Success Stories

GGLRR places ~250 Labs each year and we are always delighted to hear and share success stories of adoptions. Subscribe to our newsletter (sign up at the bottom of every web page) to continue to hear more "happy endings" stories. Adopters, submit your "happy endings" stories to; be sure to include a great photo of your Lab.


Here's a recent update from Hank's family: "I thought you would be pleased to know we have seen incredible progress with Hank. His elbow infections have completely healed and his fur is even growing back! He does still get ear infections but the vet says it’s much better than before and may never fully go away. He also is very mobile jumping around and onto the bed like a little puppy. He enjoys long walks and is generally in great health. He's a very happy boy, is funny, and we love him so much! "


Luka came to us from a shelter in Hollister. The volunteer transporter had him in his truck for close to two hours, with Luka barking incessantly all the way. He was one wild child, disturbing the peace in his foster's neighborhood, chewing up his foster dad's prescription eyeglasses.

Here's a recent update from Luka's family: "Luka is doing great. We love him so much and he has come so far. He is actually sitting on the couch with me watching football right now. He is loving lake life and going back and forth between here and the Bay Area. He is super off leash at the lake and stays on our property. He really loves to swim. He gets tons of running and ball time and is super good around all the grandkids and grand dogs too! We did his DNA because I was really getting a German Shorthair vibe and he’s 51%shorthair and 49%lab. His German Shorthair personality is a lot more dominant and he is a big goofball that makes us laugh all the time. He’s been super good, never chewed anything up, and is trustworthy while uncrated in the house on his own when we’re away! We love him ❤️"


Coco is still chasing squirrels and she and Ernie are best buds. We ended up getting her a pinscher collar and it helps tremendously on walks. She and Ernie do this little routine where she will drop a bone on the hardwood floor. Ernie hears it and starts barking. Then she starts barking and then we have to get them to chill out. It's pretty funny - I don't know that either knows what they are barking about in the end.

John would like her up on the bed with Ernie but she's just so long. So typically she starts there and then we move her to the crate where she sleeps quietly. Just got her a new foam mat for that.


I knew that I wanted to have another dog in my life after losing my previous lab at the age of 11 at the end of July 2019. But, I had no way of knowing that welcoming Walter into my family in February 2020 would be so important to my well-being!

I had met Walter at a GGLRR adoption event in San Jose a few weeks earlier, after seeing information about a different lab who was looking for a home. When I met the other dog, I could instantly tell that she wasn’t the right dog for me. She had lots of energy, and I was looking for a more relaxed dog.

As I looked around at the other dogs available for adoption, I spotted a tall, handsome, calm, yellow lab. It was Walter. I visited with all of the dogs, but ended up spending an hour with Walter, sitting with him inside his pen, getting to know him, and taking him for a short walk around the shopping center. I was in love.

Walter’s foster mom, Kris, shared his story with me. He was surrendered anonymously at night to a shelter in Hollister, CA, and eventually transferred to GGLRR where he was fostered by Kris and her husband Jay.

Walter had been adopted once before but had been returned to GGLRR after 5 months because he continued to display some territorial behaviors. Kris wanted to be sure to find someone who could love Walter and manage his behaviors. I feel so fortunate to have been selected.

Within a month of adopting Walter, the COVID-19 global pandemic hit the Bay Area, resulting in Stay-at-Home orders and the closure of businesses and schools. Fortunately, the Stay-at-Home orders allowed people to go outside for exercise. Walter needs 2 good walks per day, so he and I continued our daily routine. He’s been a fabulous “co-worker” as I work from home. However, his snoring is occasionally distracting. 😊

Without Walter, I probably would have slipped into depression and gained a lot of weight over the last 6 months. But, because of Walter, I continue to get daily fresh air and exercise, and I have someone to care for. He’s the ray of sunshine that’s guided me through the global pandemic. I’ll be forever grateful to Walter, Kris, and Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue!

Photos courtesy of @pupsterstudio


Stout’s long journey home to our hearts.

