Finding Warm Homes for Cold Noses Since 1991!

Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta

Dog of the Month - Rufus

VOM Hi, I’m Rufus. I’m a very affectionate and sweet boy. My foster Mom says I’m precious and very funny. I’m a typical youngster who is fearless and energetic. I’m great with other dogs and would love another playful dog or two in my forever home with whom I can play. I’m a joy to walk on the leash and good in the car. I am a work in progress and will be perfect for a family who will continue to provide me structure, stability, love and exercise. I’ve been through training and know lots of obedience (like how to sit, stay, down, come). I’m housetrained too! My crate is my safe spot and when I’m tired, I’ll go lay down in there. I also eat in my crate. I’d love a fenced yard in my forever home so I can run and play safely.


Because I’ve been bounced around before, I want my new family to understand me, to love me and to continue to show me the way to be the best boy I can be. I don’t want to be let down again. My new family will have to go through a two-hour training before my adoption will be finalized so that we understand each other. I’m a precious, loving, care-free and deserving boy. If you’re interested in adopting me and live in Georgia, please visit our website at (“Golden Retriever Rescue Atlanta”) to learn more about our adoption process and to complete our adoption application form.

Volunteer of the Month - Jean Vallee


Congratulations to Jean Vallee, the GRRA September Volunteer of the Month. Jean, who started volunteering in 2007, is a foster who often takes on special needs dogs. One of the volunteers that nominated Jean stated, "She is a foster who will take on long term care dogs. Often the dogs are older, not well socialized and in need of medical care. Sometimes it takes months for the dogs to become well enough to be adopted. Other times she has taken care of dogs until they cross the rainbow bridge. She is so very loving to each of these GRRA dogs.”

Jean has a soft heart for the difficult cases. In fact, she started fostering for GRRA after seeing a golden retriever online that was in bad shape. The post said that it was a male golden retriever taken from a person who was feeding a pack of dogs. He was hospitalized, and the dogs found themselves on their own. Jean contacted GRRA and offered to foster the golden. Three baths later, they discovered that the male golden was actually a female! After being in such a difficult situation, it was not a surprise that Ayla had shut down emotionally. Jean discovered during the first night at her house that she was also epileptic. She elaborated, “Ayla needed extra confidence, some extra medication and some time to realize that things were looking up! Her story had a happy ending when she got adopted by a lovely couple.”

Jean was very touched when she was told she was the September Volunteer of the Month. She said, “It is a wonderful honor and a nice surprise! This is such a well run, competent and caring organization and I am proud to be a part of it.” Jean continued, “I stepped away from volunteering for awhile and it is great to be back with this group. GRRA has the nicest volunteers!”

Jean shared several of her favorite things about fostering. She truly enjoys watching her foster dogs go to their new homes where they will be loved for the rest of their lives. Also, Jean is delighted when she delivers her foster dogs to their new homes and she witnesses them starting to “click” with their new owners. Recently, Jean adopted her foster dog, Pepper, to a long time GRRA volunteer, Paula Rosenberg. While she was there, she noticed Pepper looking towards Paula for cues. Jean stated, “That is the best part!” Once a successful adoption has been completed, Jean is eager to start again with a new foster dog looking for his/her forever home. This is good news for GRRA as we are always in need of great foster homes.

Jean, it is volunteers like you that make GRRA a successful organization. Our heartfelt thanks for all you do for GRRA and our precious goldens!

Happy Tales - Daisy


In November 2015, we adopted Daisy. Our "pet family" consisted of 2-year-old golden, Rigby, and 4-year-old Ringo the cat. But we felt Rigby needed a fellow canine companion. With an already established "pet family", we were realistic about accommodating everyone's needs. That is why we chose to work with Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta.


We had two dogs visit our house and also met a dog at a foster family's home. Unfortunately we had issues with either of the dogs meshing with Rigby or not being gentle with Ringo. We continued to search the website, and reviewed emails our adoption coordinator sent to us. Finally, we went to the monthly GRRA day event at Petco. This is how we found our Daisy!!


