Finding Warm Homes for Cold Noses Since 1991!

Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta

Happy Tales - Nellie

They say a picture is worth 1000 words and when you see the before picture of Nellie, you know this girl was in dire need of saving. Nellie, a Golden mix, was seized in a cruelty case where she was chained and starved. This poor girl was never shown any love, yet she was very sweet with everyone. The GRRA team was determined to change her life.

Nellie - before

Toni Loper, a new GRRA volunteer with the intake team, took charge of getting this girl rescued. Nellie was her first intake. Toni worked with our incredible medical team, to secure a place for her at the vets during the Thanksgiving weekend – not an easy task.

Rick Knotts, in true hero form, provided the freedom ride from the shelter to the vets. Carin Miller was the medical team member assigned. Nellie was heartworm positive and

Carin ensured all medical needs were met, including a bit of a scare with Nellie potentially ingesting some foreign material. Carin arranged for Nellie to spend a weekend at Blue Pearl GVS. Thankfully no surgery was needed and with our monitoring and supportive care from Blue Pearl GVS Nellie recovered well.

Next step was to find a foster home where Nellie could heal, both physically and mentally. Dree Harris and her family stepped up to the plate and opened their home to her. Nellie was Dree’s first foster dog. Despite Nellie’s history of severe neglect, while in foster, she learned to trust humans and rely on them for reassurance. After almost four months, Nellie was ready to be adopted.

Dree worked with Wanda Prater, Nellie’s Dog Consultant, to find the perfect home. The Steedman’s were looking for a fur baby to add to their family and fell in love when they met Nellie. As you can see by the picture below, Nellie now has the life she deserves. Many thanks to our amazing volunteers and donors. It really does take a village!

Nellie - after

Happy Tales-Cooper


I found out about Cooper on the GRRA website, and from my Adoption Coordinator. I had been looking for a male English Creme Golden for 6 months, or so, to no avail. His website picture was of him lying on the floor, but there was something about his eyes that exuded “potential”! His wonderful foster family set up a meet and greet near Piedmont Park and when I saw him walking up the sidewalk he had such a swag and confidence that I was smitten with right away. A short time later, a meet and greet was scheduled at my house for Cooper to meet my Border Collie/Lab mix, Zoe. They enjoyed running and chasing one another in the wooded backyard; Cooper seemed to think he had his own, private park! Next came the hard part....waiting for the foster family to decide where Cooper would have his forever home. Once the call came that Cooper and Zoe would be siblings, I was overjoyed. Almost 3 months have passed and Cooper has had quite a journey starting out as a puppy mill dog from Ohio, taken from his Mom and litter mates at 6 weeks old, being shipped to a pet store, being purchased by a family where he was aggressively bullied, to GRRA, and now in his forever home.


His favorite activities are WWE smackdowns with Zoe (Zoe always wins even though she only weighs 35 pounds), chasing/retrieving tennis balls, digging holes in the mulch, stalking birds, going on rides— especially to the pet store, meeting new friends, and being a superstar at obedience training. Sounds like a Golden! Cooper is my 3rd Golden from GRRA ( my first was a private adoption from Dalton, GA) and like those who have come before him and passed over Rainbow Bridge, he continues to teach resilience, to keep looking forward, and to be HAPPY, no matter how much dog hair is on the comforter! He is BBE -Best Boy Ever.

Sharon Roth


Happy Tales-Truman


I've rescued Goldens since my first dog in the late 80's. They're such wonderful dogs. Who in GRRA would argue? The last two came from GRR chapters, one from TN Valley and one in Nashville. When my beloved Clifford (yes, he was a big red dog!) passed away last year at the age of 12, I felt the loss very heavily. He was special, and I just wasn't ready for another dog. Around the holidays, I was finally ready and began to search rescue sites for possible matches. I knew my calling from now on is to look for the hard to place seniors. I saw Truman's picture. He is so gorgeous! Reading his profile, I thought guy will be a good fit. I reached out to inquire and start the adoption process. There was an adoption event that Truman was attending so I made sure to visit. He was a popular attendee and plenty of potential new parents wanted to spend time with him. Truman is calm, cool and collected and never minded the crowds or everyone wanting to pet him. I made up my mind, Truman was the dog for me.

