Surrender A Golden

We understand rehoming a golden retriever is a difficult decision and appreciate your confidence in asking AGK to help in this process. If you need to rehome your golden for any reason, please know that we are happy to help.  To start the surrender process, you should:

  1. Submit an owner surrender application which asks for detailed information about the golden’s life. We use this information to help us ease the dog’s transition into a new home. If you would like to talk with someone before you submit the application, please leave a message at 865-940-0688 and a volunteer will get back with you.
  2. Email several photos of your dog (front and side views), along with their name, to If it is easier for you to text the pictures, email AGK at this address and a volunteer will respond with a cell number you can use to text the pictures.

Once your application is received, a volunteer will contact you within 48 hours to clarify any questions either you or AGK may have and to let you know if we can take your golden.  The volunteer also will help work out transport details.  At the point you surrender your golden to AGK, you will sign an Owner Release Contract. We recommend that you go ahead and review the language in the contract in case you have questions.

Have you Found a Golden Retriever or Other Dog?

If you find a golden or other dog and cannot locate its owner, you must go through appropriate legal steps to try and find the owner before you can surrender the dog to Adopt a Golden Knoxville or any other rescue, rehome it, or keep it yourself.

  1. Check the dog for tags (owner ID, rabies, or microchip) which would provide information to locate the owner. If no tags are found or if the information is out-of-date on the tags and you cannot locate the owner, contact the animal shelter in the city or county where the dog was found. Some shelters will ask you to bring the dog to the shelter to check for a microchip and fill out “found dog” paperwork. For Knox County, call Young-Williams Animal Center at 865-215-6599 for assistance or visit their Division Street location and check their website. In Blount County, contact the Blount County Animal Center at 865-980-6244. Vet offices also can scan for a microchip.
  2. If the dog is found when the shelter or vet is not open, please make every effort to secure the dog in a safe place with food and water until the shelter or vet opens. Since you do not know if the dog is up to date on vaccines, disease free, or other pet or person friendly, we recommend that you keep the dog separate from your animals.
  3. If the dog is not microchipped and/or if it has not been reported as lost to the shelter, the shelter staff will advise you how long the dog must be on stray hold before it can be kept, re-homed, or surrendered to a rescue such as Adopt a Golden Knoxville (AGK). Young-Williams in Knoxville, for example, has a three-day shelter hold and a 10-day in home hold.  In counties with no Animal Control or shelter, the stray hold is three business days.  The shelter, if not full, will keep the dog for the stray hold period.  Sometimes, the shelter will allow the finder to foster the dog for the stray hold period if they agree to make the dog available to anyone who believes it is their pet.  If you are in doubt about the ownership claim, you can request that the person meet you at the shelter or surrender the dog to the shelter so that the owner will have to provide them proof and pay a running at large/reclaim fee.  Most shelters will offer spay/neuter for free and drop the reclaim charges if the owner agrees.
  4. If the dog has not been claimed by the owner by the end of the stray hold period, the shelter will put it up for adoption or find a rescue to take it. Sometimes, the shelter allows the finder to “pre-adopt” the dog in case it is not claimed during the stray hold.  If you have fostered the dog during the stray hold, you can keep the dog, re-home it, or surrender it to a rescue.  Remember, if you hold a dog in the home, the shelter does not provide vet care unless you are an approved foster.  This situation can be risky for you.  Since you will be responsible for all vet care after a shelter hold, you may want to surrender the found dog to the shelter with an application to adopt.
  5. If the dog is not claimed by the owner during the stray hold, you can keep the dog, rehome it, or surrender it to AGK; call 865.940.0688 or email
  6. If you have no plans to keep the dog, you can take it to the shelter. You may want to call first to confirm days and times the shelter is open.
  7. Call your local newspaper to run a “found” dog ad – most papers will run these ads for free – and post information on FB lost and found groups, neighborhood association groups, Craigslist Lost and Found.
  8. Put up fliers at main intersections within five miles of the found location and take fliers to area vet offices, pet stores, and grocery stores. Require anyone who claims the dog to provide proof that it belongs to them.