Adopt a Golden

Due to the large number of new applications we receive, there could be up to a four-week delay to begin the approval process for your application. Our application coordinators are much appreciated volunteers who work hard to review each application as soon as they can.

Adopt a Golden Knoxville, like every other Golden Retriever rescue in the country, has seen a dramatic decline in the number of Golden Retrievers in need of rescue. While we still occasionally are asked to help rehome a perfect, young purebred Golden, this situation is no longer the norm. Instead, many of the dogs in need of our help are seniors with significant medical issues and younger dogs with medical and behavioral issues – the new face of Golden Retriever Rescue in the United States. Conversely, the number of families that want to adopt a rescued Golden Retriever continues to increase. As a result, AGK simply does not have the dogs in our care to meet the demand of those persons wanting younger purebred Golden Retrievers with no major issues.

Not surprisingly, when we do take a young, purebred golden into AGK with no obvious behavioral or medical challenges, there are multiple qualified families interested in the dog. We take seriously our primary responsibility to find homes for the dogs in our care that best meet each dog’s needs. If you are approved to adopt a dog from AGK, our volunteers will work with you to find the right dog for your family. However, know that this process could take several months depending on the Golden Retrievers that need to be rehomed and the kind of dog you want to adopt. If you are in a hurry to adopt, we suggest applying to other rescues or visiting your local animal shelter. Ask family, friends, and your vet for referrals to rescue groups or search online. Do your homework and make sure the rescue group is reputable


Adoption Service Area
Our primary adoption service area includes East Tennessee, north Alabama, southwest Virginia, southeast Kentucky, and Western North Carolina. We also allow out-of-town adoptions both regionally and through our Knoxville to New England program. Regional adopters must live within 200 miles from Knoxville (one-way) and come to Knoxville to visit/pick-up any adopted dog. Adopters using the Knoxville to New England program must live along the transport routes of the professional transport companies we use. If the adoption does not work out for any reason, the adopter (regional or New England) must return the dog to Knoxville at his or her own expense, including boarding, vetting and travel/transport costs.
Knoxville to New England

AGK loves our northern neighbors and enjoys working with them to find their next golden! To help ensure a successful blind adoption, applicants follow the same application review process as our local adopters – vet reference check, telephone interview, and a home visit (all members of the family are required to be present). New England adoptions do take extra time, so patience is a must.

If you are at all hesitant to complete a blind adoption, or if you are looking to adopt quickly, we recommend you apply to a local and/or regional rescue group or visit your local animal shelter. Transport fees of $250 are in addition to the adoption fee and are paid by the adopter.

Professional Transport Process
  1. Once you are approved to adopt a dog, AGK will make a reservation for transport for the first available weekend using one of transport companies that meet its standards.
  2. Your Application Coordinator will email the Adoption Contract to you to be completed and returned to AGK. Adoption and transport fees must be paid before the dog is transported. The adoption fee is based on the dog’s age, and the transport fee is an additional $250 dollars and includes the transport, health certificate exam, and the health certificate. The fees may either be paid online or by check.
  3. The week of the transport the dog will receive an exam and health certificate required for transport.
  4. Transports pick up in Knoxville generally on Friday mornings and arrive in New England the following day at various times. AGK will contact the adopter when the dog is safely on-board transport.
  5. Adopters must arrive at the pick-up location with a leash, ID tag with their contact information, and a photo ID.

We are here to guide you every step of the way. Your Application Coordinator will answer your questions and explain the process in detail during the phone interview and throughout the application review and dog match processes. We look forward to receiving your application and working with you to find your next golden!

Adoption Fees

Our adoption fees vary by age. Adoption fees help offset the medical costs for all our incoming dogs, as well as training and behavioral assessments and boarding when needed. All our dogs are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and treated for any known infections prior to adoption. Serious medical problems also are treated.

Dogs 1-4 years = $375
Dogs 5-8 years = $325
Dogs 9 years and older = $250
Turkey Dogs = $600
Purebred puppies (up to a year old) = $600
Mixed puppies (up to a year old) = $400

Pay Your Adoption Fee


AGK occasionally has purebred golden retriever puppies or golden mix puppies for adoption.  Who doesn’t love sweet puppy breath and snuggles?  Did you also know that golden retriever puppies require about the same amount of energy to care for as a two-year-old human toddler?

Adding a new furry family member, especially a puppy, is a big decision. Puppies need constant socialization with humans and other dogs to thrive and grow into healthy, happy adults.  They also need age-appropriate training.  And they chew, bite, AND give you their absolute trust and affection.  For that reason, AGK requires that an adoptive home for all puppies under six months of age have at least one family member who is stay-at-home or work-at-home and can provide needed puppy care.  In addition, the puppy must not be alone for extended periods of time – one hour per one month of age is a good guideline. The care and socialization given to a young puppy is critical and will determine its confidence and socialization skills as an adult dog.

What if you have your heart set on adding a young purebred golden retriever puppy to your family, and AGK has no available pups?  You can find golden retriever breeders in many ways – asking for breeder recommendations from friends, other golden owners, or your vet; browsing ads on Craigslist, Facebook or other social media; shopping in pet stores that sell puppies.  As the average life span of a golden retriever is 10-12 years, you should be deliberate in your selection of a responsible breeder for your new family member.

