Finding Warm Homes for Cold Noses Since 1991!

Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta

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

Dog of the Month -Bailey


Hi! I'm Bailey and I'm looking for a foster or a foster to adopt. I'm 4 years old and haven't had the best life so far. I've been kept in a 15 x 15 foot enclosure most of my life. They didn't give me heart worm prevention medication so I'm heart worm positive. The great folks at GRRA will pay for the treatment to make me all better. But it takes a couple of months, and I need a home while recovering. I'm an energetic and friendly guy, and I get along with other dogs. I'll be at Adoption Day. I hope you'll come and meet me.

Volunteer of the Month - Marie Cole


Congratulations to Marie Cole, GRRA’s January Volunteer of the Month! Marie chaired the committee for the 2018 GRRA Calendar and notecards. This included many tasks such as marketing of the calendar/notecards, helping with social media posts, handling pricing, payments, sales, mailing all of the orders, and many other administrative duties. As most of you know, the money GRRA makes from calendar and notecard sales is used to directly help the goldens in our care which makes Marie’s job a very important one. In addition to this huge project, Marie also is an Adoption Consultant, working with applicants to help them find goldens and she volunteers as an escort at the monthly GRRA Adoption Days. One fellow volunteer commented about Marie, “Not only is she a hard worker who cares deeply about the goldens, but she also has a wonderful positive attitude that makes it a joy to be around her.”

Marie shared her reaction to being named the Volunteer of the Month:

“I am speechless at being named the January GRRA Volunteer of the Month! What an honor! There are so many talented, hardworking individuals in this organization. Chairing the committee this year for the 2018 calendar and note cards was a challenge but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I could not have done this project without all of the help from Melinda Lahmers and Natalie Shpigel (calendar and notecard graphic designer) and guidance from Hal Schlenger. If you have not seen the note cards, they have 36 pictures of goldens taken from this year’s calendar. They are awesome and make great gifts as do the calendars!”

Marie tells a very interesting story about a homeless golden that explains how she first became involved with GRRA.

“In December, 2003, I was sitting in my office at work when I received a call from someone about a golden retriever who needed help. She was living at a construction site in Forsyth County. The dog would not come near the workers there but they had been leaving food out for her when they left each night. It was just before Christmas and they were shutting down the job for several weeks. No one would be there to feed this dog and cold, wet weather was forecasted. They were concerned what would happen to the dog in their absence. One of the ladies in the construction trailer made many calls to organizations to find someone to take the dog. She spoke with a person at Forsyth County Humane Society who remembered that I had adopted goldens and she contacted me. I got the location of the construction site and made a few calls to GRRA. They did not have an available foster for the holidays, but told me if I was able to get the dog and was willing to foster her, I could take her to a GRRA vet to have her checked out. I immediately agreed to do just that. I left work and drove quite a distance to the construction site to try to entice this scared golden into my car. The crew was wonderful helping me catch her and get her into my car. She was dirty and matted from head to toe but very thankful that someone was there to take her in from the cold. From Forsyth County, I drove to Decatur to one of the vets that worked with GRRA. They kept this sweet golden girl overnight to be checked out. I named her Holly because it was the Christmas season. Long story short, once Holly came home with me to meet my other goldens, she never left. My husband and I were blessed to have her as part of our family for another 8 years.

Fast forward to a GRRA Adoption Day in August, 2012 where I met Kobe. He was a beautiful old boy with a gray muzzle lying on the floor. When I stopped to pet him, I asked his foster Mom how many people were interested in adopting him. She said “You are the only one that has stopped to even say hello to him; no one wants a 10 year old dog today”. Well, I started crying and asked if she would please write my name at the top of the list as wanting to adopt Kobe. It was one of the best days of my life when I brought Kobe home from his foster Mom.

I have worked at Adoption Days throughout the years but since I retired, I thoroughly enjoy being an Adoption Consultant with GRRA helping people find their “furever” golden. Recently, I was working with two families in particular. Both families had one child – a boy around 6 or 7. They were looking for a new “best friend” for their son to sleep in his room at night and be there when he came home from school. It brought tears to my eyes to see these young families get a GRRA dog to grow up with their boys.

I would encourage anyone reading this to consider volunteering with GRRA. It is somewhat bitter sweet that my 15+ year-old Kobe passed away just as I was picking up the 2018 calendars from the printer. He has his picture in the calendar and he reminded me that we could never do enough for these beautiful creatures. There is always more that can be done. Please join me and the rest of the GRRA volunteers and help goldens in need!”

