Finding Warm Homes for Cold Noses Since 1991!

Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta

Happy Tales - Madison

VOM When I was about 8 years old, my family and I adopted a dog from the Dixie Golden Retriever Rescue here in town. Unfortunately, we had to put him down which was extremely sad.

When my husband and I started talking last year about adopting a dog again, I realized that the only dog I had ever loved was my Golden. So, I looked online for Golden Retriever Rescues and the first one I found was GRRA.

I had a lady contact me about a home visit and that weekend she came over. At first I thought about a younger dog, then she showed me a picture of Madison and I instantly fell in love! I patiently waited for the call from the Foster Mom.

Then one day I was at work and a random number popped-up on my phone. I ran to the back to answer it. And my prayers had been answered ---- it was Maddie's Foster! We set-up a meet and greet.

The day finally came and Maddie was coming for her home visit to see if my husband and I were a good match. At first, Madison was very shy and hid behind her Foster Mom, but then it happened...... She walked right over to me, laid down at my feet, and that was it. The Foster told me that we were the perfect match!

The Foster Mom and I decided that following Monday I would come and pick-up our new furbaby. That was the most amazing day of my life! VOM Since Madison has been living with us, she has become a completely different dog. She really loves her stuffed teddy bear, lots and lots of cuddles, and she especially loves to talk to us when we get up or get back home.

I will always use GRRA for any other dog I decide to adopt. But for now, Madison is the perfect furbaby to complete my family.

----- submitted by Kara Sornberger

Happy Tales - Holly and Henry

VOM Mike and I adopted Holly and Henry from Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta this past spring. Although Mike and I have had many dogs over the last 35 years, we actually have never any adopted senior dogs.

At this stage of our lives, we were not interested in the training, chewing, and excess energy that accompany puppies and younger dogs. And these two seniors were clearly bonded together so we took them both.

Holly and Henry had been abandoned and were sadly in tough shape when rescued by GRRA. Holly unfortunately had heartworms and Henry had lost most of his coat due to a bacterial and fungal skin infection.

Regardless of the obvious neglect Holly and Henry endured in their previous journey, they do not have a mean bone in either of their bodies. They are completely full of love and appreciation.

They are calm around energetic children and unfazed by noisy deck parties. Holly and Henry might move slowly (due to arthritis), but their tails wag with abundant energy and delight.

Mike and I heartily recommend the adoption of senior Golden dogs. We feel that we are the lucky ones for doing so!

Bonnie Sammons

Happy Tales - Marty


Our family had been looking for a new dog for a while when we reached out to GRRA. I wasn’t set on getting a Golden Retriever specifically but I knew what great dogs they can be so we gave it a shot. GRRA was so helpful and really took the time to get to know our family and discuss what we could handle and what we couldn’t.

Unlike most people, we were looking for an older dog ----- one that needed us as much as we needed them. We have a large family on our farm in the Georgia mountains and our 2 dogs were getting older. We also wanted a dog that could keep up with our 4 kids but not be too rambunctious with them.

Having livestock affords us a lot of time and experience caring for our animals. After some discussion, we decided to look for a dog with some extra needs that may be too much for another family. We met a few along the way but they weren’t the right fit for some reason or another. One didn’t like cats ----- which we have 2 ----- and another ran off a lot and we have way too much land for that!

When I met Marty, I just knew immediately he was who we were searching for. He was about 20 lbs. under weight and he was missing his front teeth from chewing himself because he itched all over, but I could see the real him hiding underneath.

Although he had spent most of his life homeless or outside, he was ready to come in and get the love he deserved. After a few trips to the vet and various medications to manage his poor coat and skin, he slowly but surely began to get better.

I accepted that this would be his lot in life ----- pills everyday, baths every week, and chewing on his skin all night, but I was mistaken. Over the next few months, he put on weight, grew a beautiful coat, and NO MORE ITCHING! GRRA gave us a gift we could never repay and we will forever be grateful to them. Thank you all!

Catherine Taylor

Happy Tales - Lexi

HT1 We live in Roswell with our two boys and had been waiting not-so-patiently for them to be a few years older so we could adopt a dog. When our youngest was almost four, we decided the time was finally right. We found GRRA online and loved seeing all the pictures and descriptions of the rescues.

We completed the application and interviews and the adoption process went smoothly. We talked about size and other characteristics, and decided to wait until our idea of the perfect dog came along. We were excited when Lexi and her foster dad came to visit, and even more excited once we spent time with her!

