Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions are not answered here, please contact us and we will be happy to answer your inquiry. We are all volunteers, so please give us 48 hours to respond.


Do I need to live in Nashville to adopt a dog from AGN?

Adopt a Golden Nashville’s service area includes Middle Tennessee and the surrounding areas, including Western Kentucky and Northern Alabama.

If you live outside our service area, please consider reaching out to our sister organizations in Knoxville, Birmingham, and Atlanta.

Where do your dogs come from?

We take in dogs from a variety of sources: shelters, owner surrenders, breeder surrenders, puppy mills and cases of neglect/abuse. Our goal is to never turn away a Golden in need. We have also partnered with our sister organizations to welcome several dogs from Turkey and Asia who without US based rescues, would suffer a cruel fate.

Upon arriving with AGN, all dogs receive a thorough veterinary exam and all needed medical care, including diagnostics and surgeries. We ensure all dogs are up to date on their vaccinations, spayed/neutered, heartworm tested and microchipped. Dogs 1 year old and over will have blood work done. All dogs are given heartworm preventatives and flea/tick preventatives.

Until they find their forever homes, AGN dogs live with foster families who help them adjust to a loving environment and evaluate their personalities. Our fosters play an integral role in helping us ensure that each dog is paired with a family who is a good match for each dog’s unique needs and behaviors.

What are the requirements to adopt one of your Goldens?

Our adoption process is designed to ensure that we find each of our dogs the perfect forever home. It consists of an application, vet reference, phone interview, home visit and formal adoption contract, Full details about adopting can be found here.

How much does it cost to adopt a dog from AGN?

Our adoption fees are used to cover the veterinary costs associated with preparing a dog for its new home. Every rescued Golden receives a thorough exam, standard vaccinations, flea/tick preventative, spay/neuter, heartworm test, heartworm preventative and microchip. Many of our Goldens have more serious medical needs due to abuse and neglect. We always provide needed treatments no matter the cost, even when it’s exponentially more than the adoption fee. Our first priority is always to do everything we possibly can to give every rescue dog the best possible chance for a happy life.

  • Purebred Dogs up to 6 months old: $600
  • Purebred Dogs 6 months old up to 1 year old: $500
  • Golden Mix Dogs up to 1 year old: $400
  • Dogs 1 to 4 years: $375
  • Dogs 5 to 8 years: $325
  • Dogs 9 to 10 years: $250
  • Dogs 11 years and older: Donation of Adopters Choice

**Note that $50 is refundable with proof of obedience training for any dog of any age adopted from AGN. There is also a $40 adoption application fee.

Owning a Golden

How much does it cost to own a Golden?

There are many costs associated with owning a Golden, and the full financial picture should be considered before adoption. Costs include:

  • Routine veterinary care: annual visits, vaccinations, heartworm testing, fecal, diagnostics
  • Monthly heartworm preventive
  • Monthly flea/tick preventative
  • Urgent medical care
  • Grooming
  • High quality dog food
  • Crate and/or Dog beds
  • Toys, Balls, Chewies, etc.
  • Treats
  • Supplies – collar, ID tag, leash, brush, bowls, etc.

AGN strongly suggests a well-balanced, high quality dog food approved by your veterinarian. The investment in a high quality dog food will pay dividends, as high quality food greatly contributes to a healthy dog.

It is critical to keep vaccinations and preventative treatments current. Your dog’s life may depend on it. Heartworms are common in the south, so maintain your dog’s hearworm preventative all year.

Your Golden will need a safe and comfortable place to sleep (a crate or dedicated area with a dog bed), toys to keep its mind and body active and treats for praise.

Goldens require very regular grooming and daily bushing, along with fur trimmed from their paws to avoid slipping. A Golden should never be shaved as they are double coated. The double coat keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

What’s the difference between owning a female vs. a male?

The biggest difference between a male and female Golden is their size. A female Golden generally will not be much heavier than 70 lbs. A male Golden is typically between 75 – 85 lbs. These are standards for the breed and may differ per Golden.

Sometimes prospective adopters believe female Goldens are more affectionate than males, however our experience has shown this is a misconception. Male Goldens are just as warm and cuddly as their female counterparts – and in some cases, more so.

Another issue potential adopters have raised is “marking”. Both genders may mark territory although it is more common with males. While some males will show marking tendencies outside prior to being neutered, a housetrained dog generally will not mark in the house unless he is very ill or under severe stress. Most neutered dogs will also squat to do their business instead of the stereotypical “leg lift”.

Should I adopt an older dog or a younger dog?

The age of the dog you adopt is a very personal decision. We encourage all potential adopters to carefully evaluate their lifestyles and what they are looking for in a companion when making this decision.