Thank you, Marie, for your passion for goldens and for all of the time you spend helping them find wonderful homes!

Happy Tales - Cashew


When we first lost our Golden Retriever, Patty, we were completely heartbroken. Our children had never been without a dog to love. For 12 straight years, we walked into our home to a big smiling face and a wagging tail.

We were just not sure our hearts could love again.

After about 7 months with our house never feeling quite full (which is saying something with three young children), we decided to try to adopt a dog.

We knew about GRRA through Heidi Fernandez. The organization demonstrated such a love for Goldens and a desire to make a strong match between dog and family.

We went to a few adoption events and met a couple of dogs that we thought would be a good fit for us. For one reason or another, we were not matched up. We were sad but held faith that "our dog" was out there.

At a GRRA summer adoption event, we met Cashew. A big strong dog who looked intimidating to us immediately rolled to his side so we could rub his belly. Of all the dogs we met that day, we fell in love with Cashew. All 5 of us.

We put in our request and set up a time to meet him with his foster mom, Kristen. When we went to Kristen's house, he played ball with each of us, gave nose nudges for more love and petting, and took basic commands beautifully. We expressed our interest in making him part of our family but had to wait until all interested families had a chance to meet him.

We waited about 2 weeks but it felt like forever! I even put his picture up at work so I could think positive thoughts. We really wanted him!

When Kristen finally called to say that Cashew had chosen us, I cried happy tears. My whole office cheered too and Kristen thought it was our kids! I said no ---- my coworkers were just really excited for me!

I brought him home and my kids cried happy tears, too. VOM

Since that day, our home has felt complete. We didn't realize how much the sound of nails on the floor made our house a home. The emotion I observe most often is joy. The way he smiles at us, comforts whomever in the house isn't feeling well, when we say we're going for a ride in the car or to play ball or for a walk. He loves it all. And we are so grateful he is part of our family!


Thank you to GRRA and especially Kristen for helping make our family whole again!

The Brown Family

Dog of the Month -Tyson


I wanted to reach out in regards to a special Golden GRRA has rescued. His name is Tyson, and he needs a pretty special family as you will read below:

Tyson is an 10-11 year old sweet and friendly guy, who has overcome numerous obstacles in the past 8 weeks. He has healed from a urinary tract infection, ear infections and intestinal worms. This previously malnourished dog has regained weight up to 56 pounds, and is in the process of regrowing his beautiful fur.

For the long term, Tyson does have heart worms that cannot be treated, due to insufficient kidney function. He will need to continue on prescription renal dog food for the rest of his life. Because of his kidney issue, Tyson does drink a lot and urinates frequently. Tyson will need to follow up with the doctor for kidney retesting in 2 months. The doctor would like for him to continue on heart worm medication. This will eliminate any additional infestation, but will not affect heart worms Tyson already has. His vet also recommends that Tyson not be neutered due to a testicular abnormality. Tyson is quite deaf, possibly because of chronic ear infections. Tyson is crate trained, and spends 8-9 hours in the crate at night.

Tyson gets along well with other dogs and loves being with people. He is great on a leash, enjoys walks and has not shown any aggression toward dogs or people. Tyson enjoys spending time outside, but welcomes the chance to be with people, and loves lying quietly at your side.

We are looking for a permanent foster for this sweet boy. The vet expects his life expectancy to be approximately one year. Anyone willing to open their home and hearts to Tyson please sent an email to We want his last year to be his best.

Thank you!

Melinda Lahmers GRRA Director of Placement

Volunteer of the Month - Ken Winfield


Congratulations to Ken Winfield, GRRA’s December Volunteer of the Month! Ken currently serves as the Retriever Taxi Coordinator, the GRRA Paws on the Path Hike for Vato Coordinator, as well as an Adoption Day escort. He is also coordinating GRRA’s involvement in the Johns Creek Founders Day Parade on December 2nd. Ken, and his wife, Nancy, have also fostered for GRRA. As one of our fellow volunteers said in his nomination about several of the jobs he does, "Ken does an amazing job coordinating the transports and organizing the hikes. Both are very important tasks and, of course, everyone loves the hikes!" Ken shares his GRRA experience:

It’s truly an honor to be chosen as the December VOM. What makes it really great is getting an award for just having a good time. The volunteers and goldens at GRRA are fantastic and have really made doing my jobs a pleasure.

Back in 2010, Nancy and I wanted to adopt a companion for our golden rescue, Jackson. On a suggestion from a dog park friend, we contacted GRRA. I was very impressed with GRRA and my Adoption Consultant. So, after we adopted Molly and I had some spare time, I filled out the volunteer form and was “all in”.

