How To Adopt

How The Application Process Works

Our top 4 Frequently Asked Questions about adopting a dog from GRRMF.

1. Can you find us a golden retriever to meet our needs (family, home environment and lifestyle)?

This is a great question and why we have provided so much information below for you to read as well as the links for addition information to review.  Please take your time to carefully read this important page about our required policies and processes. It will give you the information you need to decide if we are the right rescue organization to meet your expectations.

2. What is the adoption application processing fee?

There is a $25.00 non-refundable processing fee which you will be prompted to remit after you successfully submit your online application. This payment must be received before your application will be reviewed. If your application is declined or if you withdraw your application for any reason, your processing fee will not be refunded.

3. What are the adoption fees?

Our adoption fees range from $450 – $850 depending on the age range of the dog you are matched to adopt. See below for our current fees by age.  Adoption fees are subject to change based on medical costs, transportation or unexpected charges incurred to ensure the wellness of the dog while in our care.

4. How long is the application processing time?

Our current processing time from start (when you submit an application) to finish (when you receive your application approval) is approximately 2 months. This includes 3-4 weeks before first contact to schedule our phone interview, the availability of time you and our volunteers have to complete the phone interview and to schedule and complete the home visit. There are exceptions to this timeline that can make the processing time a little shorter or longer and is tied to the amount of applications we are processing and the available time of our volunteers and our hopeful adopters – you! Please remember we are a 100% volunteer organization and thank you for your patience as our committed volunteers work as quickly as possible to complete these important steps for you.

Things you need to know about adopting from GRRMF:

  1. AREA OF COVERAGE: We currently cover the west coast from Gainesville south to the Sarasota area, the entire central and north-central Florida area, and the east coast from Jacksonville to Vero Beach. We cover Tampa / St. Pete and all the surrounding areas including Bradenton. We do not cover south Florida on the east coast south of Vero Beach or west coast south of Sarasota, Big Bend or the Panhandle. There are other rescues in Florida who cover these areas beyond our reach. If you have questions about your area of coverage, email us at before filling out an application. You can also use this link which has a directory of golden rescues nationwide including Florida. You can also do a google search on Golden Retriever rescues near me to see their area of coverage on their websites.
  2. IF YOU RENT: Before we start to review your application we need you to submit either a letter from your landlord or a copy of the specific section in yo lease allowing you to have a big dog (70 pounds or over). We will not start the process of an application from a renter without this and will be up to the applicant to send to us within two weeks of receipt of the application or the application will be closed.
  3. FENCES and DOGGIE DOORS: We require a fenced yard for dogs under 5.  Our fence policy is firm based on the knowledge we have about our dogs and breed needs for their safety.  If you have young children we require a fence for any age dog. If you have an electronic/invisible fence or intend to install one, we are unable to adopt a dog to your family.    GRRMF does not approve doggie doors,  particularly those with screened flaps, that provide unsupervised entry or exit from the house in your absence Please read more about doggie doors and the downside of doggie doors.
  4. YOUNG DOGS: If you want a young dog (under 4) we require that adopters attend obedience training with their dog. Training must be with the adopter in attendance; sending your dog off to boot camp is not an option.
  5. FOR SENIORS WANTING TO ADOPT: Please review this information on adopting for senior applicants.
  6. THERAPY WORK – As many of our dogs come from unknown backgrounds, we do not adopt dogs for the specific purpose of performing as a Service Dog or Emotional Support Dog.  A dog adopted through GRRMF is to be your pet. We do not perform temperament testing to determine the likelihood of therapy work behaviors for any dog in our program. When you adopt, you must ensure time is provided for your dog to settle in and adjust to their new environment and people. Only then will you understand their needs and comfort level to determine if THEY may have an interest in moving forward into therapy work.   A dog’s interest is dependent on many factors but perhaps the most important is the relationship between the dog and the handler.  If you determine your dog wants to move forward, complete your CGC certification to gain that mutual confidence of working as a team. When you and your dog are ready, we look forward to hearing from you to join our Hearts of Gold therapy team servicing many of our communities in mid-Florida.

When we receive your application the review process unfolds in a series of steps:

  1. APPLICATION REVIEW & VET CHECK: First we will review your submitted application to ensure it is complete and can be processed in line with our policies and processing steps. We will also contact the veterinarian you list, so please alert them to the fact you have submitted an application and they have your approval to release any information on care of past and current pets. Not doing so delays the application processing time.
  2. PHONE INTERVIEW: After an initial review, your application is given to one of our phone interviewers who will call you. Depending on questions we have about your application, the call may take a few minutes or 30 minutes or more.
  3. HOME VISIT: If all goes well with the phone interview, the next step is the home visit. You will be contacted by one of our home visit teams to arrange the visit at a time convenient for you. Please know that the whole family needs to be present for this visit. During the visit, as during the phone screen, you are encouraged to ask any questions. Since the home visit is an essential step in the process, we are offering virtual home visits to those who meet our qualifications. You will be contacted to participate in a virtual home visit or that your application is put on hold pending availability of a home visit volunteer to be assigned to your area.
  4. APPROVAL: Once we have the results of your application review, phone screen and home visit, our applications committee will make a final evaluation. If you are approved, you will receive an email approval letter indicating next steps and be placed on our waiting list.  If you are not approved,  you will receive an email letter explaining the reasons why.

What happens if my application to adopt is approved?

