How To Adopt

How The Application Process Works

Our volunteers will contact you for the first time to start the application processing with you approximately 2 weeks from the date the adoption application is submitted.   

Things you need to know about adopting from GRRMF:

We do have a waiting list and be aware that younger dogs and 4 – 7 year old goldens are our most requested ages with the longest wait times.  If you are approved to adopt a GRRMF retriever or blend, and one of our dogs is a match for you, you will be contacted after their evaluation period.

We thank you for your patience and support of GRRMF.

  1. AREA OF COVERAGE: We cover the west coast from Gainesville to approximately 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, Big Bend or the Panhandle. If you have questions about your area of coverage, please do not hesitate to email us at before filling out an application. You can also use this link which has a directory of golden rescues nationwide.
  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 your 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: We require a fenced yard for dogs under 5. 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.
  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.
  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, and with the current pandemic limitations, we are offering virtual home visits to those who meet our qualifications. You will be contacted to participated in a virtual home visit or that your application is put on hold pending the reopening of our in-home face to face visit resumption date.  At the present time, this date is unknown.
  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 indicated next steps. 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 healthy dogs. If you are interested in adopting 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 3900 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 temperament. 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 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 $800-$1000. Adoption fees only defray part of the costs; donations by individuals help to fund our program.

Adoption fees may be 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 out policies above and can meet them and fill out our online adoption application.  After your application is received, it will be 2 weeks before first contact is made with you due to the volume of adoption requests being received.  

Complete our online adoption application.  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 where the dog will be exiting. 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, however, processing may be delayed up to three weeks if you choose this option.

We look forward to receiving your application.

Thank you very much 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