Finding Warm Homes for Cold Noses Since 1991!

Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta

Volunteer of the Month - Amanda Dytor


Congratulations to Amanda Dytor, the GRRA April Volunteer of the Month! Amanda, her husband, Gary, and their golden, Tillie, relocated from the United Kingdom to Atlanta in 2014. Amanda left a 20-year career in childcare that she was very passionate about. She knew she needed to follow another passion, golden retrievers, once she arrived here. She reached out to GRRA and spoke with Ken Winfield about the hikes, and they joined the hiking group just one month after arriving in Atlanta. Amanda, Gary, Tillie and their second golden, Maisie Mae, love to participate in the hikes. Amanda said they enjoy being involved with “such an awesome group that has the same goal: to help, nurture and offer a great life for all of our rescue dogs.”

Amanda recently found herself with additional time to start volunteering with GRRA after her time commitment to her husband’s business decreased. Her first job was as an Adoption Consultant (AC). Amanda says she enjoys being an AC because she gets to know her applicants, assists them during the adoption process, and she especially loves getting the updates on how the dogs are doing in their forever homes. After taking on the AC role, Amanda jumped in with both feet to help with retriever taxi, intakes, and visiting dogs at the Pet Lodge. In addition to that, Amanda and Gary have recently become the foster parents of Charlie. That is quite the volunteer resume!


Some of you may be familiar with the story of the three goldens GRRA rescued from a hoarder situation. Amanda explains her involvement, “I helped pick Charlie, Casey and Taylor up from the vets. Their condition was so sad. They were all curled up in a corner, would not walk and were completely unresponsive and closed down. We took them to the Pet Lodge. I, along with other GRRA volunteers, visited these pups every day, trying to get them to trust people and to socialize them. We helped them to understand that human touch should not be a negative experience. For several days, we had to carry them in and out of their kennels to the garden, as they would not walk. However, a few days later they actually stood up and walked out of their kennels and into the garden for the first time These three pups were the most scared and are the sweetest, most gentle pups I have ever had the pleasure to meet! We have Charlie at home with us where he enjoys the simple things in life like carpet, his own bed, fresh water and love. He has adapted well to our two girls and is slowing coming out of his shell. When we find him the perfect home his new parents are going to be so lucky because he is going to be the most wonderful golden boy. He is starting to realize that he likes hugs and lots of strokes and kisses. He really is a big, soft ‘Charlie Bear.’ Casey and Taylor are also in loving foster homes. They are all making progress, albeit slowly, but we know they will get there.”

Amanda said seeing the transformation of these three dogs has been one of her most rewarding experiences with GRRA thus far. Since fostering Charlie, she has already had many special moments with him, which she cherishes. Amanda shared, “The difference we can make in these dogs is immeasurable. Every time we take dogs to the vet or take them out for a walk or into the garden, they smile and are happy to see us. I truly believe they feel safe with us. We are able to provide that happy, safe feeling for them. I also love to see them go to their forever homes and settle in with their new families. They get to experience what a dog’s life should be- golden and awesome!”

If you are a regular reader of the monthly Volunteer of the Month articles in the newsletter, you may have noticed that the dedicated volunteers given this award often express surprise as well as point out that there are many other deserving GRRA volunteers. It speaks volumes about the wonderful group of volunteers GRRA has that so many different people could be the Volunteer of the Month. Amanda shared similar sentiments saying, “I am very overwhelmed and honored because GRRA is made up of so many wonderful people all doing what we can for the dogs.”

Thank you, Amanda, for the important work you’re doing for GRRA and our pups, especially with Charlie! We are very fortunate to have you on the volunteer team!

Happy Tales - Penny


Penny came home to our family the first weekend in September of 2016. She fit in perfectly right from the start!

Her playful personality and tireless enthusiasm brought a new level of energy to our home. She adapted quickly and easily to our routine of early mornings and quiet evenings. Plus, she got along beautifully with our older dog, Maya.

We’ve done lots of fun things together with her. She’s been on a few road trips to visit her extended family, been to numerous training lessons, and had her share of hikes through the woods.

Penny greets everyone she meets with enthusiasm and love. She is always ready for a long walk or a romp in the backyard. Her favorite activity is a good session of tennis ball throwing and fetching. All other distractions disappear when the ball comes out!

As energetic as she is, when the day begins to wind down Penny enjoys snuggling with her sisters Mira and Farrah as they get ready for bed. Penny spends bedtime and story time going from bed to bed cuddling with each kid before lights-out. Once the girls are tucked in, Penny goes to her spot on the couch and curls up for the evening.

The adoption process we went through was thorough and thoughtful. It gave us a chance to slow down and consider what our family was looking for in a Golden and it gave GRRA a chance to get to know us. GRRA was just as interested in matching us with the right dog as we were.

