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The Pet Lodge in Alpharetta, Georgia is a pretty golden place these days. The newest residents are 36 golden retrievers, rescued from the streets and shelters of Istanbul, Turkey.
Lauren Genkinger, the founder and head of Adopt a Golden Atlanta, led the effort to bring the dogs to Atlanta.
“This is the largest known rescue of golden retrievers internationally, ever.”
Genkinger says that an American living in Istanbul contacted Adopt a Golden Atlanta, reporting that she was seeing golden retrievers everywhere…living on the streets and filling up shelters.
Genkinger explains, “Ten years ago, golden retrievers were seen as a status symbol dog in Turkey. Then a few years later everybody had them, and therefore the status was no longer there. They started abandoning them in the streets of Turkey.”
These dogs, known for their gentle temperament, did not fare well on Istanbul’s streets, home to 50 thousand dogs.
“They don’t make it because the feral dogs will attack them and they don’t fight back.”
In a large room at the lodge, the goldens are vetted by a trio of teams from the Veterinary Centers of America Buckhead Animal Hospital. Doctor Michael Davis heads up the group. “These guys are craving human attention and human affection. It looks like we’re going to be dealing with a lot of ear infections and skin infections.”
After all they’ve been through, the tails still wag, the bodies still wiggle, even though they don’t understand English commands, yet.
There are 20 boys and 16 girls from six months to ten years, all legitimate world travelers with photo ID passports..
Genkinger says their time on the streets has not been kind to some of them. “A couple we brought over, they were living on the streets and they’re two years of age. They look about eight.”
All of these dogs are already named. “They’re the freedom dogs and all of them have been given names, Freedom, Patriot, Liberty, Glory…” Genkinger laughs. “It wasn’t easy coming up with 36 patriotic names.”
Adopt a Golden Atlanta says the dogs will be with foster families the next few weeks and that they will hold and adoption day the first week of June. Anyone interested in adopting one of the Turkey Golden Retrievers or learning more about Adopt a Golden Atlanta, click here.
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