VOM GRRA goes through a meet and greet, and Truman's foster mom wanted to make sure Truman was going to be comfortable. I sang the praises of my situation, stating all the advantages for an older dog, one story home, no stairs to get outside, quiet environment, experienced owner, etc. It seems there was no need for all that because Truman was at home after just a few minutes. My rescue cat, Harry, took to him right away! Yes, it's Harry & Truman. :) The process took over 2 months from the moment I saw Truman's picture until he was placed. There are some steps, and I think this helps to make good placements for both the dogs and owners.

VOM We're getting along fabulously. Truman loves the neighborhood dog park and loves to play with the mostly younger dogs. He can't keep up a race for long but he's smiling and wagging his tail the entire visit. He greets every person, dog and cat on our daily walks with a smile and a wag. Truman has brought so much joy to my daily life already. I know it's not always this easy for every dog to acclimate to a new home having rescued other dogs. This has worked out to be a happy partnership for Truman, Harry and me.

Karen Thorborg

Happy Tales-Lacey


We lost two of our Goldens, Trixie and Poppy, in a short time. Poor Charlie, our remaining Golden, was left alone after enjoying the company of his “girls”. Charlie is very shy but Trixie and Poppy helped him feel confident. I knew Charlie needed a companion.

Seeing Lacey on the GRRA website led me to meeting her at Adoption Day. She was perfect for Charlie. Her age, fourteen, wasn’t a drawback as Charlie is a senior too. She was very friendly and cheerful at Adoption Day, and I knew she would be a good match for Charlie.


When Lacey and Charlie met, it was like they were always friends. They acted like old friends who hadn’t seen one another for a long time. Lacey also loved my young grandchildren and didn’t mind if a Lego building fell over on her or a Hot Wheels car raced past her nose. She looked like she was enjoying the commotion. She loves going on walks and likes to be the leader. She fit in so well it’s hard to believe she hasn’t always been with my family.


We had a worry when we found some lumps that turned out to be cancerous. Dr. David, the veterinarian at Good Hands in Athens was able to remove the tumors and give Lacey a longer life. Even when she came home from surgery, she was smiling. She’s an example of a true Golden Retriever, always smiling, no matter what!

Jim and Nancy Baumann

Happy Tales-Yogi


After losing our beloved Abbie, we didn’t want to adopt another dog right away. Abbie was part of our family for sixteen years, a rescue, and the sweetest dog. She accepted our new babies and was extremely gentle with them. One day, my husband felt he was ready to adopt a dog. I was too, so we began looking at the GRRA website. We needed a dog that was gentle since we have a five-year-old and three-year old. We both work so a puppy wouldn’t be a good idea. I attended several GRRA Adoption Days and met many wonderful dogs. But they were adopted so we kept looking.

At Adoption Day in December, I spotted the cutest dog march into to Petco. He was a smaller golden mix and had such a cute attitude. Yogi had a crowd around him but when I was able to meet him, he snuggled up against me. His coat was so soft and his smile so big. He just spoke to me! I contacted Melinda Lahmers, our Adoption Coordinator, and arranged a home visit with Yogi. He marched into our home with his confident attitude and stole our hearts. He was gentle with our boys, enjoyed our fenced backyard, and liked going for walks. He could stay in his crate during the day while we are at work. He just fit right into our family.


The adoption process was very professional, and GRRA made sure Yogi was the right fit for our family. We miss Abbie but we are enjoying Yogi as he settles in to our family. We are going to be attending Obedience Classes soon to help Yogi channel his exuberance. Yogi is such a good match for us!

-Kate Hallam


Happy Tales-Copper


Looking at the GRRA website, I noticed a sweet senior named Copper. Her photograph spoke to me, “I want to go home with you.” I have two rescued seniors, Charlie and Lacey. Copper would fit in perfectly with them, I just knew it!

I contacted Melinda Lahmers, my adoption coordinator, about my interest in Copper. Soon I heard from her foster family, and we arranged a time for me to meet Copper. It was a long drive from my home in Statham to Peachtree City where Copper was staying. When I saw her, I immediately felt a connection with her. Having been picked up as a stray in Atlanta, she needed a family that would love on her. I didn’t care that her coat was in poor condition or she didn’t respond to my words or was so arthritic she had trouble getting up or walking. I just wanted to adopt her. Her fosters helped me lift her into my car, and we were on our way to Statham.


