After losing our first Golden to cancer, we also decided to adopt a rescue, preferably a puppy, which can be challenging since many rescue services rarely have puppies for adoption due to the demand for Golden Retrievers.
What we learned in the process is that many reputable services put the potential adoption family through rigorous steps for all the right reasons. Most people won't go through all the steps unless they're serious in providing a safe, loving, and forever home. This may include multiple long drives to view the facilities and meeting all the dogs in the rescue services care. We went through Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies (GRRR). They're a wonderful group of volunteers who take great care in finding their dogs/puppies the right homes. We had to make three one way 4.5 hour drives to view their facilities, meet their staff, and to meet all the dogs in their care. Ultimately, we made two more trips to meet all the pups they had at the time, and on the last trip to pick up our newly adopted puppy, Brody.
I found the first trip there most interesting in that rather than spending much time talking with us; we spent much of our time meeting all their dogs. Honestly, had it been possible, we would have adopted all of them.
We immediately fell in love with each dog we met. It wasn't until the trip back home that I realized why they did this. Obviously, we couldn't adopt all of their dogs, and they had plenty at the time. I determined that the reason for having us meet all of their dogs was to see how their dogs reacted to us and how we reacted to their dogs. I'm not certain of this, but it does make sense if you think about it. People can and will say almost anything, but how people interact with dogs and how dogs react to us speaks volumes. Don't get me wrong, we also went through the interview process where we had to answer plenty of questions, i.e., have we ever had a pet, ever had a Golden, how many other pets do you have, work schedules, how long will the pup be home alone, do you plan to crate train, do you have a fence, do you live in a apartment or stand-alone house, etc. GRRR has a proven process, and they don't take any shortcuts. Only someone with a serious desire to adopt will be selected for one of their dogs/pups.
GRRR only provides their dogs/pups for adoption to Colorado residents, but I'm confident you can find a similar service in your area. One thing to be aware of is that rescue dogs rarely if ever have any health certifications, which can be an expensive issue. My wife and I were well aware of the risks involved, but hey, all dogs need a loving home. We were willing to accept these risks.
In the end, we were selected to get one of a litter of nine of pups that were born by a recent pregnant female GRRR took in. We actually got first pick from the four male pups, so we were pretty fortunate, and our timing couldn't have been better. So far, Brody is healthy and doing well. He is 5.5. months old now and weighs 41.6 lbs. Kem0128 asked if not having a fence can be a problem with a rescue or adoption service...
As mentioned, GRRR requires a fenced yard, which we do not have. In the beginning, I thought this may have been a deal breaker, especially when I didn't hear back from them after a filling out their adoption application and after a few weeks passed. So I sent GRRR an email with photos showing River, our last Golden, enjoying being outside in the Colorado air on our large ground level enclosed deck. I also stressed in the email that we have never allowed any of our past pets to be outside unaccompanied. Even when using the deck, we never allowed River to be on the deck if we weren't home with him. You'll also probably find that electric fences will not be accepted as well. I agree with this in that electric fences won't keep predators or other dogs out. Likewise, I know of many past examples where electric fences won't keep a Golden Retriever in either.
I hope this was helpful...