The story began five years ago in the spring of 2015. A sweet but banged up chocolate lab was found in Lake County California and brought to the pound. The nice people at the Clear Lake SPCA took care of his bumps and bruises and called him Tuesday for the day he arrived. The handwritten notes on the vet’s report stated, “Fine with cats and great with other dogs. Sits. Shakes. Loves toys and balls. Perfect dog.” According to the Clear Lake SPCA, “There aren’t many people who come here so we called Lab Rescue.” Tuesday was on his way to Golden Gate Lab Rescue where his foster mom Kristin called him Cab after his beautiful coat color. Kristin estimated that Cab was about 6 or 7 years old and liked to cuddle. She also noted that he liked chewing on tennis balls, preferred being indoors, and slept quietly through the night. Her most interesting comment, “He has an iron bladder.” Within a couple months he was adopted out to a first-time dog family in Benicia. They had two teenage kids and a good-sized backyard. They renamed him Brutus. Fortunately for us, after a few weeks the family realized the kids didn’t have time to play with the dog so they called up Lab Rescue. We had been on Golden Gate Lab Rescue’s waitlist for several weeks. Earlier that year, our beloved 11-year-old chocolate lab Guinness had died. We were so devastated we cried for several months after she died. But we were now ready to bring a new pooch into our home so we completed the application and made a deposit to Golden Gate Lab Rescue. About a month later we got the call and drove an hour and a half to Benicia. His current family let us take him for a walk and he was so sweet. As we walked down the street we saw some deer in somebody’s yard. Brutus didn’t pull at the leash or bark. He looked at the deer and then continued on. He was such a good dog. When we got back to their house, I got down on the floor and played with Brutus. I nuzzled his noggin with my nose. His current family seemed mortified that I was on the floor hugging this dog. We went home that night and told our two boys about Brutus. We all decided he was the dog for us. We went back the next day, brought him home, and renamed him Stout (like the beer). And it was true about the iron bladder- the first few months he was with us, he was glued to our shins and rarely wanted to go outside. Stout has lived with us for five years now and he has been a wonderful part of our family. We love him SO much! We learned that in addition to the basic dog tricks he can even sit up on his hind legs. He loves to play hide-and-seek and still loves to chew on tennis balls. He’s about eleven now so he’s slowing down but he still likes walks around the neighborhood… and I still nuzzle his noggin with my nose.

The Westover Family

Thank you Golden Gate Lab Rescue!


Check Out Gracie's blog


Gunner was surrendered to Lab Rescue as his owner was unable to afford the management of his allergies. The family vet recommended Gunner move out of the Central Valley; his allergies were ongoing and turning into infections in his ears and on his skin. Gunner arrived to Lab Rescue with a serious staph infection and had to undergo two months of quarantine and medication. He could only be touched with gloves during treatment which was so sad because Gunner was affectionate and starved for normal, human touch. Now that Gunner's skin is all cleared up, his adopter will manage his allergies with a daily pill, as well as look into any underlying causes. She is committed to his care and is accepting of the fact that Gunner may just be a dog with allergies.


Dexter is doing great! We're working with a trainer. He's better while out, but dogs are still an issue when he's on-leash. Off-leash, he is great! We found a nice park and beach in the next town over from us. He has been loving it! Also started taking him on some short jogs which he also seems to enjoy. And of course lots of fetch sessions We feel so lucky to have him as part of our family.


Sal and I have barely had Nolja a month, but she already seems to have settled in. She's a wonderful girl and so smart. We walk Nolja and Sophie (our black lab) every morning. She is already learning hand signals and walks well on a leash. We are taking Nolja to a training class and she is at the top of her class.

It's good we are early risers because Nolja generally wakes up at 5:58 a.m. (on the dot) and makes sure we are up also. She loves to ride in the car and when I open the door is ready to immediately jump in. My husband and I believe we hit the jackpot with Nolja. Sal calls Nolja the love bug.


Remember that litter of tiny puppies we adopted out over the summer? Well, they're bigger now. And Harrison's owner Joyce is pretty smitten. She counts 5,000 photos of him and counting.