How to Find a Responsible Golden Retriever Breeder

Golden retrievers are extremely popular dogs because of their temperament and beauty.  Unfortunately, some breeders do not use responsible breeding practices.  These breeders may have good intentions and love golden retrievers but do not understand the need to test for health issues in the parent dogs, why it is critical to socialize pups from birth, the importance of keeping pups in a clean and healthy living environment and feed quality puppy food, why pups need to stay with littermates long enough to learn doggy interaction skills, and the role of vet care for a healthy puppy.  Pups from these type of breeders may have health and behavior problems throughout their lives.  While the initial cost of pups from breeders who do not follow responsible breeding practices can be much lower than the cost of pups from a responsible breeder, the future potential for expensive health and behavior problems is very great.

The Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) offers useful information on deciding whether your lifestyle and home is better suited to a pup or adult golden retriever.  After considering these tips, if you decide to proceed with adding a puppy to your home, GRCA also offers tips on finding a responsible breeder.


    Do Not Buy a Puppy from a Local Pet Store:

    There are many reasons that buying a puppy from a local pet store is a bad idea.  These pups usually come from puppy mills and have lifelong health and behavior problems.  In addition, pups purchased from a pet store can cost $3000+ – usually more than you will pay for a pup from a responsible breeder.  The purchase price may include a year of vetting, but there usually are limitations on what is covered in the vet plan, and you may be required to purchase food from the same pet store.  Please understand that pet stores that sell puppies have developed savvy marketing plans based on your emotional spur-of-the moment connection to a pup.  They also offer payment plans – if you cannot afford to purchase a pup without using a payment plan, you do not need to purchase the pup!

    This Humane Society of the United States video explains the link between puppy mills and pups for sale in pet stores:

    Craigslist, Facebook, and Trading Sites

    We also do not recommend buying a puppy off Craigslist, Facebook or trading sites unless you have full information on the breeder and their program and are confident that the breeder is considered responsible.





    International Rescue - Turkey

    Since 2015, Adopt a Golden Knoxville, along with our sister rescues Adopt a Golden Atlanta, Adopt a Golden Nashville, and Adopt a Golden Birmingham (and many other Golden Retriever rescue groups across the country) have participated in a rescue operation bringing abandoned Golden Retrievers from Turkey to the United States and placing them in loving adoptive homes. AGK has rescued 25 Golden Retrievers from Istanbul, Turkey.

    Initially, the dogs were flown on cargo planes in large groups, but more recently, the dogs have travelled with flight volunteers. If you or someone you know will be travelling from Turkey, please let us know. We might be able to use you as a flight volunteer and bring in more goldens.

    Unfortunately, there are many homeless dogs in Turkey and not enough room in the shelters for all of them. Since Turkey does not euthanize dogs in shelters and has few adoptions, dogs either live out their lives in a shelter or are put on the streets or in the forests after they are spayed/neutered and given vaccines. Golden Retrievers do not survive well on the streets. They are not good pack animals and will not fight back, so many are attacked by other dogs; their survival depends on people helping them.



    Our adoption process starts with the applicant completing an on-line application and submitting a non-refundable $35.00 application fee. Please note the application fee is not a guarantee for any dog but simply demonstrates your family’s commitment to adopting one of our dogs. We know you are excited about the possibility of bringing a new friend into your home. We want to match our orphaned goldens with the best family for them. For this reason, our application includes many questions regarding your family members, lifestyle, other pets, and how the dog would spend their day. All our dogs are required to be inside dogs; they cannot be tied out or left outside unsupervised while you are away from home. Adopt a Golden Knoxville believes that Goldens are not happy being left outside and away from their families.

    PAW NOTE:  We can only accept applications submitted on-line. 

    Application Terms:

    Before you complete our adoption application, please read the following terms carefully.

    1. AGK takes in dogs from shelters and from owners who can no longer care for them; hence, their history almost always is unknown or incomplete. You will be told everything we know about a dog. However, this information is likely to change as the dog adapts to a new environment and is exposed to different situations. You will not be able to rely completely on the limited information we learn about a dog in the few short weeks we have a dog in foster care. If you want to know everything about a dog, rescue is not for you.
    2. Due to the background of our dogs described above, you should expect to have to spend substantial time assisting and working with your new dog to acclimate them to your home and family. The need to work with a professional trainer is not uncommon and is encouraged.
    3. We recommend that you consult a trainer who uses positive reinforcement (no shock/e-collars). We can help you find a trainer if needed. If you are looking for an “easy dog,” and you are not willing to consult with and pay for professional help when needed, rescue is not for you.
    4. Information posted about a dog online or on our social media is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted. However, as stated previously, this information is likely to change as the dog adapts to a new environment and as we learn more about the dog as it interacts in different situations. We will strive to keep posted information current, but due to the many moving parts of rescue, this may not always happen as quickly as we would like. If you want everything to be black or white, rescue is not for you.
    5. While we work hard to make a perfect match for every one of our dogs, we recognize that not every adoption will work out. In those situations, you as the adopter must return the dog to Knoxville as soon as possible at your own expense pursuant to our Adoption Contract. If you are not willing to make this commitment, which is in the best interest of the dog, rescue is not for you.
    6. Finally, we will contact your veterinary reference only once. If your records are not in order or up to date according to the veterinarian, we will close your application.

    If you agree with these terms, click here to fill out the adoption application. 

    Thank you for your interest in adopting one of our special golden orphans!

    Once your application is accepted and fee paid, an Application Coordinator will be assigned to you who take you through the application approval and adoption process.