Choosing to adopt a Golden Retriever is a rewarding, but tremendous commitment — one each applicant ought to genuinely consider before applying. A multitude of factors, including work schedules and availability, may determine whether or not this breed, which requires constant attention, care, and maintenance, is an appropriate match for you. Our lengthy and cumbersome process inures to the befit of our adoptees. Careful investigation and observation of our applicants affords a great number of successful adoptions.

Application Processing Procedure

  1. When an adoption application is received, the verification process begins. The first step is to establish contact with current and former veterinarians to investigate the overall health of a specific applicant’s pets.  Proof of vaccinations and continuous heartworm prevention is required.
  2. Next, the application is filed for a telephone interview. General information, including policies, procedures, and tips are shared with applications during this conversation.
  3. A home visit follows the telephone interview. Home visitors meet the members of an applicant’s family, including pets, and observe the home. Fence structures and application validity are verified.
  4. Then, the application is transferred to the “Approved” file. Applicants with an “Approved” clearance are permitted to meet dogs in our system. Because New England applicants live out-of-area, extensive conversations with foster families will replace this procedure.

New England Adoption Program

New England adoptions are handled discording to Mid-south adoptions. While the processing procedure is relatively identical, applicants do not have the privilege of meeting potential matches in person as all dogs are fostered in Memphis. Alpha Dog Transport is the company our organization uses to transit adopted dogs to adopters in this region once an adoption is finalized.

General Requirements

  1. MAGRR reserves the right to refuse any application for any reason.  MAGRR bases placement decisions on the right home for each dog.
  2. A $23 non-refundable processing fee will be charged for submission of an application.
  3. Application must be filled out in its entirety.  Any application that is incomplete will be rejected.
  4. MAGRR will only adopt to well-established individuals to provide stability for the Golden Retriever.
  5. MAGRR will not consider any application that is submitted for anyone other than the primary applicant.  MAGRR dogs may not be given as gifts.
  6. MAGRR will not adopt to applicants whose current pets are unsprayed or unneutered unless there is a medical reason.  This goes against what rescue promotes and supports.
  7. Applicants with children under 8 years of age will not be considered. Click here for an explanation.  This does not apply to adoption of puppies under 6 months of age. (NOTE: puppies are not always posted on our web site as we maintain a puppy waiting list, so if you are interested in a puppy, even though you don’t see any, please fill out an application and we can add you to our wait list.  We never know when puppies will come into our program).
  8. No MAGRR dog is to be used for any purpose other than as an indoor family member. They may be trained as therapy dogs. Dogs may not be left in yards, chained to trees or used as guard dogs.
  9. In general, large dogs have a difficult time living in apartments due to their size and need for space.  While we do not outright refuse all apartment dwellers, these applications will be reviewed and considered on a case by case basis.
  10. In the South, a physical fence is almost always required.

Guidelines to Apply

Adoption Territory

Our service territory includes the six New England States (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) along with New York and New Jersey within the New York City Metro area. Our Mid-south territory includes the Memphis-Metro area, Eastern Arkansas, includes the Little Rock and surrounding area, and North Mississippi, including the Jackson area. Although this map includes the full state of Arkansas, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Tennessee, only the boundaries described above are serviced. If you are interested in adopting a Golden Retriever and you are out of our service territory, please visit GRCA-NRC to find a rescue near you.

Waiting Period

Each adoption is different, causing the process to range from several months to less than a week. We understand how anxious our applicants are to adopt, and we make every effort to keep our process as smooth and efficient as possible. At the same time, however, we believe that little to be gained by cutting corners and rushing through the matching and adoption process. Adopting a dog is a major lifetime commitment and should be undertaken carefully and thoughtfully. If you feel that you must have a dog immediately, adopting from MAGRR may not be the best option for you to pursue.

On average, the time frame from filling out an application to being approved by MAGRR is four to six weeks depending on the availability of volunteers and number of applications.  Once approved, you can expect to be matched with a dog in about two – four months depending on availability.  Again, this can vary significantly due to an assortment of factors, including the following:

Home visit scheduling – Our volunteers work hard to be flexible, but often work schedules on both ends require visits to be held on weekends or evenings

Applicant readiness – Some of our applicants are not quite ready (emotionally or logistically) to bring a new dog home but want to be on our approved list for when the time is right. Others are just waiting for us to say the word, and they will be at our doorstep in a heartbeat!