We knew Lexi was the one when she jumped up on the sofa and our 4-year old said, “Look, Mommy --- She’s home!” When our boys snuggled up on the floor with her, the deal was done. It was hard to let her go after that visit but we knew we had to work through the adoption process. HT2 After a few days of holding our breath, we got the call that let us know Lexi would be a part of our family. We were so excited! And we were ready to pick her up immediately. We had a comfy dog bed ready for her, food, and a Texas Longhorn leash.

HT3 She had a different name when we met her (Honey/Shellie), but after a few days we picked her forever name: Lexi AKA Lulu, LexiBelle, Lexi Lou Hoo. Lexi loves playing outside with the kids, going for long walks, and getting lots and lots of love. Her favorite place to be is wherever we are.

Thanks so much to everyone involved with GRRA. We couldn’t be happier and are grateful that Lexi is part of our family! Thanks for all of the great work you do.

Beth and Travis Hand


  • Submitted by Karen Page

Happy Tales - Dixie


Should we or shouldn’t we? We felt so guilty even thinking about it. Do you think we can love another dog as much as the one we lost? All of the crazy questions that ran through our heads when we actually were thinking about adopting another Golden Retriever.

Dixie (aka "Jenny" in her first 2 years of her life) is the newest addition to our family for the past year now. When we actually thought about adopting another Golden, we thought long and hard about all the challenges that would come along with a dog we knew nothing about. Dixie is our 4th Golden Retriever fur-baby that we had adopted. Our first 2 were given to us at different times but close enough in age that they instantly bonded and became sisters.

Our first passed away almost 8 years go and left my husband and I devastated and her sister Lilly devastated AND lost. We adopted Daisey who was absolutely sent to us from heaven (we actually believe that she is the reincarnation of our first Golden) and knew that her life wouldn’t be complete until she had a sister, too.

We moved here to Atlanta 3 years ago and knew the minute we got a house with a fence that we needed to start the process of adopting a sister for our Daisey. We called GRRA, got the process rolling and after we were approved we actually chickened-out and felt really guilty about bringing another dog into the family. Since we had never adopted from an organization before, we were extremely worried about the problems that would be coming with our new addition.

After being officially approved by GRRA to be able to adopt, we got a call within a week to meet a beautiful Golden who came to our home with her Foster Mom. They spent a few hours at the house and Daisey and her met, but there was no connection unfortunately between us or her. We felt bad because we REALLY wanted it to be a match and we were so ready to have our family complete. But we knew that we would KNOW when the right Golden girl came along.

About 2 weeks later, we got a call to see if we would be interested in meeting Jenny. Jenny??? Who would name their dog Jenny? I kept thinking of that song ---- 8-6-7-5-3-0-9---- and I said YES!!...Let’s meet this girl Jenny.


When we were introduced to her, my husband and I couldn’t believe what we were seeing! This beautiful girl looked so much like our second Golden we had lost and when we saw her instantly play with Daisey and how they bonded. We all knew that this Jenny was the other heaven-sent dog that was meant for our family.


Dixie has been a blessing to our family. She is such a loving girl who loves lots of attention and loves her sister Daisey so much. In the year that Dixie has joined our family, she has learned many commands and loves to run with her sister and play ball. She also loves to sun bathe, go on car rides, give kisses, and is truly the best girl that we have ever cuddled with.

Dixie and Daisey are inseparable and play and sleep together all the time. Thank you GRRA for giving us the opportunity to complete our family!

Lori and Tom Karras

-Submitted by Karen Page

Happy Tales - Riley

Happy 1 A few years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in the position some parents dream of ---- our daughter graduated college and was living on her own. Our last fur baby had crossed the Rainbow Bridge and we had all kinds of new found freedom. We thought it was great!

And then a couple of years went by and we found ourselves walking around dog parks in hopes of finding someone kind enough to let us pet their pup. Call us dogophiles. We can take it! Occasionally, we would go to shelters, adoption days, or scope ads on Craigslist. We would see dogs we liked but they just weren’t “the one”.

My husband has always wanted another Golden, so one day we found ourselves at the GRRA Adoption Day. We petted and loved on the dogs that were there but they weren’t “our” dog. We completed all the requirements of GRRA and were wisely advised by them not to rush. Our dog would come. We received information on available pups, but still our hearts told us, “That’s not our dog.”

And then one day we received a bio for Riley. We saw his face and read his story. Yes. This could be the one!

We had a one-on-one meet and greet with the best foster ever: Kristin. We sat patiently until Riley was more at ease with us (shortened by what can only be described as a bribe in the form of a new chew toy). When we left and got into our car – we knew. THAT was our dog.