When she visited our home with foster "dad", Erick, everything just meshed. She has been our "ball of energy", a running partner, Rigby's best friend, and has provided us a lot of joy.

Thank you to Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta for bringing us our precious little Daisy.

Jenna Howard

Volunteer of the Month - Kristi Ryczek


Congratulations to Kristi Ryczek, the GRRA August Volunteer of the Month! Kristi is a foster that has also has chipped in performing other important tasks, such as intakes and transports. After being told she was the August Volunteer of the Month, Kristi said, “I am truly honored, as I know there so many deserving volunteers in this fabulous organization.”

Kristi started volunteering in GRRA in 2012. She found a golden mix running across 4 lanes of traffic on Highway 92 in Woodstock and didn’t want him to get hit by a car. She made her way to the dog, opened her car door and the dog jumped right in. After two weeks of Kristi trying to locate his owner and checking regularly with the shelters with no success, she knew she needed to find a rescue that would take him. After contacting other rescues that weren’t able to take him, she emailed GRRA. Kristi recalls she immediately received a phone call from long-time GRRA volunteer, Cynthia Ring. Kristi offered to foster the dog, Bear, and Cynthia did her home check. She has been volunteering ever since!

In addition to fostering for GRRA, Kristi also fosters for several other organizations. When Kristi fosters for GRRA, she is known to be willing to accept the more complicated foster dogs. For example, she has fostered dogs that had issues with resource guarding and other behavioral issues. Recently, Kristi fostered seven puppies! Anyone who has had a puppy in the house knows what kind of commitment it takes. Multiply that commitment times seven and you get an idea just how dedicated Kristi is to GRRA and our dogs.

When asked what her most rewarding moment with GRRA was, Kristi answered, “There have been so many! I'd have to say being able to place dogs like Stella, who had major behavioral issues, with other dogs. I love being able to play a small part in rehabilitating and training these dogs. Generally, no one wants to foster or work with the more difficult dogs, but dogs with behavioral issues are the dogs that I want to foster. They have my heart.”


In the busy world we live in, it takes someone special to spend their limited free time helping dogs in need. Kristi clearly demonstrates her passion for dogs by volunteering. She explained her motivation saying, “Seeing all of the stories of my adoptees living the high life with their new families is great. I did Bosley's intake and that poor dog was terribly neglected. I love seeing him healthy and happy with his amazing family, Ken and Nancy Winfield. I love seeing my former foster dog, Stella, romping around with her little boy owner. I love seeing those puppies grow up, doing fun things like going to ball games and the beach. Most of all, I love seeing them being loved & cherished by their families.” In her rescue work, Kristi often deals with dogs with behavioral issues as well as injured and neglected dogs. She shared, “Healing these babies physically & emotionally is the most rewarding feeling. I'm always surprised & humbled by how far they come in such a short time. Dogs never cease to amaze me.” Many of us in rescue have seen first hand how true that sentiment is.

Thank you, Kristi, for your time and dedication to GRRA and to helping so many dogs in need. We truly appreciate all you do!

If reading Kristi’s story has inspired you to volunteer or to find out more about fostering, please email and a GRRA volunteer will be happy to talk with you about volunteer opportunities.

Dog of the Month - Copper

VOM Hi All – My name is Copper. I’m 1.5 years old. Although I weigh in at 81 pounds, I’m definitely still a puppy. Tug-of-war is my favorite game but I’m always up for chasing tennis balls or Frisbees. I’m currently working on my manners. I’m still working on mastering my manner and doing better every day. I like kids, but would probably be best with older children as I can knock the little ones down. I would never do it on purpose, but sometimes I get so excited, I forget how big I am. I’m great with other dogs and will tolerate cats. I need a home where the family loves to do things. I need exercise and love! If you are interested in adopting me, please contact GRRA. If you would like to adopt a Golden Retriever, please complete the online application.

Happy Tales - Sadie and Barkley


I love adopting senior dogs! Sadie and Barkley are 12 and 11 and just the sweetest, most lovable animals.

