ATLANTA, May 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Adopt a Golden Atlanta brought 36 abandoned, purebred Golden Retrievers from Istanbul, Turkey, to Atlanta Saturday night, May 9, in the largest rescue of Golden Retrievers internationally. Ranging in age from 6 months to 10 years, the "Freedom Golden Retrievers" are receiving medical care and grooming, as well as behavior evaluations and training as needed. Most of the dogs will be ready for adoption at the end of the month through Adopt a Golden Atlanta (www.adoptagoldenatlanta.com).
The National Rescue Committee of the Golden Retriever Club of America supports Adopt a Golden Atlanta's effort as there are no Golden Retrievers being put at risk in the U.S. because of this rescue. Virtually all 95 of the Club's rescues across the country have waiting lists to adopt.
"Our guiding motto is that we never say no to a Golden Retriever in need. These dogs are in need because the novelty of having a Golden Retriever in Istanbul, Turkey, as a status symbol wore off, they were abandoned and are now living in crowded shelters, in the forests or in the streets," explained Lauren Genkinger, founder and president of Adopt a Golden Atlanta, one of the largest rescue organizations for Golden Retrievers in the U.S.
Shelter volunteers in the municipality of Istanbul, Turkey, and its participating shelters worked with Adopt a Golden Atlanta to rescue these dogs because they wanted a better life for them. Adopt a Golden Atlanta secured extra large airline crates, health certificates and passports for each dog and took all measures to ensure the safety of the dogs in their flight, engaging several partners to get the "Freedom Golden Retrievers" safely to America. Adopt a Golden Atlanta retained InXpress USA; Global Animal Transport, a company that specializes in shipping equines, animals for zoos and aquariums, and other unique animal species; and Cargolux Airlines, a cargo transporter, using a 747-800 All-Cargo freighter aircraft, to fly the dogs to Atlanta.
Once in Atlanta, Adopt a Golden Atlanta is working with numerous other partners including Pet Lodge Pet Resort, VCA Animal Hospitals, Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead, Transport Solutions of America and The Pet Set Mobile Grooming.
"The plight of the Golden Retriever in Turkey began several years ago," Genkinger explained, "because having a golden retriever puppy was considered a status symbol there. Soon many people had them so the novelty wore off. Once that happened, people didn't want them any longer so they called the municipality to pick up their dog. Others simply put the dog out in the street where they live until there is room at one of the shelters in the area. Space seldom opens up unless dogs die or are taken to other countries. Adoption isn't popular in Turkey, so the dogs live their lives in the streets and forests, or if they are lucky, in a shelter. There are 32 animal shelters in Istanbul and it is estimated that over 50,000 dogs (all breeds) are living on the streets," she said.
Adopt a Golden Atlanta is calling these dogs the "Freedom Goldens" and has given each dog a patriotic name, such as Freedom, Liberty, Patriot, George, Amber, Glory, Blue, Betsy Ross, Uncle Sam and Sparkler. During their first two weeks in the U.S., the dogs are receiving wellness exams, bloodwork and fecal tests, as well as vaccines and Adopt a Golden Atlanta will see that they receive any additional medical care they need. Each dog is also being evaluated by trainers to determine what they know and don't know, such as if they can walk on a leash, so any training needs can be started. An AGA volunteer from Istanbul will speak Turkish to the dogs for the first few days until they learn English.
"I want these Golden Retrievers to be happy and have a better life," explained Yasemin Baban, the lead shelter volunteer in Istanbul who was instrumental in helping Adopt a Golden Atlanta rescue the dogs. "I want them to find love and affection, a home to live in, and a cushion to sleep on," she added.
"We want these dogs to truly live the Golden life that other Golden Retrievers in America experience," Genkinger added. To donate to the effort that brought the Freedom Golden Retrievers to America, go to www.adoptagoldenatlanta.com. Look for the Turkey Dogs icon on the homepage and click the "Donate" button. Interested adopters should follow Adopt a Golden Atlanta's regular adoption process. Go to the www.adoptagoldenatlanta.com and click on "Adopt a Golden" to learn about the adoption process and complete an adoption application.
"We support Adopt a Golden Atlanta for helping these Golden Retrievers who will now have a second chance in life," said Carol Allen, National Rescue Committee chair of the Golden Retriever Club of America. "Among the 95 rescue programs for Golden Retrievers in our network, it is well understood that each meets the local need before accepting a dog from another area – including dogs from abroad. I can assure you that no Golden Retriever is at risk due to rescuing Goldens internationally," she stated.
About Adopt a Golden Atlanta
Adopt a Golden Atlanta (AGA) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to finding warm, loving permanent homes for homeless Golden Retrievers regardless of medical needs or age. Founded in 2003, AGA has rescued nearly 3,400 dogs and is Georgia's largest and most experienced rescue organization dedicated solely to Golden Retrievers. AGA relies solely on donations for its income and 100% of donations goes toward rescue of Golden Retrievers. A 501(c)3 organization, AGA is also licensed by the State Agriculture Department as an animal rescue group. Adopt a Golden Atlanta is one of the largest rescue organizations dedicated to golden retrievers in the country. Current orphans and more information are available at www.adoptagoldenatlanta.com
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SOURCE Adopt a Golden Atlanta