When Tiggy was in GGLRR foster care about a year ago, she had a TPLO surgery to repair a torn cruciate ligament. You can't keep a good dog down! Her new family reports that she is a great running and hiking partner -- and an absolute love all around. Happy trails, Tiggy!


We have made a lot of great progress with Max and I wanted to let you know how well he's doing! The girl are calling him their "little brother" and playing with him a lot, he's sleeping in their room, had a good vet visit etc.

We have built up to being very comfortable with him off leash at Point Isabel, and he gets to run there almost every day. And he gets to run off leash at the dog beach sometimes too!

We had a trainer come out to the house a few times and we are signed up for a BravoPup class soon. There's still a lot of room for improvement in his behavior, but overall he is a wonderful dog who is fitting into the family very well


Austin was a wild and crazy young lab who was pulled from SJACS. He had a tough settling in period but ultimately a success! He’s now doing great and is the happiest dog on earth. He’s really settled in and still gets 2-4 walks or hikes daily. He’s definitely a rescue success.


We are thrilled that Bodie is a part of our family! It has been one month since we brought this handsome boy home but it feels like he has been part of our family forever. He is doing very well and seems to be happy and content. He still enjoys retrieving the ball anytime someone is willing to throw it, playing with his toys and generally being anywhere we are. He and cats have come to a mutual understanding. He transitioned well to his adult food and is putting on weight. The vet guessed that Bodie is about one year old, and that he is mostly, if not all, Labrador Retriever. Whatever he is, we love him and his wonderful demeanor. We continue to be amazed at what a great dog he is and how well he is acclimating to us and his new home!

We will be starting training in the next couple of weeks and will work with him on the leash. As the weather gets better we look forward to a lot more walking.


We imagine you get updates like these all of the time but we cannot help ourselves! Everyday we remark about how we cannot believe someone gave up such a well-behaved loyal dog. Herc continues to build up stamina and strength and is keeping his weight down. He adores his cushy Orvis bed, plays tug non-stop with his puppy brother, has proven to be an expert ball catcher, and out swims every other dog around him.


First of all, Daisy is doing great, A+. She is always the smartest in the class, and she is getting very very affectionate. I need to be honest there were days the first couple of months where you might have gotten an email about taking her back. But she is now part of the family. My trainer is pushing her harder as she gets bored easily. She has been a lot of work, but worth it.

I confess I am so happy with both Daisy and Oski. Daisy turns 1 this Sunday and Oski 7 on St. Pats day. And Amazon is shipping a ton of dog birthday stuff to celebrate! Both dogs are from your great organization. I celebrated both of their birthdays and invited over some of their dog friends to help celebrate.


It has been so rewarding to see Lola progress. She has gained energy and weight. She picked up a toy! She kind of almost chased a ball. She does a happy dance at meal time. She ran on the beach and decided to take a little swim! She stands very patiently when I can't figure out how to work the harness (again). She's very trustworthy in the house, but will dig up the yard if she suspects there is a gopher under there. I do kind of wish she would bark one day.

Her expression is much less guarded and her thousand-yard stare is going away. She is rather a stubborn girl; if she doesn't want to turn around on a walk she can become a thousand pound statue. She will come running if you whistle.

We kept the name, with the sometimes addition of Lola Belle, Lola Bean - lol!


She’s settling in well, getting a lot of attention and exercise but we discovered fleas on her last night. So she’s off to get a flea bath and flea treatment today. She’s a total food hound so we have to be careful about food in the table and counter. All is well, she’s a love.


It feels like I hit the jackpot when I adopted Kali, who has been with her new family for almost a year now. Kali is a good girl; she does not chew on socks or shoes anymore, and has not chased the chickens more than once following a stern “no”. Kali also enjoys bringing in the morning paper each day. She is a caring companion for Sadie, her new “older sister”. Whether Sadie is sound asleep, or outside, Kali will stay by her side in all types of weather any time of the day.


Junior is awesome, he's is an absolutely amazing guy and everything I'd hoped for in a dog. We're having a lot of fun, lots of trips to the beach and a few trips to Tahoe and lots more beach time coming up with spring in the air! We had a photographer in the office the other day doing headshots so I figured Junior needed some too.