The first week I had them, I kept losing Barkley! I couldn’t find him at times even in my small home. Come to find out he loves to be under things. Whether it’s a table or chair, he loves to hide so he can assess the whole room!


Sadie has become my official greeter. I own my own gift shop so I am able to take them to work with me every day. Sadie has made greeting the customers HER job. She lays near the door and when someone comes in, she will get up and go over and greet them. She loves it so much and my customers do, too. Plus, the kids love to sit on the floor with her and pet her until she falls asleep on them.

Adjusting to life with Sadie and Barkley has been super easy. All dogs that are rescued come with the unknown. Sadie and Barkley have their issues. I was told Sadie couldn’t go up and down stairs. But after trying different medications, she now is running, playing, and easily going up and down stairs.

Barkley had some dental issues. After having a tooth pulled, he is a completely different dog. No longer living with pain! He is happy, cuddlilee (is that even a word?) and just so happy.

I feel very blessed to have these two gorgeous animals as part of my family! My cat, Hermes, even loves them too!

Donna Hacker

2018 GRRA Calendar Contest

UPDATE (2017-08-30): Thank you to everyone who entered the 2018 Calendar Contest. We received a bunch of great photos and look forward to sharing the new calendar with everyone. While we're no longer accepting entries, we're hard at work making selections and organizing the photos to produce the best calendar yet. Stay tuned for an announcement on the release of the 2018 calendar.

Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta (GRRA) is looking for photos of happy, fun-Golden Retrievers for the 2018 calendar contest. Simply enter your dog by following the guidelines below and he or she will appear in the calendar - guaranteed! All participants will automatically receive one copy of the calendar per entry. Twelve dogs will be selected as Dogs of the Month and one lucky winner will be the 2018 Cover Dog. ALL other photos will be used throughout the calendar. Please note that only dogs adopted from GRRA are eligible for the Dog of the Month and Cover Dog slots.

All proceeds directly benefit Golden Retrievers in need!


I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille.

General Guidelines

  • You may submit up to two photos per entry; the photos can be of the same dog or more than one dog. One photo per entry will be chosen and used in the calendar.
  • You will receive one copy of the 2018 GRRA calendar per entry.

Entry Fees

  • $25 per entry (includes one copy of calendar).
  • $25 for each subsequent entry (includes one copy of calendar).



  • Must include a Golden or a Labrador Retriever.
  • May include more than one dog in the photo.
  • Must not include humans in the photo.

Please include the following per photo:

  • Dog's name
  • Dog's current age
  • Whether he or she was adopted from GRRA

One dog will be chosen for the Cover Dog and “interview”. Only photos with adequate to high resolution quality will be considered. All dogs in the cover photo must have been adopted from GRRA. Past GRRA calendar participants are preferred.

Copyrighted photos will not be accepted.

Digital Photos

  • Due to loss of quality during scanning, high-resolution digital photos are preferred.
  • Digital photos should be saved in the highest resolution and in .jpg or .gif format and emailed to
  • Please include your PayPal confirmation number in the email with your photos.

Hint for a great picture: For a 4" x 6" print, the image resolution should be 640 x 480 pixels minimum and 300 dpi.


All entries must be received by midnight August 25, 2017.


  • Judging will be done by representatives of GRRA based on content and quality.
  • The decisions of the judges are final.
  • The calendar will be unveiled at the November adoption day.

GRRA reserves the right to edit, crop, and caption photos as needed. All photos become property of GRRA and may be used for promotional purposes.

Dog of the Month - Gaines


Hi! My name is Gaines. I am a 5 year-old boy who was rescued from a puppy mill. No one cared for me so my coat was matted and had to be shaved. I didn't know about leashes or riding in cars. But thanks to the kind people at GRRA, I am now growing a brand new coat, learning to enjoy walks, meeting people and even riding in cars. I do like older children who will be patient with me as I am still a bit afraid of sudden and quick movements. I can't believe I am actually going to get to be part of a family-finally!



If you are interested in adopting me, please contact GRRA. If you would like to adopt a Golden Retriever, please complete the online application.

