Favorite Dog Rescues

donna and rescue dogs

Donna with two rescued brothers fostered at the kennel.

From Donna McConn, owner of Golden Retreat for K9s:

I was really going not going to have any of my own doggies after building the dog hotel. I thought that I could just love everyone else’s! Well, that did not happen. I have three Great Pyrenees and one Newfoundland. You can read about them on “Our Dogs”.

Golden Retrievers

For over 20 years I have volunteered with an organization named GRREAT – Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training. My love of Golden’s is still strong and love having them around. The average life span of a Golden Retriever is 12-14 years. Goldens are large active dogs, weighing 60 to 90 pounds, and often display puppy-like behavior until they are 3 or more years old. They are active family dogs who need attention, exercise, and training throughout most of their lives, but they are intelligent loving dogs who respond well to direction. Goldens shed and require regular grooming. An advantage in choosing to adopt a rescued dog is that you can be matched to a dog that fits your family’s lifestyle, and some Goldens require much less attention than others. If you are interested in adopting one of these family dogs please visit www.grreat.org.

golden retriever rescue

Great Pyrenees

In 2009 I began my volunteering with Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue. Unfortunately, not all relationships between Great Pyrenees Mountain Dogs and their human companions work out in a way that we would like. Sometimes circumstances change outside of anyone’s control. Other times the human realizes that the Great Pyrenees is bigger and hairier and noisier than was anticipated. For any number of reasons, this beautiful dog can find itself in need of a new, loving home. The luxuriant coat of the Great Pyr is predominantly white, with grey, black, badger and occasionally, red markings. An unusual, almost unique characteristic is the set of double dewclaws on the hind feet, which are thought to act as ‘snowshoes’ in the deep snow of the mountains. Adult males can weigh up to 135lbs; females up to 120lbs. For such a large dog, the Great Pyrenees has a very low metabolic rate, resulting in far less food consumption than for breeds of comparable size.

As a protector of the family, no breed could be more devoted, sensible and wise. It has been said, truthfully, that the Pyrenees’s judgement of character can be relied upon absolutely. Tidy and fastidious by nature, the Pyrenees is easy to keep in condition, and, despite his or her size, is ideally suited to life as a family pet. To attain the best relationship between children and your dog, and to foster the dog’s good nature and sound temperament, parents must educate their children as well as the new pup.

Today, Great Pyrenees Mountain Dogs are protective companions, show obedience dogs, livestock guardians and goodwill ambassadors doing therapy work in hospitals and seniors homes. If you wish to add a Pyrenees to your family, we strongly encourage you not to rush into it. Do your homework. For information about adopting a Great Pyrenees, please visit Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue: https://agprescue.org

Great Pyrenees rescue dogs logo


In October of 2011, I started fostering Newfoundlands from the Colonial Newfoundland Rescue. This giant breed can be larger than the Pyreneess and has a gentle disposition.

Newfoundlands are used to help people patrol the beaches in Britain, France, and Italy. During their annual water training demonstration at the Molveno Dog Show, the Italian School of Dog Training showcases circumstances in which Newfs and their handlers jump out of helicopters hovering 15 feet above the water’s surface. The French Coast Guard has determined that a well-conditioned Newf can tow an inflatable life raft with 20 people aboard two miles to shore with out being unduly stressed.

The water rescue instincts of the Newfoundland are particularly evident when children or other family members are in the water. The Newfoundland takes his life guarding responsibilities very seriously, quite often circling around and herding his “family” to shore. They have an uncanny ability to sense when someone in the water needs help, whether a family member or strangers, a Newfoundland will immediately swim out to assist. Some dogs circle around the “victim” until they feel the person grab onto them, then head to shore; others will take the person’s arm in their mouth and proceed to tow them to safety that way.

Newfoundlands make wonderful pets, but they are not for everyone. Nicknamed “The Gentle Giants,” they are wonderful with children and other pets, and are great companions (Nana, in the story Peter Pan, was a Newfoundland). No breed is perfect for everyone, however; most Newfoundlands drool heavily, and their thick coats make shedding and grooming quite an event. For information about adopting a Newfoundland please visit: www.colonialnewfrescue.org.



I have also had three Greyhound dogs and consider them one of the most gentle dogs. There are still many out there that get put up for adoption after their racing career is over. I consider them “couch potatos”! They make wonderful family dogs but don’t expect them to run with you after they have had a career at the track. They would prefer being lazy! For information about adopting a Greyhound, visit http://www.greyhoundpets.org.
greyhound rescue dog

Animal Shelter

Since there are still lots of other breeds out there that need homes I would always encourage you to check out your local animal shelter or rescue group. I have my favorite here in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Rawl is one of the few no kill shelters. Visit www.rawldogs.org to find out more information.

find a rescue dog

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