I thought you would like an update on Jake. He’s doing well. We love him so much!

He is fresh home from a spa day today! He’s been getting weekly shampoo/grooms to help with his skin allergy. It seems to be helping. He still enjoys his daily walks, and then sleeps or watches me work on my computer all day from his bed you see here.

In July we take our annual trip to Eagle Lake, which is a beautiful lake way up north past Susanville. There are a lot of walking/bike paths which I am sure he will enjoy. The lake is right there too and we can’t wait to see how he likes it. It was always a favorite spot for our sweet Bella.

Thank you all for being a part of bringing Jake into our lives.


Cooper is getting better every week. We've really settled into our schedule now. He's been good so far when left alone, as he has access to the yard as well. We have totally dog-proofed our house, so that helps. We've had a few mishaps (remote, garbage, bread), so learned from our mistakes!

I've taken him to the dog park a few times now. I found a great place that is all grass, very large and fenced in. It is only from 6-8am, so during the week there have been only a few dogs and Cooper has been great. I took him there again this Saturday and there were about 30 dogs. But he was still good, he's mostly just interested in his ball. I also found a small lake for him to swim in. He loves the water and since I run with him often on the Bay Trail, he is constantly looking at the bay longingly.

We've all really bonded with him. He is definitely full of energy and we've had to make some changes to our routines and living arrangements, but it has all been for the best.


We are close to 1 1/2 months in now and Sadie is still perfect! She couldn’t possibly fit in any better! She has quickly become very spoiled. She still loves her ball! She is very calm though and has become quite the lounger. She loves the kids, especially our son. She had her first vet visit and behaved so well that a fellow dog mom in the office commented to her dog “I wish you would behave like that!” She loves to give kisses and likes a good butt rub. She has adopted a stuffed reindeer that we had and she likes to keep her favorite toys on her bed. If I put her favorites in the toy basket, she pulls them back out and puts them back on her bed. Santa of course came for her and she was very happy. She constantly wags her tail.


Rosie was found as a stray in a park in Concord by friends of ours. They think she was dumped because she was chasing a car that was just driving away. Our friends have a baby, and wanted to take her to the shelter asap. I thought she looked like a lab / golden so I got in touch with GGLRR right away. Rosie's owner never came forward. Luckily, Eran was available and provided an amazing foster home.

I'm so glad GGLRR found her a wonderful forever home!!


Nov 16th was Opal’s 4th birthday. I just wanted you to know she is a wonderful addition to our family. Definitely a story of “who rescued who”. We love her and she us. Right now she’s lying on my feet snoring away.


Marlee, aka Mollee now (we have renamed her Mollee and she knows her name already) moved in today. Looks like Homer and I are the ones who hit the jackpot. We are getting to know her, but honestly so far she has been absolutely perfect. Sweet, affectionate, mellow, quiet, housetrained, obedient. Thanks again to Carter and Kaleen who took such great care of her and helped her recover.


Barley joined our family (then Harley) almost 5 years ago as a rescue dog from GGLR. He was 5 then and could best be described as “crazy dog” 90% of the time. He so needed and wanted constant attention and had the energy of a 6 month old puppy, and assumed the nickname of “the energizer bunny". Lots and lots of exercise worked to keep the “crazy dog” state at bay and gradually he learned how to be calm, cool and collected.

Fast forward 5 years, and Barley, at 10, has become the perfect travel dog. After my husband and I retired a year ago, we road tripped with Barley across the United States for three months. Then we all boarded the luxurious Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, where Barley stayed in the on board Kennels as we transited the Atlantic to England. The QM2 is the only cruise ship in the world that allows dogs on board. By August, we arrived at our final destination on Lago Maggiore in Italy, where we now live. Barley loves swimming in the lake and goes everywhere with us. He is relaxed when he rides all forms of public transportation; ferries, trains, buses, funiculars, trams, gondolas, and subways as we explore Italy and other parts of Europe. So far Barley’s been in 21 states, 8 countries, 2 oceans, many, many lakes, and even a small fountain in lower Manhattan.