We tried to go out for dinner afterwards but neither of us could concentrate. We missed our boy already. Later that week, Kristin called and said Riley wanted to know if we would be his new Fur Mommy and Daddy. We were elated! Riley took to our bed that first night… and has remained snuggled between us ever since. Happy 2

He is truly the most affectionate dog we’ve ever had. He loves to impress the neighborhood kids with his tricks. We go to Fowler Park every day for a good long walk and wear him out with ball throws. (Mommy had to buy a ‘Chuck-It’ because Mommy throws like a girl!). We go to the dog park where he is on the cusp of frolicking with other dogs. If I throw his ball and another dog chases it, Riley will stop and won’t compete. I guess he’s a lover, not a fighter. He also won’t play with balls that aren’t his. I think he’s a germaphobe!

Our favorite time is “morning puppy snuggles”. I can’t stop running my hands through that sweet thick fur around his neck. We laugh when he gets all riled up when we chase him through the house or when he gets obsessive about his ball thinking we are going to take it away. We smile with pride when passers-by comment on how pretty he is and how well behaved he is.

Happy 3

And our hearts melt when we lie in bed and look at that face so filled with love staring back at us. THIS is our dog.

-Submitted by Win and John Zangrilli

Happy Tales - Lilly


It’s been a few months since Lilly agreed to join us and start her new family here. In a nutshell, it has been completely wonderful!

We lost our Golden before the holidays after 15 great years together. Needless to say, it was very tough for us and we weren’t sure we were ready for a new friend.

We heard about GRRA from friends and attended the January and February Adoption Days. After meeting the volunteers, host families, and, more importantly, the hopeful Goldens, we left impressed by the entire organization.

At the February Adoption Day --- not really expecting anything --- I ran into Lilly waiting patiently as families paraded past, said hello, and shared a few minutes. I sat down with her and it just happened. I was sure we would be great together.

I told my wife Kim I’d be right back and went back one more time to say hello and let Lilly know I was hopeful. We got a call that week to finish our home review, another visit with the host family, and then finally a call letting us know it was going to happen! We drove over the following Sunday morning and welcomed Lilly into her new house.


Lilly has settled in nicely and has gotten into her new routine while here. Each morning, I am awoken to two perky eyes and a cold nose letting me know she is ready to go out. The steady thumping of her tail on the side of the bed makes it hard not to smile at how happy she is.

We have been learning to play with the ball as well. After a few days, she ran over, picked it up, and tossed it off the patio. I retrieved it and brought it back. She repeated this several times and I am convinced I am learning more each time from her!

Lastly, I believe I have an invisible six foot string attached to my back pocket. Each time I get up to do something, Lilly is right there trailing behind just to make sure she is included in any and all activities. You have to be careful not to turn around too quickly or we run into each other, but that’s ok, too!

Again, I am so thankful we found one another. Thank you to GRRA for your wonderful volunteers and thorough process to match us all together.

Submitted by Rob Underhill


Happy Tales - Corbin

HT1 He was so much smaller than we were accustomed to with our Cooper who weighed 100 lbs. He was also shorter and boxier because he wasn't a full breed dog. But that wasn't important to us at all.

Corbin came to us as my very first foster. We had just lost our beloved Cooper and I missed having a dog. I thought that fostering for GRRA would be a good way for me to ease back into having a dog around.

My son and I were anxious to get him, but a bit reluctant as well. We drove to Sandy Springs to meet the young man who was his original foster parent. At first, Corbin was timid; which is to be expected. But he then sailed into the back seat of my car and smiled and we were on our way.

We attended GRRA Adoption Day together. I didn't feel that we had encountered anyone that could give Corbin all that we knew he needed. He liked to play fetch and he just loved being out in the yard. Giving him to a new family who lived in a small apartment or who would need to be out of the house for 12 hours a day just didn't seem right. It was then I decided to be a "foster failure" and to adopt him; which is what we did.

He's a goofy boy who loves squeaky toys and to play fetch. He loves car rides and is always ---- and I mean always ---- ready to go. He's a loyal and devoted companion who has a bit of mischievousness in him, but he just wants to be loved and to know that he is going to be treated kindly. And fed often!

Corbin has become a great companion to me and I really feel that he has "adopted" us. He has also become a great dog to our family. He has taken to our foster Madison and these guys even sleep on the same bed together. When you call Corbin, Maddy hams it up and jumps onto the couch and sometimes on top of Corbin, but he takes it lovingly and in good spirit.