Copper, Lacey, and Charlie got along right away. Just a little sniffing but that was it. Next, Copper went to see our vet. He discovered she is deaf, her vertebrae are fused from her hips to her tail, and has a limited strength. He suggested physical therapy at the University of Georgia Vet School to help with improving her mobility. Copper went to UGA and started with “sit to stand” exercises and the underwater treadmill. Copper has homework too-working on “sit to stand” reps and taking a daily 20 minute walk. She was given a harness to help me help her to stand.

Copper is the most wonderful dog, and I thank GRRA for taking her into their program. She has so much love to give and has been such an inspiring delight. Hooray for seniors!


Happy Tales-Tilly


Chapter One of this Happy Tales story started when this sweet girl was rescued with her litter mates from a dumpster. Thankfully, GRRA saved the day!

We joined GRRA in search of a new love following the recent losses of two of our 4 retrievers. We decided that a new puppy would bring much needed positive energy to our sad home. We were very impressed with the GRRA application and vetting process and fully expecting to wait for the exact right match for us.

GRRA April, now Tilly, came to us when she was just 8 weeks old. Like we had hoped, our home became very lively!

When Tilly arrived, she was recovering from a dog bite to her nose and continues to sound a little bit like a piglet. This girl could have been aptly named many things like Lucky or Chance. But, “Tilly” came to us just as serendipitously as she did.


Tilly is incredibly smart and has been practically house trained since she arrived. She loves to retrieve balls and toys and is so inquisitive. It is a joy to watch her follow our senior retrievers Ella (11 yrs.) and Woody (12 yrs.) around and learn their behaviors so quickly and beautifully.

Tilly loves to walk by the lake and she takes to the water like a champ. She loves to fetch a stick and swim like she has been doing it for her entire life.

Thanks GRRA!

Submitted by Whitney Newton


Happy Tales-Mollie


I had the great fortune of adopting Mollie (now Mollie Grace) from GRRA this past April. I have always had dogs in my life, but I never owned a Golden Retriever. When I lost my amazing Labrador Retriever, Bella, at 17-years-old last year I was heartbroken. I knew I’d get another dog someday, but I did not expect it to happen so soon.

I became aware of GRRA during my time with Bella. My good friend adopted a 2-year-old Golden Retriever from GRRA named Atticus (now Bentley). Bella and Bentley became fast friends, Bella taught Bentley how to be a great dog while Bentley kept Bella young and playful. They were best friends and spent a lot of great times together. I have very fond memories of them together.

I was incredibly lonely once I lost my sweet Bella. I finally made the decision to adopt from GRRA so I could have time to train and play with my new pup. Being a teacher, I have the opportunity to enjoy some time off during the summer months and I knew I wanted a furry companion to accompany me on my adventures!

I began the application process with GRRA and I was amazed by the thoroughness and knowledge of the adoption consultant. Every step of the way I was told what to expect and I understood that the most important aspect was to ensure that each dog adopted went to the right type of home and owner. I appreciated that so much because my biggest concern was not finding a dog that would be a good fit with my lifestyle and vice versa.

I attended my first adoption day and met lots of cute dogs. I had been given information about dogs that might be good matches prior to the event so I knew what dogs I’d be focusing on. If not, I would want to take every dog home the moment I met them! My adoption consultant, Amanda Dytor, prepared me on what to expect and I finally had the chance to meet her that day.

There were so many great dogs there, but the ones that I had my eyes on did not seem like they would be a great match due to me being single and not having other dogs and/or children. I was discouraged at first, but I understood the reasoning behind the decisions. I knew there would be another adoption day where I might find my future fur baby.

I was about to leave that afternoon when I noticed a beautiful dog that was near the front of the store. I noticed her during my tour around meeting the other dogs, but I couldn’t get a good look because so many people were around her. I decided to wait and see if I could get more information.


I learned that Mollie was a three-year-old Golden and I had a great conversation with her current foster, Susan Swartz. I voiced my interest in Mollie, but I really did not think I’d be able to adopt her since there were so many interested people --- mainly families --- and I figured they would have a better shot than I would.

I received a call when I got home from Amanda, my adoption consultant, letting me know that the foster, Susan, would be in touch with me. I was elated, but tried to keep my cool as I did not want to get my hopes up.