We feel so lucky that Penny found her forever home with us. There is an indescribable joy that a dog can bring to life and it is an almost magical experience when the right dog finds the right home. We’re the lucky ones here. We owe a debt of gratitude to GRRA for leading us to our sweet Penny.

Special thanks to Kathy Olmstead, Paula Rosenberg, Karen Page, Ken Winfield and all of those involved with GRRA.

Graham Reiney & Ragini Kudchadkar

Volunteer of the Month - Stacey Swancey


Congratulations to Stacey Swancey, GRRA’s March Volunteer of the Month!

Stacey is the Owner Turn-In Coordinator. As most of you know, GRRA receives dogs from two sources: shelters and owner surrenders. When someone contacts GRRA to surrender a golden, Stacey contacts them to get all of the pertinent information on the dog. She often goes a step further and does the intake and transports the dog herself. In addition to the coordinator duties, Stacey also performs home checks, takes hotline calls and fosters.

A fellow volunteer communicated the following story: “Last year, shortly after New Year’s Day, I was contacted about a golden mix that needed to find another home. I emailed Stacey. Even though it was the holiday season, Stacey stepped in, contacted the owner and did all of the work to bring the dog in right away.” If Stacey sees a need, she steps right in to assist whenever or wherever she can!

Stacey became involved with GRRA four years ago when she and her husband, John Wiemels, adopted Vinnie. You may remember Vinnie; a sweet, beautiful special needs golden. He had severe anxiety as well as some health issues. He was in the GRRA program for approximately two years before Stacey and John adopted him. Vinnie had a long wait to find his forever home, but he certainly hit the jackpot when they adopted him! In fact, Stacey said that adopting Vinnie is one of the most rewarding things she has done while volunteering with GRRA.

Stacey and John both enjoy fostering special needs goldens. She said, “My husband and I find caring for them very rewarding. Finding those goldens a home is especially rewarding.” Stacey recounted the story of Sadie. She had fungal pneumonia and was near death when she came into GRRA. Stacey and John lovingly took care of her and helped her recover over a period of many months. As one can imagine, it is easy to get attached while caring for an ailing dog over an extended amount of time. This was the case with Stacey and John and Sadie. The happy ending for Sadie was that she was adopted by the Stacey and John. Sadie is now a member of their pack of three beautiful goldens.

Stacey, a heartfelt thank you for all you do for GRRA and all of our Goldens!

Happy Tales - Roscoe


It is hard to lose a family member, especially when cancer takes your beloved Golden in the course of an extremely painful 25 days. My husband and I went without a dog for the first time in 30 years. My husband, daughter, and I struggled to open our hearts for the fifth time to a loving dog. Each month that passed, we knew that we wanted to find another pup who would fill our house and hearts again.


For three months, we looked for another golden. I needed a smaller one I would be able to carry if needed. My husband, Scott, was looking for one who would fetch. My daughter was looking for one that was obedient. Finally, after having no response from online inquiries, we asked our vet who raises Goldens where we should look. She referred us to GRRA. My daughter, Jessica, found the GRRA Facebook page and told me about an upcoming adoption day in January. That day we met several Goldens in need of a home. Then the last dog on the last aisle came up to Jessica. He jumped up and gave her a hug with a lick on the face. He sat smiling and wagging his fluffy tail. He only weighed about 50 pounds. Roscoe's (formally known as Rufus) beautiful eyes and funny personality stole our hearts! We played a little and could tell how smart he is. We all agreed on the way back home that he was the one. We couldn't stop talking about how much we wanted to adopt him! We had to wait a short time because we needed to complete the online adoption form and have a home check.


We just could not believe at first how perfect he would be for us. We had his foster mom, Kim, provide her email. When we got the form filled out we wrote to her letting her know that we were ready for our home check. Soon our wait was over!

We were so glad for him to start his new life with us. We knew he had food aggression so we knew to feed him with care. He now has a divided food bowl to eat out of. At first, we put a 1/2 a cup of food in his bowl 6 times a day (according to the bag it says he needs 3 cups per day). Roscoe gobbled down his food within 3 minutes. Soon he began eating slower and leaving 2 -3 pieces of kibble in his bowl. A week later, it was about 10 pieces. Now we can put a whole cup of food in his bowl, and he leaves just a handful. He also does not growl at us when we are watching him eat.

He is very energetic at only a year and few months old. We enjoy taking him to the dog park and taking him on walks at the nearby environmental center which has nice woodsy trails. We love Roscoe very much. He has filled our hearts with laughter and joy once again. We are blessed and grateful that we found a new love and companion. He is adjusting well to our routine. We continue to work on his training routine to reinforce all the good behavior. He enjoys running around in our backyard. His doggie door allows Roscoe the freedom to go in and out whenever he wants. Thank you, Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta for helping us find Roscoe his fur-ever home.