Golden Retrievers are basically puppies until at least 2 years old. A young Golden is highly active, which requires a significant time commitment on the part of the owner. Young Goldens require at least one long daily walk at a good pace, significant active play time (meaning a family member is interacting with the dog) and regular positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement training is key for a young Golden to develop into a well-mannered adult. A busy family with two working parents and multiple after school activities may find it challenging to give a young Golden the attention and exercise it needs to be happy.  If a Golden is not happy and exercised, they can become destructive or develop other behavior issues due to boredom.  A tired Golden is a good Golden!

Adult Goldens are often a perfect balance for families looking for an active companion who are past the “puppy” stage of life. No matter the Golden’s age, AGN strongly encourages positive reinforcement obedience training to strengthen your bond and reinforce positive behaviors. Like all Goldens, adults crave your companionship and will assimilate quickly with a new family who invites them to share their life.

Senior Goldens are wonderful and wise. They make loving companions to the special adopters who choose to welcome them into their homes. While the twilight of life may be difficult for some owners to face, it is important to remember that you are giving a dog the chance to finally experience the happy family it’s deserved and waited for. A senior Golden will touch your heart in many ways.

Can an older dog still bond with me?

Absolutely! A dog has the ability (and desire) to fully bond with its owner at any stage in life. Golden Retrievers have been bred for companionship. The hundreds of people who have adopted older dogs regularly attest to what a wonderful experience it is for them. Seniors are special.

What is the average life span of a Golden?

In general, Golden Retrievers live around 10-12 years. There are always exceptions, with many Goldens reaching 15 years old…and sadly others going to the Rainbow Bridge at a younger age. Golden Retrievers have a higher rate of cancer than other breeds, which is another reason why regular veterinary visits are so essential. Fortunately, the American Kennel Club and many leading veterinary researchers are aggressively working to understand why Goldens are more vulnerable to this disease and are exploring ways to improve diagnosis and treatment options.

Some dogs available for adoption say that the dog “has been successfully treated for heartworms.” What exactly does this mean and does this fact pose a danger for the future health of the dog?

Heartworms are a parasitic roundworm that dogs can catch from the bite of an infected mosquito. It takes approximately  seven months once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Heartworms lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing, slowing destroying organs and blood vessels. 

Depending on the stage of infection, most dogs infected with heartworms can be successfully treated. First, the dog will undergo injection treatments to kill the adult heartworms in the dog’s body. The microfilaria (the heartworm offspring) that remain in the dog’s bloodstream will be killed by the monthly administration of a heartworm preventative pill over the course of the next six to nine months.

 Following treatment, a dog can live a long and happy life, with no further negative ramifications.

While treatment of canine heartworm disease is usually successful, prevention of the disease is much safer and more economical. That’s why it is so important to keep up with the monthly heartworm preventative year-round.

The dog I adopted is acting differently now that I’ve brought him home…what happened

Adopting a rescued Golden is the easy part. Now that your dog is home, the real work (and fun) begins as you and your family start discovering, bonding, training and exercising your new companion.

An adjustment period is common and to be expected. Your new dog has been through a lot in the last few weeks. Just when he thought his foster home was his forever home, he was adopted to his new family. Remember that your dog is doing everything he can to learn about who you are, your home and what is expected of him. It is like you being in a foreign country alone without knowing where you are or the language being spoken. Establishing a routine is essential to help him feel safe and secure. Exercise is key. Exercise helps balance the brain and tire the body; therefore, reducing stress and anxiety in the dog. We also strongly recommend signing up for positive reinforcement obedience training classes. This will not only help correct any behavioral issues you may be facing, but will also help establish a strong bond with your new furry family member. Most important is patience and understanding. It will just take time for your new companion to adjust and settle in. Please do not have unrealistic expectations. You may contact us at any time to answer your questions and provide support.

The first few weeks and months are a transitional period for everyone in your household. If you commit to showing your new Golden patience, kindness, positive reinforcement, exercise and a consistent routine, he will pay you back with endless love and companionship that will last a lifetime.

What if I have questions?

We maintain a lifelong interest in every Golden that we place. We are here to take back our adopted dogs should you no longer be able to care for him/her at any point in his/her life. If you have any questions or concerns, bring them to our attention by contacting us. Know that you are now a part of the Adopt a Golden Nashville family and we are here to support you! Please also join our “Adopters of AGN Goldens” facebook page to connect with AGN and other AGN adopters.

What happens if the adoption doesn’t work out?

Because our screening process is in-depth and careful to match the right dog with the right family, this circumstance is rare. In the case it does happen, AGN will immediately take the adopted dog back into our rescue and work to find a better match for you and your family.

If for any reason you cannot keep the adopted Golden for any reason at any time, he or she MUST be returned to AGN as is stipulated in the Adoption Contract.