Barley is our 4th rescue dog since 1992, and somehow this highly energetic and needy Labrador, developed into an awesome family member and travel companion. He enjoys his multiple daily walks, going to the park to play fetch, and last week, experienced lots of snow for the first time in Switzerland.

He even has a blog to document his adventures called Barley’s Grand Adventures. The pictures are of Barley in a historic shopping mall in Milan, Italy and at Lago Maggiore, where he adores swimming.


Did you even catch this adorable chocolate on our website? She went fast, never even making it out of foster. Foster mom Wendy kept Pumpkin all for herself. Pumpkin seems okay with it.


Oso came to GGLRR when a vet refused the owners' family's request to put him down. He had too much life left in him, the vet said. Three years later Oso is still loving life with new guardians Dave and Wendy.


Izzy's owner surrendered her shortly after moving to the Bay Area because Izzy and the housemate's dogs weren't a good fit. Izzy, 10, is now settling in to country living in Auburn with her new family, which includes mom, dad, grandpa, a llama and a sheep. #NailedIt!


This gorgeous dog, then named Mr. Nobody, was at the center of an animal cruelty case in Arcata.

As I write this update, it has been exactly two years since our family welcomed Jackpot into our home as a GGLRR foster. It has been a long and sometimes bumpy road but we were finally able to adopt him this past spring.

Jackpot is a highly intelligent, ball obsessive, enthusiastic, goofy, loving, determined, powerful, playful and tenacious Labrador retriever! He has brought us lots of love and laughs with his big personality. We love him so very much and he has made our family complete.

We are extremely grateful to Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue for everything that they do and especially their support and commitment to Jackpot throughout his journey.


Shy, sweet Penny was adopted by Jeff and Julia T. of SF. Julia initially met Penny at the Pawtrero event and told her husband about her. Jeff made a few trips down to to the foster's in San Jose on his own, and once with Julia, to spend time with Penny before deciding to adopt.

Penny definitely made progress under the care of Kristin, still timid around people, but much better than when we first picked her up. In a little under a week, she's reportedly doing well with Jeff and Julia, making herself right at home!


Mack (formerly Maxwell) is living the dream!

He is so loyal, lovable and full of energy. He loves to hike, swim for days (we would never have known he couldn't swim when we adopted him!) and, lucky for us, he loves visiting breweries.

Mack loves kids so we try and act young!


Stanley continues to do fabulously and we are in love!

Yesterday we went to the enclosed dog park and he was a huge social butterfly, going from person to person, saying hello and receiving pets. He really looked thrilled. It was nice to be able to let him explore without a leash. He seems to recognize us as his family and is now coming when called--not always, but more and more.

He also went to see our vet. We wanted to take advantage of the free first office visit and ask about his ears and hotspots, so we can stay ahead on those. She also checked his incision sites. His incisions still need attention, though they are improving.

I keep trying to get good photos of him. He does this adorable thing where he lays on the couch and puts his head on the side table. We put a pillow on it for him. The photo here was as close as I could get. Wish I'd thought to take them at the dog park; he was really smiling.

Thanks again for our great dog!


Ellie is a big love and still always smiling!

I think she's a bit over 50 pounds now. She is doing great with city life! We don't know what happened to her when she was wandering around Merced, but it didn't seem to involve anything with noise or traffic because she isn't troubled by any of it.

She has taken some dog training and is getting pretty reliable off leash at the park. Chuck says she's the smartest dog he's ever had. Pretty much her only sin is occasionally stealing the cat food.


We adopted our Luke in 2005. He had been a stray on the streets of Bakersfield. He was evaluated to be 3 years old, so he is currently 13. He is slowing down significantly due to arthritis in all leg joints but still handles gently paced walks.

As is typical for Labs, food is a motivation; couple that with having to live on the streets, and Luke will take advantage of opportunities to seek out food-related items. Over the years our household has lost a CrockPot, two coffee makers and had a BBQ damaged among other items. However, we love him anyway--after all he is family--and after some post-cleanup time has passed, we can laugh about his food adventures!