Regards, Jessica Anderson


Dogs of the Month -Charlie, Taylor, and Casey

GRRA welcomes Charlie (male), Casey (male) and Taylor (female). They really can use your help. Here’s their story.


GRRA received an urgent Facebook Message from a Dog Rescue. A family member of an elderly man who is suffering from early dementia had become a hoarder. He had between 115 to 130 dogs on his property. His neighbor was starting to trap the dogs and had shot several dogs. This neighbor even shot into the elderly man’s windows. We were provided pictures of these three Goldens and knew immediately we needed to save them.


These sweet dogs were transported to a vet that day. They were given shots, fecal and heartworm tests. They also received much needed baths. Charlie, Casey, and Taylor, all about four-years-old, are now resting comfortably in large rooms at the vet. They are settled into their first beds and first quiet time. They seem to be a bit unsocialized to anyone except the man who carried for them. But they are gentle and very loving. They were so afraid they did not want to walk on a leash and would lie down. They will all be spayed/neutered soon. Unfortunately, all are heartworm positive.

How can you help?

We appreciate any donations to help with their medical bills. We also need some fosters or foster to adopt volunteers.


Happy Tales - Emmy

My Happy Tale - by Emmy the Goldendoodle


My Mom says the first time she met me I was entertaining a crowd. Some people say blondes aren’t smart, but let me tell you a secret ---- we are actually smarter than most.

I was holding court that day because I knew there was something really great in it for me. I was putting on my happiest face so everyone would love me and I was dancing like a gypsy because I kind of felt like one.

Something sad happened at my first home and we all agreed that it would be best for me to find another family. It was a very sad time for all of us. I had been bunking with some new buds and I loved them, but it was pretty clear I would only be there until we found someplace else for me.

My new buds were called Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta. They told me how sweet and pretty I was and that it would not take long to find someone to love me on a forever kind of basis.


When I saw my Mom, I knew she was the one. I could tell something very sad had happened to her. She was smiling, but she wasn’t dancing. Something sad had happened to me too but I wasn’t going to let on to her the sadness in my heart. I knew it would be smarter to just dance like a gypsy.

When I saw Mom hugging another dog across the crowd, I danced another little happy dance and got her eye again. And then she did the nicest thing ---- She brought me some water!

After that, I had a little talk with my new bud, Foster. That guy was the greatest. He let me stay at his house with him, his family, his pets and some other animals like me that needed a place to bunk. He drove me to the place I met my new mom. And he never even asked me once for rent!

A few days later, Foster said we were going to visit some of my new friends to see who I loved the best. When we got to my new Mom and Dad’s house, I wanted to appear confident so I walked right in, looked around, spied my spot on the sofa and went for it. The way they all looked at me I knew that was gonna be my spot for a long time.

I listened politely while my new Mom and Dad told Foster about losing their only dog, Abbey. They said they lost her very suddenly and the sadness was so hard. Mom had never had human kids so she was really lonely.

I just knew how happy I could make her if she wanted me to live with them. She offered me a little purple bone that made a funny noise and I left it behind on purpose because I needed a good excuse to go back.

Now, that purple bone is one of my favorite toys. It is hard to say it is my favorite toy because I have so many to consider! I get to go for long walks and I have many other dog and human friends to visit. I have four beds! Can you believe it?

Best of all is that I taught my Mom to dance again. We dance just all the time. We dance down the street and we dance around the coffee table and we dance at the dog park and oh just everywhere we go. Sometimes when we dance we are just looking at each other and our hearts do all the work!

The name my Mom gave me to be my very own is Esmeralda after the beautiful dancing gypsy in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They call me Em or Emmy for short.


The moral of the story is ---- if you ever feel sad because you lost someone, remember to get out there and dance until you find someone to dance with again. You will be so happy you did.

Sarah Quinn Jones

Volunteer of the Month - Susan DeDeyn


Congratulations to Susan DeDeyn, the GRRA February Volunteer of the Month! Susan began volunteering in 2003 when she was shopping at the local Petsmart and saw GRRA holding the monthly Adoption Day at the store. A lifelong golden lover and owner, Susan was immediately attracted to the organization and offered to volunteer. Susan was an adoption consultant for many years as well as a voicemail volunteer, home check volunteer, retriever taxi driver and parade volunteer. While doing all of those things, Susan also began hosting most of the GRRA holiday parties. Chances are likely that if you have attended one of the parties in the last fifteen years, you experienced a truly “golden” experience at Susan’s home. Not only is Susan an amazing hostess who has offered her home to GRRA for a record 10 times, it is decorated “to the nines” with everything golden. When people visit her house for the first time, they are amazed at all of the great golden decorations on display! In addition to hosting holiday parties, Susan continues to volunteer at Adoption Days, do home checks and retriever taxi.


