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Breeder Rescue Mission FAQ

Where are the breeder dogs coming from?

In 2022 a fellow Golden Retriever rescue contacted GRSF asking if we could help - they were getting overwhelmed with requests to accept dogs from breeders.   Of course we said "yes" and the Breeder Rescue Mission began.    GRSF works to rescue and rehome breeding dogs (moms and dads) and puppies before being sent to dog auction, pet stores, brokers or from imminent danger.    Breeders contact us when they have breeder moms and dads who are ready to retire, or when a puppy needs a home - this sometimes happens when puppies become too old to sell.   Once a puppy is about 10-12 weeks old, they become harder to sell and the breeders need to "move them". Our goal is to help these dogs and puppies in need by finding them forever homes, where they will live their best lives as loved and cherished pets, members of the family.   The majority of the dogs rescued are not coming from huge breeding facilities aka “puppy mills”, instead they are from breeders across the US, raised in barns or kennels, mostly located in the Amish Country.

More on...."Where do they come from?"

Q: Many ask, who are the Amish?   A: The Amish are a traditional Christian group who are known for simple living, plain dress, non-violence, and slowness to adopt many conveniences of modern technology, with a view neither to interrupt family time, nor replace face-to-face conversations whenever possible, and a view to maintain self-sufficiency. The Amish value rural life, manual labor, humility, and religious beliefs.   Q: And people wonder, are the Amish puppy mill breeders?   A: Some are, some are not.   Just like all breeders and dog owners, you will have some irresponsible and some responsible ones.   In nearly all cases, the breeders who contact GRSF are forthcoming with all information and allow volunteers or representative see where the dogs are kept and how they are kept.   Many Amish view dogs as a source of income, just like a non-Amish breeder.   However, most are raised in a barn or kennel like livestock vs. in a home, therefore forming association with all sorts of people, places and things often lack and adopters must play a vital role in socializing their new family member.

Can we come and meet the dog?

Because the dogs saved through the Breeder Rescue Mission are transported to Florida (normally a 2-day transport traveling though several states), meeting them in advance, is not possible.  They are pre-adopted and when they arrive, “adoption day” they are greeted by their family.   It is ideal for the dogs not to be moved from house to house….   Instead, their new family takes them home when they arrive on adoption day.   This is considered "foster to adopt", meaning if shortly after adoption, the family determines it is not a good fit for the family or the dog (it is OK, it happens and we understand), the family becomes a “foster” caring for until the dog is rehomed and the donation is refunded.  

What should I know about adopting a Breeder Rescue Dog?

It is important to understand, these dogs were born in a kennel, pen, or barn and lived their whole lives that way. They have never lived in a home, never been part of a family as a “pet”.   Everything will be new to them. Imagine living your entire life in your bedroom and the only things you saw daily were the same items in your room and out the window.  The same person, came and fed you twice a day and interacted with you.  But that’s it - you never met or saw anyone else outside of this very small "circle".  Now suddenly you are plopped down into the middle of Disney World.   Whew!!!  Different sounds, different things, different looking people, different smells, different "everything" - it can be very overwhelming and scary!  Dogs that grow up in kennels or barns have never seen a television, a vacuum cleaner, or heard the noise of a dishwasher, hairdryer.   Most have never walked on a leash. They have never gone on car rides; many have never played with toys or a ball.  Seeing people just sitting and having an animated conversation may even be new to them.  Seeing different looking people will be new....  At first, many will tend to be fearful of quick movements, loud noises, walking through doorways, walking on different flooring surfaces, different looking people, and so many things that we take for granted in our modern world.   But with time, love, patience and understanding, their golden personality shines through.  Their resilience is awe-inspiring.  Watching them adjust to a totally new life is astonishing.   It's kind of a miracle and definitely a testimony to the breed. 


Most breeders complete their own shots and vaccines and only use a vet for medical emergencies.  If timing allows, GRSF arranges a vet appointment to be brought up to date on vaccines and heartworm tested.  The breeder dogs are not spayed or neutered.   Some of the moms recently have had puppies, some may arrive during their heat cycle…Once they arrive and have settled/adjusted and the timing is right, their new families have them spayed/neutered.   It is important to have them assessed within the first week of adoption by your veterinarian of choice.  This not only establishes a veterinary relationship for the future, but it can also spot any underlying conditions such as parasites, worms etc. that is sometime unavoidable in breeder setting and dogs in transport.


When you adopt a breeder dog, you are creating a "new beginning" far every breeder dog that has come into our Rescue has been amazing.  Some adjust quickly and some need more time.   Understanding their background and knowing they will need time to adjust and feel safe is important.  

When should I make a veterinary appointment?  

Within the first few days of taking your puppy/dog home.  Most breeders complete their own shots, vaccines and deworming, keeping a schedule of dates issued and use a vet for medical emergencies.  If timing allows, GRSF arranges a vet appointment, however, it is important to have them assessed within the first week of adoption by your veterinarian of choice.  This not only establishes a veterinary relationship for the future, but it can also spot any underlying conditions such as parasites, worms etc. that is sometime unavoidable in breeder setting and dogs in transport.   Transport is stressful and puppies immune systems are young, therefore even in the best case scenario, it is not uncommon for puppies to have parasites and early treatment is key. 


I was informed I will select my puppy from a "Litter Pick", what does this mean?

Getting good photos, individual photos is often very challenging.   When we do not have individual photos of the puppies, the puppies are adopted via "litter pick".    Adopters reserve either a male or a female from the litter.   On adoption day, the family comes at the assigned time to pick their male or female puppy.   Times are assigned based on:   previous adopter, order of reservation, time preference.   Although it has yet to happen,  adopters who come to adoption day, if there is not a good “match”, GRSF will refund the deposit minus any fees. 

I am not available to pick up my dog/puppy on adoption day – can you hold the puppy for me?     

GRSF is a volunteer/foster based organization, we do not have a facility, therefore the family needs to be available on the day of adoption. 



When should I spay/neuter my puppy?   

As part of the adoption contract, forever families agree to spay/neuter their puppy at the appropriate age.  It is recommended that you wait until your Golden is at least 12-18 months old before spaying/neutering, studies show waiting to spay/neuter decreases the risks of certain health issues to include bone and joint abnormalities. 


"We can't change their past,
but we can give them a
golden future"

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