I know by the way he responds to us and how much he wants to know things that he is pleasing us. And I see his loyalty each time I look at him. I'm happy we "failed" him and that he is now ours.

*- Submitted by Lori Goldstein *

Happy Tales - Sawyer

Late last year, my fiancé, Kevin, and I decided to start the process of looking for our “first baby” and came immediately to Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta. My father had found his “grill-friend” BeBe through GRRA so we already knew how great of an organization we were working with and how committed the team of GRRA volunteers were to finding the right home for their sweet dogs. Just a few months later, we got the phone call that Brody – now re-named to Sawyer – had recently been turned in by his owner and might be a fit for us. Sawyer had a “ruff” start to life – his breeder gave him to his original owner at only five weeks old and he quickly became ill with pretty severe bladder stones. His owner turned him in on the day after Christmas, and GRRA got right to work getting him the right care to avoid surgery and bring him back to good health.


Sawyer has been stone-free for two months now and just celebrated his four-month birthday! You’ve never been as popular as you are when you take Sawyer on a walk around the neighborhood – he’s made friends at all the restaurants in Poncey-Highland and surrounding neighborhoods.


He loves hanging out with his grandpa and other Golden friends, destroying squeaky toys, and living right by the park and Beltline. He’s quickly taken over our Instagram accounts – and hearts – and is quickly picking up new tricks like “shake” and “sit” (although, potty training took a little longer than his mom and dad would have liked!). He’s all boy and loves rough housing in the backyard with his dad and cuddling with his mom.


We truly didn’t know that we were missing such a big piece of our hearts until GRRA brought Sawyer into our lives! We’re preparing for our upcoming wedding this September and Sawyer is looking forward to the festivities – his grandpa even got him an outfit for the big day!


We are so thankful to GRRA and to the GRRA doctors who cared for Sawyer for bringing this little bundle of trouble into our lives: particularly the Swanceys and Schaeffers who fostered Sawyer and did the hard work of bringing him back to health, Dr. Geddings who wisely set out a plan to avoid surgery, and Leah, our adoption consultant, who helped us match with Sawyer and patiently answered all of our questions along the way.

Sawyer is growing like a weed (see the photos below for proof!) and loves keeping up with his GRRA friends. So look out for us at GRRA events in the future!

– Lauren & Kevin HT5

The Rewards of Fostering - Henry's Journey

Sometimes the saddest looking dog turns out to create the sweetest memories. Henry, a male Golden estimated to be age 10, came into the GRRA program from a metro area shelter. His hang-dog stance said it all about how he had been so severely neglected. He had lost nearly all of his coat on the back half of his body and was significantly underweight. He quickly became a favorite with the staff at the veterinary clinic where he went for treatment and his 10-day quarantine period.

When we went to pick him up at the vets we thought the bare mottled skin on his back and tail made his physique almost comical. The vet staff assured us he was looking “so much better” than when they first saw him. Wow! They assured us his condition was not contagious. We went home with a full array of oral meds to treat the fungal and bacterial infections that had caused the hair loss as well as drops for his ear infection.


Henry settled in quickly in our home and got along well with our black lab. He immediately mastered the short flight of steps to our main level despite his stiff, arthritic back legs. He became accustomed to our daily routine of a morning walk when I used a thunder shirt instead of a dog blanket to cover his bare back on cold mornings. Afternoon walks, however, were his favorite because he had more opportunity to sniff and explore some wooded areas. Henry spent the remainder of the day seeking the sunny spots in the house for his naps and getting stronger. He ate voraciously.

After several weeks we were certain we were not imagining fuzzy hairs starting to show on his back. His coat was growing back! He walked with more confidence and we saw less of the sad sack look. He began to come when called by name and would approach to get affection and attention. Seeing another dog would get his tail wagging. The area of bare skin on his back became smaller and smaller. Neighbors began to comment on what a handsome dog he was rather than asking what was wrong with him.


After three months with us he attended the monthly GRRA adoption day. A couple who had recently lost their dog were looking for a pair of senior Goldens They thought Henry would be the perfect companion for a female golden, Holly, who was also attending the adoption day. Henry and Holly were introduced and seemed to be compatible. Five days later the couple adopted Holly and when Henry joined her the following day she was most excited to see him.

Henry is now enjoying multiple walks daily and a spacious back yard to explore. His coat is coming back even fuller and he has a confident look instead of the sad face. It may take only time in a foster home, a little medication and some attentive care from a foster family to turn things around for the saddest dog. -Submitted by Carol Shipley Henry3

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