I started helping out as an Adoption Day Escort once a month, taking prospective adopters around, introducing them to our dogs and their fosters. It is a great job for learning about GRRA and goldens from our fosters. Most of them have years of experience and training. I also love meeting the new dogs and chatting with the fosters. We also joined the GRRA Paws on the Path hiking group. Nancy and I would take Jackson and Molly on the monthly hikes around the Atlanta metro area. It’s an absolute joy to be in the great outdoors in the company of other dog lovers and allow all of our dogs to socialize with each other while getting exercise. Six months later, GRRA Paws on the Path was looking for a new Hike Coordinator. We enjoyed the hikes so much that I volunteered to take the job. We started with 75 members and we now have 300 members and are still growing. We have about 10 different parks we like to hike including: Red Top Mountain, Big Creek Greenway, Cochran Shoals, and Lanier Point Park. Many of our hikes give the pups a chance to swim. It’s outstanding when 20 Goldens are all paddling around chasing balls, sticks and just having a great time. The only issue is, I can never tell which ones are mine!

Right now, I am coordinating the December 2nd Johns Creek Founders Day Parade. We will have about 20 of our goldens marching. To “wow” the crowds, Nancy just made 25 bandanas for the pups. Tough job but someone has to do it. (Thank you, Nancy! We know the GRRA goldens will look amazing!)

Some time ago, I also took over as Retriever Taxi Coordinator. We have an awesome team of volunteers who chauffer our dogs between vet offices, foster homes, etc. I will receive a call from the Rescue Operations team on the dogs that need rides. I then coordinate with our taxi volunteers according to their geographic location and availability. While waiting to be adopted, our goldens are going through tough times so we make sure their taxi moves are totally seamless and smooth. We want the least possible amount of stress on our dogs. Everything has to be timed perfectly. Being a Retriever Taxi Volunteer is a really great job because you get to help a new GRRA dog directly. Many times you’re the first person to start that golden on the first day of the rest of his wonderful life. Could it get any better than that? I don’t think so as you just saved that dog.

We also foster and, over the years, we have adopted 6 dogs from GRRA: Molly, Annie (Buttercup), Max and the 3 we have now Rico, The Boz, and Daisy. We really are major GRRA foster failures! Saving these dogs from their past situations is extremely rewarding. We just love doing it and thank all of the other GRRA volunteers for letting us help.

Thank you, Ken, for all you do for GRRA and our goldens! You and Nancy have been such a wonderful addition to the organization and we are fortunate to have you as volunteers!

Happy Tales - Jenna


Last summer, we received a call from a friend who is very active in animal rescue that a 5-week-old Golden Retriever mix puppy was left at a shelter. She asked if we could foster the puppy for a couple of weeks until transport could be arranged with Susie Schaffer with GRRA. That was the start of our journey......

Jenna didn't have all of her baby teeth when she arrived and she came with her very own baby blanket. My granddaughter Rachel, who was just 10 at the time, immediately fell in love with her. I explained that we were just taking care of Jenna and were going to take her to GRRA in 2 weeks. She said she understood, as we all did.


It didn't take 2 weeks. More like less than 30 minutes and Jenna had us all wrapped around her little paw! We tried to be strong ----- live up to our original plan of getting another furry family member down the road sometime. Sadly, we had just lost 2 dogs within 5 months of each other. They were 14 and 15 years old.

Finally, the day came when we had to make the trip to take Jenna to see Susie. It was so hard, but we agreed that it was the best thing for Jenna. Yes, I signed the paperwork. Yes, I was sure. Yes, I was strong. Until on the way home. My granddaughter and I cried and cried. She said to me, "Nana, I NEVER want to do this again."

We immediately decided to start the official adoption process with GRRA. Everyone with the organization was so very helpful and understanding.

We went to Atlanta and picked her up. It was a complete surprise to Rachel. When she saw Jenna, she cried, "Jenna, you're HOME! You're back!" And Jenna was all over Rachel, too.

Jenna and Rachel have completed both Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 Training. Eventually, they hope to complete the AKC Canine "Good Citizen" Program.


Jenna is healthy, happy, loves to play, never meets a stranger, funny, and has her family just about where she wants them. There is nothing better than hearing a squeak from a toy and then the pitter patter of 4 little paws running down the hallway.

We are eternally grateful that Jenna has her Furever Home with us. A special thanks to all of the GRRA folks who helped bring Jenna back to where she belongs.

Thank you, GRRA!

Rachel, Barbara, and Floyd Payne

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