Happy Tales - Bella


After much discussion and enthusiasm from our children Jack (7) and Ella (5), we decided to fill out an adoption application with GRRA. We first met with Taylor who was so informative and supportive about the adoption process! She sent us lots of precious pups to take a look at. But when she sent us information on Bella, we all knew we found a match.

We spoke with Bella's foster dad Barry and set up a time to meet her. It was love at first sight! She was the sweetest girl and we were all crazy about her from our first walk!


When Bella first came to live with us, she was 20 pounds underweight and a little shy. Her first two nights with us she slept in a bed in between my husband and I. Now, she is at her ideal weight and has found her voice.

She plays daily in the backyard with our children ---- running and greeting our neighbors as they walk by. When we walk in the neighborhood or go to the dog park, she's always so friendly though she doesn't stray too far from us.

She's hiked Blue Ridge Mountain, played in the sand at Rosemary Beach, and even splashed around a bit in the water --- although she was a little afraid of the ocean. :)


She loves to go see family in Charleston, SC and is a great traveler. She is such a wonderful addition to our family and we consider her to be such a blessing!

Beth Louer

Monthly Good Goldens Question / Thunderphobia

This month's "Good Goldens" blog question comes from a GRRA supporter asking for helpful tips on how to assist an adopted Golden Retriever who has severe Thunderphobia issues.

With the uptick in spring storms lately, we could all use some guidance on how to bring some calm and relief to our furry Golden friends who have this fear.

We once again have called upon the professional expertise of Chris McLeod from The Canine Ranch in Canton, GA to lend her take on canine thunderphobia and what we as concerned dog owners can do about it at home --- before and during these types of storms.

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Thunderstorms are a hard topic to discuss for so many reasons. Not only are the dogs hearing the thunder and seeing the rain, but they’re also feeling the change in atmospheric pressure in ways that we probably can’t even begin to understand.

Remember --- we know that dogs can sense pregnancy at 6 weeks, predict heart attacks, cancer, death, low blood sugar, and so many other things about our bodies that we really don’t fully understand yet. For those dogs that are “tuned-in” so to speak, a loud thunderstorm can be a pretty traumatic event for them.

My suggestions for clients always begin with understanding your dog's home environment. First --- make sure your dog has a safe haven to go to. Even if you don’t crate your dog every day, continue to provide the opportunity to crate by leaving one available to them. Most dogs will continue to go to their crate and see it as their “bedroom” as long as you use it as a positive place.

This is a great security blanket during a time of stress (like during severe thunderstorms for example), and especially if your dog has to be away from home. Even if you board your dog --- most kennels will accommodate a crate in the room if your dog is thunderphobic since they know that it will help your dog in times of stress.

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Next, make sure you’re not increasing your dog’s stress by stroking or touching your dog during this fear period. Remember, touch is a reward. And although you want to stroke your dog’s worries away during that bad storm, what you’re actually doing is reinforcing that the dog had a right to be worried in the first place. Touch IS a reward --- and dogs repeat what is rewarded. If you stroke a dog that is fearful, you will simply be feeding the fear. Instead, let them learn to deal with the fear on their own in their safe haven (like their crate).

You can also try a device known as a ThunderShirt. It’s based on the premise that you put pressure on key points of the body to create calmness --- similar to swaddling an infant to keep them from being upset. Not all dogs see results with a ThunderShirt, but some do.

And finally, if your dog has Thunderphobia bad enough you should definitely seek the advice of a Veterinarian. Sadly, there comes a time for some dogs when anxiety turns to complete terror, and for me that’s when I feel it’s only fair to seek medical help.

There’s no sense forcing your dog to endure terror just to get through a storm when you can alleviate it with a very safe medicine --- similar to if you were terrified of flying or if you always got seasick when going on cruises. Medical relief is available for dogs and should be discussed with your Golden's Vet for options to make them feel calmer during terrible spring / summer storms.

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Thanks so much, Chris! GREAT information as always. Do you have a training / behavioral question that you would like to ask Chris McLeod from The Canine Ranch? Please post it here and we'll be happy to submit for our next GRRA blog topic. Have a Good Golden Day, everyone!

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