Age, gender, and personality preferences – If you restrict yourself to waiting for the dog that meets your ideal specifications, you will most likely need to be patient.  Realistically, the “ideal” dogs do not come along all that frequently in rescue. Reducing your waiting period can be achieved if you are more willing to consider a male or female; an age range that may be a little older or younger than you originally had planned, or even a dog with some special TLC needs.

Adoption Fees

Because MAGRR has lost its largest corporate sponsor (due to new practices beyond the donor’s control) and is incurring rapidly rising medical costs, we regret that we must increase our adoption fees in order to continue to save our precious Golden Retrievers.  Because of the corporate sponsor, we have not had to increase fees since 2008.   After considerable research we believe our new adoption fees are now comparable to other Golden Retriever rescues as well as all-breed rescues. We accept credit cards through PayPal; however, all extra fees charged (usually between $10 – $25) will be passed along to the adopter.


Single Adoption $475
Bonded Pair $850
Seniors (8 & up) & Special Needs $300

Northeast (includes transportation and health certificate)

Single Adoption $665
Bonded Pair $1115
Senior (8 & up) & Special Needs $465
Puppies up to 4 months: $925
This includes a $250 fee which will be refunded once we have proof of spay/neuter.

Typical Expenses* for Each Golden Retriever

*These costs are based on the average price of each item from six metro Memphis veterinary clinics.

Examination by a veterinarian $46.85
Vaccinations + Rabies $85.00
Wellness Blood Profile $106.17
Bordetella $15.59
Spay $249.18
Neuter $217.74
Heartworm Treatment $819.17
Single dose of heartworm preventative $21.30
Micro-Chip $49.50

MAGRR also does special surgeries when indicated, for example, orthopedic, eye, tumor removal, dental or any other that is indicated.  MAGRR also provides hospital care and medication for any Golden Retrievers who come to us that are ill.  If other testing is indicated, that is also provided.  MAGRR spends an average of $1021.22 on each Golden Retriever, which includes monthly heartworm prevention for those in foster care and any special diet that is required.  This cost per dog also includes rechecks and extra medication that is needed.


Our adoption process ensures that dogs are matched appropriately and is based on mutual decision-making between you and our adoption team.

Like so many key decisions in life, matching dogs with new families tends to be part science and part art. The science involves looking at each dog’s specific needs and comparing them with the adopter’s lifestyle, work schedule, family structure, and such.  The art centers on the intuition that our adoption coordinator and the dog’s foster have after conversations with the applicant and each other.   Once individuals or families have gone through our application process and have been approved, they can potentially be matched with a dog in our program via two avenues:

  • Our Adoption Team may contact an approved applicant whom they believe to be the best potential match for a specific dog.
  • An approved applicant may contact MAGRR via email after noticing an available Golden Retriever on our website.

Once a prospective match is identified, local applicants will then go and meet the dog at the foster’s home.

Northeast adopters will receive additional pictures and further detailed conversations with the foster before determining if that is the dog for them.

An important note about the matching process:
One of the key phrases to keep in mind is “mutual decision-making.” Our adopters are sometimes very disappointed if the dog they hoped to adopt is not one that they are ultimately matched with. Our goal when we work with each family or individual is to find the dog or dogs that all parties agree is “the one,” and most of the time that happens smoothly.

In some cases, however, differences of opinion may arise that need discussion and resolution. Sometimes we suggest a dog that we think could be a good match, but the adopter is not comfortable for one reason or another. Or, the opposite can happen – the adopter may want a particular dog but from our knowledge of that dog’s needs or our observation of the interaction we are not comfortable finalizing the adoption for that family. In all cases, we are always striving to maximize the chances for a successful adoption, which is the outcome that will bring happiness and joy to the dogs AND the humans

Disappointment is a very strong emotion and we know that it can be very hard to have your heart set on a particular dog and not have that match approved. Please know that if we decide against sending a specific dog home with you, it is not a reflection of your ability to love and care for a rescued Golden; it is simply our belief that the match is not the right one for that dog. We have a 100 percent commitment to every dog in our program and take our responsibility to the dogs very seriously…as does any other responsible rescue or shelter. We would never claim to be infallible or all-knowing, but our success rate is very high, largely because we work so hard to make both the art and science mesh for a great match.