It’s About the DOGS
Things to Know About Dog Rescue

Welcome to the SEVA GRREAT Adoption Information page! If you are interested in applying to adopt one of our goldens or golden mixes, congratulations – you are in the right place! Before you fill out the application form (it’s a bit of a doozy!), please carefully consider the information here.

There are many, many positives about rescuing a dog. You save a life. It will cost you less than going through a breeder. Before you adopt, the rescue provides detailed information about the animal’s history, behavior, medical needs, and temperament. You may also save on housebreaking and training expenses. You help break the cycle of pet overpopulation. You free up space and resources for another dog in need. The list goes on and on.

However, there are also some other important things to recognize about rescuing.

Things to Consider Before Applying to Adopt a Rescue Dog

First, it may be a slow process. While some families find a dog fairly quickly, it may take a while for the right dog to find its way to your family.

The SEVA GRREAT initial approval process may take a few weeks. After you apply, our approval process includes a visit to your home. We are all volunteers, juggling work and family life and other commitments just as you are, so matching schedules for that visit might take a bit.

Over the last two years, most SEVA GRREAT adoptions have taken place between one and six months after the adopting family was approved to adopt. One family recently signed an adoption contract seven days (!) after submitting the adoption application and being approved to adopt. For another family, it was 18 months. Therefore, if you want a dog very soon, rescue might not be the best for you. If you are patient, however, you may be rewarded with the perfect-for-you new golden furry family member.

Second, if you are determined that your new dog must have certain traits, such as a purebred cream-colored female under 4 years of age, it may be difficult to make a match. If you are more flexible about the age, gender, color, and even the care needs for a dog, you will find more possibilities for adoption. Being willing to consider a golden mix also increases your chances, since we often have mixes in our care. Additionally, if you would consider a foster-to-adopt situation, wherein you would start off as a dog’s foster with the intent/possibility of adopting when the dog is medically cleared, that can speed up the process and present more adoption opportunities (plus remove the competition with other families).

Third, it’s SO important to realize that dogs come into rescue for a reason. Sometimes those reasons have nothing to do with the dogs, but often, our sweet goldens are not your stereotypically “perfect” dogs. They have quite obviously already gone through the enormous stress of losing a home. They may have chronic medical conditions that will need lifelong treatment. They may be extremely fearful and anxious and need a quiet, peaceful, patient environment. They may have separation anxiety. They may need to be an only dog, or they may really need to have a doggy sibling. They may express a strong prey drive toward smaller animals like cats. They may have other behavior concerns. They may need training. They may not do well with young children. If you expect that all of the dogs available for adoption are “perfect goldens,” the rescue adoption process may prove very frustrating.

Fourth, please be aware that there is always a possibility of some new medical conditions or behavioral concerns occurring after adoption. We make every effort to identify and treat/resolve medical conditions in our pups, but just like with people, we cannot predict what the future holds.

If You Think Rescue Is Right For You

If I haven’t scared you off yet, applying to adopt through SEVA GRREAT may be the way to go. Here is how our process works.

After your adoption application is complete, we find a volunteer Home Evaluator (HE) in your area to work with you. That HE will come to your home, meet you and all members of your family, tell you more about SEVA GRREAT, and conduct a home evaluation. During that home evaluation, we are looking at the interior and exterior physical environment and family dynamics (including existing pets) to determine if your home and family could provide a loving, supportive environment for a dog. The overall question is: Would we feel comfortable if our own dogs lived in your home?

It’s possible you might not even be approved to adopt. We expect our goldens to be full-fledged members of the family. If there are safety concerns inside or outside; if the dog will be alone and/or crated for long hours; if you don’t have a plan for ensuring adequate physical activity; if you plan to keep your dog kenneled outside when you are not home; if you have a history of surrendering pets or if multiple previous pets have died due to preventable situations – these are some reasons you could be denied approval to adopt.

If you are approved to adopt after the home evaluation visit, congratulations! Then you must wait for the right dog, and the timing for that is unpredictable.

As a rescue, we most often don’t know very far in advance how many dogs will be coming in. We may go a month with no new dog intakes, or we may suddenly be called about taking in several at the same time! When they do come in, dogs are placed with foster families throughout our service region.

No matter how many dogs we take in, it is at least three to four weeks before a dog is ready to be posted for adoption. We take that time to give the dog a chance to adjust to a new situation and to assess the dog’s personality, temperament, behavioral and physical needs, and to treat any known medical conditions. Depending on the dog, and especially its medical needs, it could be months before a dog is ready to find a new family.

When that happens, though, it’s time to celebrate – and act! Approved families receive detailed information about the dog and let their home evaluators know right away if they would like a chance to meet the dog. We tend to have many already-approved families waiting to adopt. Sometimes many families are interested in the same dog. With other dogs, maybe only a very few. Fosters carefully consider information about all interested families and choose some of them to meet the dog. Usually, one of those families will be the chosen adopter.

In all cases, though, keep in mind that our core purpose is to find the best family for each dog. It’s first and foremost about the dog’s needs! (Remember the article title, “It’s About the DOGS!”)

Admittedly, we can be pretty picky about that. Before an adoption takes place, the entire family, including other family dogs, must meet the SEVA GRREAT pup in person. Interestingly, our fosters almost invariably report that the dog chooses its own new family – there is just a certain chemistry seen with a family that clearly indicates that the dog wants them to be his or her new fur-ever family.

Things We Look For

Even though the dogs tend to choose, their assistants/adoption facilitators (also known as fosters) do have influence, since they’re the ones who can read and speak English and so schedule and facilitate the meet and greets.

We’ve noticed similarities in families who are more often chosen to meet a dog. An ideal family will have someone home most of the time to be with the dog, or they make arrangements for the dog to get a mid-day visit. This is especially important since goldens are such social pups. They should be considered integral members of the family! And honestly, having a good-sized fenced yard is a huge plus (but not if you plan to leave the dog outside unsupervised for many hours a day!).

Other desired family traits will depend on the needs or preferences of each individual dog. As mentioned previously, for some dogs, the ideal family will have another dog; for others, absolutely no cats. Some may need a physical fence, some may be okay with an invisible fence, and there are even some who may not require a fence as long as there is appropriate leashing and supervision when outside. Some may be fine with very young children, and some may be too active or fearful around small or rambunctious kids. Some may have physical limitations such as difficulty climbing stairs or getting up and walking on hardwood floors.

All of those known considerations will be listed in the information provided when a dog is posted for adoption.

We strongly believe that the right family is out there for all of our amazing goldens. It may take some time to find them, but remember our rallying cry: It’s About the DOGS!