Golden Gateway FAQs
How does a Golden Retriever get to DVGRR?
Before a Golden Retriever enters our program, our Intake Team conducts a preliminary phone interview with the relinquishing owner. The relinquishing owner completes paperwork that includes background information and medical records regarding the Golden. That information becomes the foundation for our care, any necessary rehabilitation, and the start of a quest to find a new, permanent home.
Some Golden Retrievers arrive from shelters. These dogs are not necessarily abused or neglected cases, but simply owner turn-ins or unclaimed strays. Goldens entering DVGRR from a shelter are not adopted to families with children under 10.
Upon arrival at Golden Gateway, each Golden is met by a member of the staff who makes an initial assessment of their personality. Unless we see signs of behaviors that would prevent us from responsibly placing the Golden in a new home, the dog is admitted into our program. His journey to a new beginning and a permanent home begins.
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What health care do the dogs receive?
Once a dog arrives, the Kennel Manager and staff introduce him to the daily routine at Golden Gateway. We go slowly at first, letting the dog get used to all the new people and experiences. Our caring staff has a great deal of experience with dogs and Golden Retrievers, and all receive continual training to expand their skills.
Our Goldens are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, tested for heartworm and Lyme disease, started on monthly heartworm preventive tablets, treated for any intestinal parasites, given topical flea and tick preventive, and receive any veterinary care needed to provide the Golden with quality of life. They also receive a full grooming during their stay.
We perform blood work on older dogs and any dogs showing signs of medical problems (such as thyroid conditions). Veterinary care may also include orthopedic surgery, dentistry, lump removal and biopsy as needed. Although there is always the possibility of a medical problem we did not see, our adopters will receive as much medical information as is known about their new family member when the dog goes home.
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How is each dog evaluated while at Gateway?
Our Goldens interact multiple times a day with staff and volunteers for playtime, potty time (and lots of cuddle time!), providing us with a good picture of their personality and behavior. The variations are amazing! We learn which dogs live for their tennis balls and love to play fetch, which dogs prefer a leisurely stroll around the property, which dogs like rolling in mud puddles (well, they ARE water dogs!), which dogs settle down easily and which dogs need tons of exercise to burn off their excess energy.
A formal temperament evaluation is conducted by our Kennel Manager as well, usually about a week after the dog’s arrival at Gateway. The results of that evaluation are written up and become part of the dog’s record, which goes home with him or her upon adoption.
While the dog is with us, he’ll also have the opportunity to meet Einstein and Socks, our resident cats. We like to see how they interact together, which allows us to further define the most appropriate adoptive home.
One of the most rewarding aspects of working or volunteering at Golden Gateway is seeing a group of two or more Goldens running, romping, and wrestling in Keaton and Kelly’s Korral or Shana’s Shelter, our two largest exercise areas. Our staff carefully matches “playgroups,” which not only helps us to gauge each dog’s level of socialization with other dogs, it also provides wonderful stimulation and FUN for the dogs each day. Dogs that are not comfortable interacting with other dogs are never forced to do so. They get their exercise playing fetch or (in some cases) chasing the squirrels and rabbits that inhabit our grounds (and seem not to have figured out that they would be less apt to become prey elsewhere!).
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What do the Goldens do during a typical day at Golden Gateway?
Recognizing that a new environment can be stressful, we place emphasis on a consistent routine that is similar to a regular home, so that our Goldens can settle in quickly.
- Goldens are taken out to potty, then served breakfast and fresh water
- After breakfast, they have the option to be inside or outside their kennel run while they await their turn at training and play
- Medical appointments are usually scheduled in the morning, so those Goldens who need to see the vet will be taken there by a staff member using the DVGRR van
- Staff and volunteers exercise and play with the dogs, plus provide some basic training reinforcement, for the duration of the shift
- All dogs get a few cubes or slices of cheese for a snack, then it’s “lights out” for afternoon nap time!
- Evening shift begins and the same feed, potty and play routines are followed
- Just before the final "lights out", each Golden receives a Kong® toy with a bit of peanut butter stuffed into the bottom. This is the signal to them that it's time for sleep. They anxiously await their bedtime treat and even the newest arrivals learn to anticipate this delicacy within a few days.
- The last Kong® has been delivered, lights are out, you can hear a pin drop! The Goldens are tired and resting for tomorrow
- Should any problems arise during the night (such as a bad thunderstorm), our Resident Caretakers live on the property and are available 24/7
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How long does a Golden Retriever stay at Golden Gateway?
This depends on the needs and time required for a full evaluation. Each Golden is different, but typically a stay is about three weeks. However, we have often had Goldens stay with us for several months while we retrain or provide post-operative rehabilitation.
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If the Golden lives in a kennel run, how do we know how the Golden will be in our home?
To you, it's a kennel; To him, it's his den and his home.
The Goldens have raised beds and comfortable fleece mats that are changed daily. They are given fresh cold water several times a day, plenty of exercise and an abundant amount of love from our staff and volunteers.
Most Goldens entering DVGRR have lived in a family setting before being surrendered. We ask the relinquishing owners to complete an Intake Profile that asks dozens of questions regarding the dog's prior behavior, activity level, and personality.
We are also able to provide an opportunity for "home time" while at Gateway. During this home simulation, the dogs are allowed to spend time in the kitchen, training room, office/ reception area or hallway, plus interact with staff and volunteers. This is how we test if the Golden is a "countersurfer" or whether he/she jumps on furniture.
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Do you offer boarding at Golden Gateway?
Yes, in an effort to help support our work, we offer limited boarding privileges by reservation and donation to DVGRR Members and their canine siblings. Canine siblings of DVGRR adopted dogs are welcome to board at the same time. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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How does the Golden Gateway staff care for sick, abused, or frightened Goldens?
With great care and love. All Goldens arriving from a shelter stay in our "Special Care Unit,” which is completely separate from the General Population environment. Often Goldens will carry "kennel cough" from the shelter. This is not the shelter's fault, but a common result of overcrowding.
The typical 21-day stay in this area allows us to monitor for hidden medical problems and potentially communicable diseases. The Special Care Unit has a separate air exchange system. The dogs' leashes, collars, food bowls and bedding are maintained separately from our other Gateway Guests. Our staff provides each Golden with the same privileges as the other Goldens at Golden Gateway, however, the two groups do not interact together.
Our puppy mill breeder dogs also start their stay in our Special Care Unit, due to its smaller size and less busy atmosphere. We allow them to progress at their own speed, as each dog is unique in his or her ability to acclimate to such a drastic change in their life. When they are ready, the breeder dogs will be moved to our special Project Home Life room, where their socialization and readiness for adoption is continued.
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