About a week later --- after an official home visit and a great discussion with Susan --- Mollie became a part of my family!

I could not be happier and I think Mollie feels that way too! She is such a sweet dog and loves going for walks and hikes or just taking a nap with me on a rainy Sunday afternoon. She definitely wants for nothing --- other than chasing those pesky squirrels in our yard. She absolutely brings joy to everyone she meets!

Thank you GRRA for being such a great organization. From beginning to end, there was always someone there to check in and keep me informed. Your devotion to the dogs is amazing and I always sing your praises to anyone who will listen.

Tania Lehman


Happy Tales-Georgia


We lost our beloved Golden, Joey, in June 2016. After about 18 long months of waiting for life to calm down, we decided we were ready to be dog owners again. And we really wanted a rescue dog this time around.

Friends kept suggesting GRRA, so we started the process and quickly got a call from Amanda who took us under her wing. We went to our first ---- and turns out only ---- adoption event.

We were introduced to an 86 lb., 11 month old named Georgia. As rabid UGA fans, her name peaked our interest. Almost immediately, she absolutely stole our hearts!

She is a goofy girl who loves walks, sticks, and tennis balls. She is forever trying to make friends with the crotchety, old resident cat. She has brought so much joy to our lives. Everyone that meets her can’t believe she was a rescue.

Both Amanda and Georgia’s foster mom, Allison, were absolutely awesome to work with. My husband and I would like to thank Amanda, Allison, and everyone involved with GRRA for such a great experience and for taking care of our Georgia until she claimed us as her forever family!

Ellen Crosby


Happy Tales - Samson


The email from Melinda Lahmers came late on a Thursday afternoon. I was just about to leave the house for lacrosse pick up.

It read......"I wanted to let you know that we have an approximate 8 week old blind male puppy. Please let me know if you’d like additional information ASAP......".

OMG! OMG! I would definitely be late for LAX pick up now!

I immediately called my 14 year old son into the room and read him the email. As I headed out the door to pick up my daughter, I asked Gabriel to Google "blind puppy care."


As I reached the middle school, I called my son and he told me a few things he’d already discovered online. Puppies who are born blind don’t know any different, so you don’t really have to feel sorry for them. That’s just the way life has always been for them.

Gabriel also told me that blind dogs seem to do better with other dogs around. Bingo! We already had a 12 year old male Brittany and an 8 year old Smooth Fox Terrier. Gabe said it’s easier for a blind puppy to navigate his surroundings if he follows the jingle sounds of their collar tags. Having other dogs in the home makes them feel more secure.


By this time, I was already on the phone to Melinda.

When I returned from LAX pick up, I had to take one more step...... I had to tell/ask my husband. He’s a softie, so I was pretty sure he’d be in.

After all, when we signed up to adopt through GRRA, he laid down the law ----- Must be a Golden Retriever and must be a puppy.


As a result, we had said no to a lot of other adoption possibilities which was really hard, but this one was not only an amazing opportunity but also a fit for our narrow parameters we had already discussed as a family.

At dinner that night, we voted on names for our possible new pup. We had a Roscoe and a Roxie and had fostered a grown Golden Retriever, Rufus, who instilled in us our love for the breed.

Several good possibilities were tossed about and then Gabe said “Samson” because of the strength of the biblical character due to his flowing mane. My husband Bill pointed out that biblical Samson was actually blinded at the end of his story.

Name picked? Check.

Gabe and I drove to Lori’s house that following Sunday morning. It was immediately apparent that sweet Samson had some semblance of sight. He sat and snuggled in the car right next to Gabriel all the way back to our house.

The introduction to Roscoe and Roxie went fairly smoothly. We watched closely for a few days and then began putting Roxie (his new best friend) in the crate with Samson at night so he didn’t feel alone.

Next came the challenge of the doggie door and the deck steps down to the yard. With a few days of training and some doggie treats, Samson managed going outside and down the steps to go potty. Success!

We learned to change the texture under his feet around the house where a transition would occur to give him an alert while walking. We had a mat by the doggie door and another at the top of the deck steps. He doesn’t even hesitate with getting around these days.

We are so happy with our sweet puppy and so happy for the gallant efforts GRRA took to rescue this very special Golden.

We can’t imagine life without him.

------Submitted by Julie Ann Rice


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