1. Is heartworm contagious? How long does the treatment take?

Heartworm is spread when a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito. It is not spread from dog to dog. We highly recommend keeping your dogs on a monthly preventive medication year round. The treatment protocol recommended is pretreatment with a heartworm preventative and doxycycline for 30 days, then another treatment of heartworm prevantative with 30 days waiting period, then 3 doses of melarsomine (which contains arsenic) on days 60, 90 and 91. Then on day 120 test for baby worms and day 365 test again. Strict rest is essential throughout this process to avoid complications.

2. Where can I see available dogs posted? Do you have any available dogs?

We always have a pre-approved list of families waiting to adopt so we rarely post available dogs on our website or Facebook page. Generally, when dogs become available, they are adopted by one of those families within 10 days to 2 weeks. Many of the dogs that are shown on the website as "In Our Care" will eventually become available. They are either still in foster care because they have just entered rescue (a minimum of three weeks), or they are under medical care for a treatable illness (heartworm positive, etc.).

3. Do you have any puppies? Will you be getting any in?

We seldom get puppies as we do not work with any breeders. We do get a number of young dogs, some as young as 6-7 months, and many of the dogs who come to us from Turkey are between 1-3 years old.

4. How can I adopt one of your dogs?

We have an article on the website that explains the process: https://www.adoptagolden.com/index.php/adopt/51-adoption-process You can also email our adoption coordinator with questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

5. Do you need foster homes? What is required to be a foster home?

We always need new foster homes. We have an article on the website that explains joys of fostering: https://www.adoptagolden.com/index.php/12-foster/6-the-joy-of-fostering-a-golden-retriever?highlight=WyJmb3N0ZXJpbmciXQ== The application to be a foster home is on the website under the Volunteer tab. After you complete the application, one of our volunteers will do a home visit. Once approved, you will be issued our foster guidelines. When a dog enters our rescue, our foster coordinator will contact approved fosters to find him/her the right home. You are free to say yes or no and can foster on your own schedule. Fostering can last anywhere from a minimum of three weeks for a healthy dog to a longer period if you accept one that requires medical treatment.

6. Besides taking care of the dog, are there other requirements of a foster?

SEVA GRREAT will provide medical care for any dog under foster care, but the foster provides food, toys, activity, exercise, etc. A big part of the foster process is to observe and assess the dog so that you can provide information on what training is needed, what behaviors they exhibit, how they get along with others (dogs, kids, cats, etc.), and whether you see any medical condition developing (ear infection, hot spot, etc.). When it is time for your foster dog to be posted, you will write the bio that is shared with the waiting families. You will review the home evaluation reports for the interested families and talk to their home evalators/advocates about their family and what your foster dog needs. You will choose a minimum of two families that you think will be a good fit to meet your foster dog. You should observe closely the chemistry between your foster dog and the visiting families, and based on that observation, make a recommendation to the Adoption and Foster Coordinators of which family should be approved to adopt the dog.

7. Why don't you adopt outside of your territory? I can give you great references.

Because we require home visits to approve a family and meet and greets with the dog before they are adopted, we can only go where we have volunteers. Our territory can range up to 150 miles from the Charlottesville/Richmond area down through Williamsburg, Yorktown, Matthews and Gloucester, through the Hampton Roads area, to the North Carolina line. Even in some of the less populated areas of southeastern Virginia, we do not have volunteers and need to decline applications. We recommend if you are in an outlying area that you email our adoption coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see if we have a home evaluator available before you pay the application fee. The application fee is nonrefundable.

8. What opportunities are available to volunteer?

Like most volunteer organizations, we always need people to help out. You can do as little or as much as you like. Many volunteers start by working on an event, where we have a booth selling merchandise and answering questions about the rescue. A bonus -- we almost always have goldens available at our events -- unless it is in a venue that does not permit dogs. You can meet a family who is giving up a dog and have them sign the surrender paperwork. You can volunteer to transport a dog. This ranges from picking up a dog that has been surrendered or is in a shelter and taking them to the vet for an intake exam in the city where the foster family is to going along on a trip to Dulles or JFK airports and bringing back some of the international dogs. There is always a need for foster homes. Foster care can range from a few weeks to a longer period if the dog requires medical care. Sometimes foster care is very short term to cover the primary foster's vacation or business travel. There is always a need for home evaluators (HEs) to visit prospective foster or adoptive homes. Home evaluators start by going along with an experienced HE to learn how a visit is done and can have support or an experienced HE shadow you until they are comfortable going out on your own. Once you approve a family, your role changes from evaluator to advocate. You will speak with the foster family on behalf of your family when they are interested in adopting a dog. If you are a good writer, you can write an article and submit it for consideration to be published in GRREAT Times. We are always looking for interesting topics and information for the magazine. If you have ideas for fundraising, we welcome you to work with our fundraising committee (an ongoing process). We are always looking for new ideas to raise money and would welcome someone to organize an event. There are volunteers who write thank-you cards and send sympathy cards, pick up and distribute mail, order merchandise, etc. One of our biggest needs is for individuals willing to join the Board of Directors. Ideally, all of the positions on the board would have not only the voting board member but an assistant who can fill in when needed and learn the position so they are prepared to step up to the voting position in the future. The Board consists of four elected officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary) and Directors/Coordinators appointed by the Board. The Coordinators are in charge of the functional areas (Intake, Foster, Adoption, Membership, Volunteers). There are also Board Members at Large with functional assignments (Medical, Fundraising). There are also extended board members who work on the magazine, merchandise, events, and the web page. Having back-ups in all of these areas would be advantageous to the rescue and mean less work for all involved.

9. How long will it take me to adopt a dog?

This is one of the hardest questions to answer because it is all about the dogs and what they need. Some people find a dog in a few weeks; others may wait months. We do our best to match the dog to the families that are interested and many factors contribute to that decision. We consider things like whether a dog would do best with a family or best with an individual, whether a dog gets along with other dogs or needs another dog to show them the ropes or needs to be an only dog, whether a dog is too rambunctious for a young child or loves kids of all ages, whether a dog needs to have a fenced-in yard because they are expected to be a runner. The final consideration is chemistry. When you watch a dog meet a prospective adopter, you can see which family has the strongest connection with the dog. However long it takes, it is a process that requires patience. If you want a dog by this weekend, we are not the right organization for you. We are not like a shelter where you can go to an adoption event or visit during their open hours and leave with a dog.

10. Where are your dogs located?

We do not have a physical shelter. All of our dogs are in foster homes somewhere within our territory. In order to meet them, you will have to travel to the foster home, which could be as far away as 150 miles. Of course, this is your choice. The Available Dog List always shows the location of the foster family. If the family is too far away for you to make the trip, you would just not submit your name for that particular dog.

11. Are the dogs, especially the Turkey dogs, already spoken for when they come into rescue? When will they be available for adoption?

The dogs are not spoken for when they enter rescue. We can't always tell you how long it will be before they are available for adoption. They are always in foster care for a minimum of three weeks. If a medical condition is found or develops, they will not be available until they are cleared. A foster has the first right to adopt a dog. We often don't know that a family is going to be a "foster failure" and adopt their foster dog until we ask if they are ready to post the dog as available. That is why sometimes you will see a dog come in to the rescue but never post as available. The foster has decided to keep him/her.