Our Adoption Process

A Note About the Adoption Process…and Patience.

In the past decade, Golden Retriever breed-specific rescues and educational outreach have helped to dramatically reduce the number of homeless Goldens. That’s good news…unless you want to find the perfect Golden today!

Homeward Bound receives dogs weekly. Some are Golden Retrievers, some Golden mixes, and some just have golden hearts. The more specific your requirements, the more patience will be required to find the right dog for you. If you are seeking a purebred, perfect Golden, you should expect a lengthy wait. Young, well-trained or puppy Goldens are even more rare. However, if you’re interested in great dogs who might need a little TLC, we may be able to help you right away. We value all of our previous adopters, donors, and interested families. However, we can only prioritize based on the best fit for the dog.

If you absolutely can’t wait for that Golden to be in your life, we want to direct you to our information on selecting a responsible breeder. By educating yourself and selecting a responsible breeder, you are still contributing to our mission. Still with us? Great! Because the rewards of adopting an adult dog, a senior dog, or a special needs dog are beyond measure. Let us help you find your perfect match by reading through our process and completing your adoption application. And remember…patience has its rewards!

  • First time adopters must first complete our application process and be approved to adopt.
  • Previous adopters can call our office to let us know that you are looking again. If it has been 5 years or more since adopting please complete an updated application. Please advise us of any changes to your home or its inhabitants. Do leave a message. A human will respond.

The application provides us with important information that helps us to help you find your new companion!
The application process consists of these steps:

Step 1: Complete the Application Form. This application provides us with invaluable information about the dog you’re looking to bring into your life.

Step 2: A Home Visit (conducted virtually or in photos during this time). This visit allows us to gather additional information to make your best match, and to answer any questions you have about Homeward Bound and the adoption process. The volunteer who talks with you will be your initial Homeward Bound contact and will walk you through the process of scheduling appointments to meet the dogs. For previous adopters, this is only required if your home or family has changed.

Step 3: Meeting Your Adoption Candidate. Once you are approved, stay in touch with us. We receive and process a dozen or more applications each week; there are many more of you than us! By staying in touch you signal that you are actively engaged in your search. Call our office at 916-655-1410 and choose option 1. The best days to call are Thursday after 2:00 and Friday between noon and 3pm as we can share the newly available dogs. Relay your approved status and your interest in meeting any dogs on our website or newly available dogs. (Note: most dogs never make the website before they are adopted.) If we have a potential match, an appointment will be scheduled. We have skilled adoption counselors available to assist with meeting your potential companion.

Adoption days are Friday and Saturday, 11A-3P, and Sundays from 12N-3P by appointment. You, and members of your family (canine and/or human), will spend time with the dog and have an opportunity to fully interact and review the dog’s complete file while we answer any questions you have. Please plan on spending some time with us, and bring a leash – as you may be going home with your new friend!

Step 4: It’s a Match? Sign the adoption contract, and pay the adoption fee. You will have our contact info and we will follow up with you to answer any questions you have during this “homecoming” period.

Step 5: Not a Match?  We will assist you in selecting a different dog. Successful matches have to be right for everyone.

Even after the adoption is final, Homeward Bound will continue to be a resource whenever you need us. We hope that you will keep in touch – as you are now a member of one big happy Golden family!

Thank you for considering rescue – the compassionate alternative.

Note: Homeward Bound generally adopts dogs to applicants within Northern California and Northern Nevada. Some exceptions may be made in special situations.

Golden Touch Program: A Senior-to-Senior Connection A program to match our “Golden Oldies” with retired persons and couples who are at least 60 years of age, not working, and on a limited income. Click here to learn more about our Golden Touch Program.