By KENDALL GARRISON
Adopt a Golden Atlanta has been responsible for the rescue of more than 3,200 dogs and the efforts by their volunteers make it the largest rescue on the East Coast dedicated to saving golden retrievers.
The organization averages around 350 active volunteers per year where anybody over the age of 18 is eligible to become a volunteer for Adopt a Golden Atlanta.
Director of Volunteers, Carol Swanson, says that while it is not hard to obtain volunteers, it is hard to match them with jobs.
“Most people have no idea what they are signing up for,” she said. “They want to walk and pet the dogs but the rescue is much more work than that. We are always looking for skilled people.”
A few activities that volunteers do are fostering and being a part of a taxi team. A foster provides a home for a rescued dog until a permanent home can be found while a taxi team member is responsible for picking up dogs from shelters and driving them to their foster homes.
Juliann Kaiser, director of public relations and events for the organization, first started volunteering when she adopted her first Golden Retriever 10 years ago.
“There are many people volunteering with disease-related nonprofits, but there aren’t as many helping the dogs,” Kaiser said. “Golden retrievers are such a magnificent, loving breed. It`s so rewarding to know you are helping them find a loving family.”
Adopt a Golden Atlanta conducts a number of events to raise money for their dogs, or “orphans” as the group likes to call them.
The signature event, The Golden Gala, is its largest fundraising event. Attendees bid on silent auctions and will see a program emceed by WSB-TV anchor John Bachman that features a story about rescued goldens and how the organization changed their lives.
“It`s the most touching moment of the evening to see them walk across the stage just as happy as they can be in their new life,” said Kaiser.
The Golden Gala brings in about 20 percent of the yearly income for Adopt a Golden. All the money earned goes to the dogs, majority of which goes to pay for vet bills.
Two other major events that play into fundraising are the Goldenrama and Golden Open.
The Goldenrama is another fund-raising party that takes place on an afternoon in October and celebrates all of the goldens that have been rescued and adopted. It also features silent auctions, games, and food trucks.
The Golden Open is a tennis and golf tournament that occurs at the Marietta Country Club annually to raise money for the dogs.
The guiding motto for Adopt a Golden Atlanta is to never say no to a golden retriever in need. It is more than willing to help a golden regardless of age or medical condition. If a dog is diagnosed with a terminal illness and is unadoptable, it is put in a permanent foster home and the organization pays the medical expenses for the rest of the golden’s life.
The organization also rescues goldens from other shelters that cannot provide adequate care for them. The group’s prime objective is the safety and love for the dog.
Adopt a Golden Atlanta’s goals for the next year are to make the current events bigger and raise more money through sponsorships and other revenue-producing methods.