Our Adoption Administrator will contact you to let you know you are approved and serve as your initial point of contact while we work to find a dog for your family. If there is a specific dog on our website you are interested in, please let us know. Usually the dogs on the site are not the only dogs we have at any given time, as some are still being readied for adoption. Matchmaking is what we do best – and sometimes it takes time to find the perfect dog for your family situation. Presently we have a waiting list to adopt young adult golden retrievers.  If you are interested in adopting an under 1 year old puppy,  an older golden retriever, or a golden retriever blend, you may have a perfect companion sooner rather than later.

Finding an ideal pup for your family.

Each GRRMF dog has an Adoption Coordinator assigned to handle their adoption. If we think we have a pup for you, the Adoption Coordinator will contact you with further information on the pup. You will be put in contact with the foster family where you will have a chance to learn more about the dog. If it seems like a match made in heaven, you can arrange with the foster family to meet the dog in their home. senior golden in purple flowersAnd, if it is indeed that special match, you will be able to take your new dog home with you. We do not have central facility; all our dogs are in private foster homes. As a matter of practical logistics, we will only have you view one dog at a time. If the first one we suggest does not meet your needs, then we will work to find you another match.

Happy endings!

You may be saying to yourself, wow, this is an involved process that takes time. Please understand that once we take a dog in, it is our dog. Our goal now is to find that dog its special forever home. It is the same as if you needed to find a home for a dog you could no longer keep. You would want only the best. We have adopted out over 4200 dogs to happy families over time and love working with each and every adoptive family to make more happy endings for our goldens (and you!)

The Story From the Dog’s Side

OUR DOGS: So where does your new pup come from? The number one source for our dogs is owner turn-ins. The top reasons people turn dogs in are because a family is moving, experiencing financial distress, have no time for the dog, or owner health issues. Our second source is dogs from shelters. Lastly, we are called on directly at times to take in strays. On some occasions, we receive calls from contacts outside of Florida needing assistance with re-homing dogs from other shelters or rescue situations.

VETERINARY REQUIREMENTS: The first stop for your prospective new family member is to one of our vets. The dogs are checked out, nose to tail, and any problems noted. They are spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, and vaccinated. As the microchip registry will list GRRMF, it means you have an ally in locating a lost dog if that should happen. Any known physical problems will be dealt with and any continuing health issues will be disclosed to you prior to you making a decision on adopting.

FOSTER HOMES: The next step for this lucky pup is to live with one of our foster families. All our dogs go to foster homes. These homes are located throughout the area we serve. This is one reason we ask on the application how far you are willing to travel to meet a prospective dog. It is also the reason there is no central facility you can visit to view all the dogs. The foster parents provide a loving and caring environment in an actual home. They will evaluate the dog’s personality.  One request we frequently get is that you have a cat or cats and need a dog that gets along with cats. By using a system of foster homes, we can evaluate a dog under various circumstances, like behavior around cats, children or other dogs.

In ConclusionBiscuit Macoy

We highly recommend you read the Learn section on our website prior to submitting your application. This will not only answer more of your questions, but also give you some insight into the care we want our dogs to receive.

Yes, this all takes time. But look at it from your pup’s viewpoint. It is not unusual for one of our goldens to have more than one home during its lifetime. At the very least, its original home and a foster home means the dog will be uprooted at least twice. It is confusing enough for the poor pup to have to start over at each home.

The extra time and care we take helps ensure that this will be the last such experience and they can finally settle in to their forever home.  And one more thing, we do charge an adoption fee. Our average expense for dogs in our program amount to about $2000. Adoption fees only defray part of the costs; donations by individuals help to fund our program.

Adoption fees are subject to change based on medical costs, transportation or unexpected charges incurred to ensure the wellness of the dog.

How to Start the Adoption  Process

To start the application process, ensure you have read our policies above including area of coverage and can meet them.  After your application is received, a volunteer will contact you as soon as possible to start the process. Currently our target is 4 weeks to complete the preliminary steps before first contact with you for the phone interview.

There is a $25.00 non-refundable processing fee which you will be prompted to remit after successful submission of your online application. This payment must be received before your application will be reviewed. If your application is declined or if you withdraw your application for any reason, your processing fee will not be refunded.

If you cannot locate the payment link that will be provided after you submit your application successfully, here is the link to use.  

At present, the waiting period  to adopt can vary greatly based on the dog whose background and traits best suit your family’s requirements.  Generally, the more parameters you have set, i.e., gender, age, color, weight and breed, the longer the wait.  There is high demand for young adult purebred golden retrievers with a lesser number arriving in rescue. Golden puppies under 1 year old, seniors (7+), golden blends and other retrievers will currently have a shorter waiting period.

Complete our online adoption application when you are ready to begin and complete it in it’s entirety. 

BEFORE you start the application to save you time, please collect 4 photos we will be asking you to attach to the application:

Photo standing at your backyard door taking a photo of your yard available for your dog. Be sure to capture pool and fence if you have one on the property.

Photo of where your GRRMF rescue dog will be spending most of their time with their family.

Photo of where your GRRMF rescue dog will sleep at night.

Photo of dog(s) in your home or if no dog is currently living in the home, a photo of your kitchen where your GRRMF rescue dog will be waiting for special treats and meals!

It is possible to print out a copy of the application and mail it to us with your check made payable to GRRMF for $25.00 for your application  processing fee.  Processing will be further delayed with mailing time and additional preperation time when you choose this option.

Thank you for your interest in Golden Retriever Rescue of Mid-Florida.


- Want To Adopt -

If you are writing us about adopting a dog and do not have an adoption application on file with us, use this link to review our policies and process and complete an application.

If you have completed our adoption application, and/or have another inquiry, please use the email link to contact us.

Adoption Application Email Us