.


Notification of available dogs and adoption days

  • A list of available dogs is emailed to all approved applicants approximately every other month.  The list gives a description of each dog and contact information for the dog’s foster home.  We usually have 5 – 10 dogs of all ages available for adoption at any given time, but we seldom get puppies under 6 months of age.  An interim list can be requested at any time by emailing the Adoption Coordinator.
  • There is also an online list of Available Dogs.  This list is updated throughout the month and does not include foster home contact information. Only approved applicants are provided with foster home contact info.
  • Adoption Days are scheduled periodically, and are listed in the GRREAT Calendar of Events. There are currently no Adoption Days planned.

Finding the Right Dog

  • When you contact a foster home about a particular dog, a telephone interview may be conducted, and then arrangements may be made for you to meet and discuss the dog in more detail.
  • We suggest you look for a dog that matches your lifestyle and has the personality characteristics you desire, rather than limiting yourself to a particular gender and/or age.
  • We evaluate the temperament, activity level, and needs of each dog to determine the most suitable type of adoptive home for the dog.  Dogs are placed with the home that best meets the dog’s needs, NOT on a “first come, first served” basis.
  • The final adoption decision is made by the foster home, based on GRREAT’s guidelines and the assessment of the needs of the dog in question.
  • It is not possible to estimate how long it will take for you to find “just the right Golden,” but the broader the range you consider, the faster you will find a wonderful GRREAT dog.

Vaccinations and spay/neuter

  • All GRREAT dogs are current on vaccinations, have had fecal and heartworm tests, and are on heartworm preventative.
  • All GRREAT dogs are spayed or neutered before being made available for adoption.


  • All dogs adopted from GRREAT are microchipped.
  • The microchip is permanently registered to GRREAT so please let us know if any of your contact information changes.

The adoption fee

  • The adoption fee must be paid at the time of adoption.
  • Fees are based on the age of the dog and help to partially offset the cost of medical care. Currently the average cost incurred to ready a golden retriever for adoption is well in excess of $1,000.
  • Current adoption fees are:
    • 3 years or younger – $750
    • 4 through 7 years of age – $600
    • 8 years or older – $500
  • Adoption fees are subject to change without notice. The adoption fees you pay will be those in effect at the time of adoption, not those in effect at the time of application.

Formalized training for some dogs

  • Some dogs may be required to attend a formalized obedience class within 4 weeks of being adopted.
  • If obedience training is required, a $50 course deposit must be paid at the time of adoption.
  • When the obedience course has been completed, please email your Certificate of Completion to the Adoption Coordinator.  Please include the dog’s GRREAT ID number on the certificate.  A refund of the deposit will be mailed to you or you may convert the deposit to a tax deductible donation.


  • We will contact you after your GRREAT dog has been adopted to ensure things are going smoothly with the new addition to your family.
  • We encourage you to get in touch with us at any time if you have questions or concerns about your rescued Golden Retriever.


Before you make the commitment to adopt a Golden Retriever, we would like you to consider that owning a dog is a big responsibility and one that you should be prepared to honor for the life of the dog.  The average life span of a Golden Retriever is 12-14 years.  Goldens are large active dogs, weighing 60 to 90 pounds, and often display puppy-like behavior until they are 3 or more years old.  They are active family dogs who need attention, exercise, and training throughout most of their lives, but they are intelligent loving dogs who respond well to direction.  Goldens shed and require regular grooming. You should be prepared to care for the needs of your dog throughout his or her life.  You can expect to pay an average of $1,500 yearly to give your Golden the proper care.  This does not include the cost of a serious medical problem. An advantage in choosing to adopt a rescued dog is that you can be matched to a dog that fits your family’s lifestyle, and some Goldens require much less attention than others.   Many of our dogs are already well-trained and can easily transition to a new home. If you’re ready to adopt a GRREAT dog, the information on this page will guide you through the process.  Click here to go to the first step in the adoption process.