Susan has had 8 golden retrievers over the past 40 years, the last 5 being rescue goldens. Currently, Susan has three goldens: Cash, Chloe and Holly. They made a cameo appearance at the 2017 party much to all of the attendees’ delight! She said that she truly feels like rescue dogs make the best pets because they know how special they are. Many of us in rescue, as volunteers and adopters, can attest to the same thing. Sharing this experience with other people is something Susan found to be very rewarding. She elaborated, “When I worked on adoptions, it was always great to stay connected with the adopters and hear how well the goldens were doing.” In addition to knowing she helped make a difference in the lives of GRRA goldens and their adoptive families, Susan has also enjoyed working with and getting to know her fellow GRRA volunteers stating, “It’s a great group of people to be involved with.” Many of her fellow GRRA volunteers feel the same way.


Susan shared her favorite Betty White quote, “Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a golden retriever, one's life and one's outlook is never quite the same.” One other great golden quote Susan has in her kitchen states, “No matter how bad things get, the happy face of my golden retriever makes me smile.” Thank you, Susan, for spending your time to help others experience these great things with a GRRA golden! We truly appreciate all you do for GRRA and our goldens.

Dog of the Month -Bo


Hi, I’m Bo. My family didn’t have time for me so they gave me to the good folks at Golden Retriever Rescue to find me a furever home. I’m almost three years old, and boy do I have energy! I’m always up for a walk or a run and definitely need a fence. I’m really friendly with kids and other dogs. Because I can be so high energy, I would do best in a home with older children as I may accidentally knock down little ones. I’d love to share my house with another active dog so we could play a lot. I get along with dog-savvy cats, meaning that I really want to play with them and will chase occasionally but I’d never hurt them.


I’ll be a wonderful, loving companion to an equally wonderful and loving family. If you’re interested in adopting me please come see me at Adoption Day Sunday February 4th, 1-3pm at PetCo 2340 Holcomb Bridge Roswell, GA

Golden Alumni - Lillie


Hello Sandra and all the wonderful people at GRRA,

I just wanted to give you an update on Lillie and how well she has been doing. Since her adoption in August Lillie and I have gone on many wonderful adventures together. We went down to Savannah over Thanksgiving and had a little photo session there. (You can see a couple pictures from that session attached to this message.) We went to my aunt and uncle's house in Atlanta for Christmas. Lillie got spoiled rotten! You can see all the toys and treats she received from myself and my family for her first Christmas as a Negley.

Medically, Lillie is doing well. Shortly after adopting her I brought her into work with me at UGA to get her eyes checked out by the ophthalmology department there. Her intraocular pressures were remaining uncontrolled even with eye drops. A quick ultrasound revealed that she had a tumor in her eye as well. The decision was made to surgically remove the eye and she has been doing great ever since. She has so much energy now, I can barely keep up! Blood work and other lab tests have revealed that she has kidney disease, proteinuria, and cushings. I am doing everything I can to keep her comfortable and making sure every day she has left is a great one.


Thank you so much for bringing Lillie into my life. She is the sweetest and most loving dog. She can't wait to make new friends and brings joy to everyone she meets. Lillie is truly a light in my life and I wouldn't have her if it wasn't for great people like you!

Thank you, Carrie Negley

Happy Tales - Charlie


Our family had been without any furry friends for a while. My husband and I had three dogs when we married, but lost the last of our dogs not long before we put our home on the market. We explained to our kids that we would adopt a dog when we moved and kept asking them to be patient.


The day we moved into our new home, our son asked again about adopting a dog. That’s when we found GRRA online. We visited a couple of Adoption Days and started the paperwork. Debbie was our Adoption Coordinator and she was so very helpful and caring.

The adoption process went very smoothly and we kept patiently waiting. Then, it happened. Charlie’s foster mom, Elaine, brought Charlie over for a visit and we knew he was "the one". We were so excited when we received the call that we could adopt him.

We have had Charlie for about a year now and we feel that he has “adopted” us, too. We have really meshed together as a family unit. He is such a wonderful companion to our 2 children and their friends. They all love playing with him and taking him for walks in the neighborhood.

He keeps me company during the day – he is so curious about everything I do! He loves chasing squirrels, playing with toys and balls, riding in the car, and eating peanut butter – all of the things puppies love! He enjoys day hikes with us and going to the dog park. He loves to be loved and we love to love on him!

We completed both a beginner and intermediate level obedience training class last year. He really connected with a couple of his classmates at Obedience School. He brings such joy to us, and we are so thankful to have him as our own.


We look forward to going through GRRA in the near future to adopt another companion. We are so grateful for GRRA and their volunteers and staff!

Thanks for all that you do for these dogs!

The Williams Family

Alpharetta, GA

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