Effective immediately, Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue (GGRR), will no longer conduct monthly meetings at an accessible location where guests may attend.
18 years ago, Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue (GGRR) handled more than 100 Golden Retrievers each year. We took part in numerous events, with as many as 1 or 2 events each month for fundraising and public education. We had nearly 120 volunteers on our roster. There were always people willing to step up and work various jobs for the organization.
Today, in 2019, we handle between 3 and 10 abused and neglected, purebred and near-purebred Golden Retrievers each year, take part in a couple of events each year, and have fewer than 10 volunteers on our roster. It is nearly impossible to find any volunteers willing to work various jobs for the organization. Many volunteers are more interested in telling their friends that they volunteer for Golden Retriever rescue, than they are in actually volunteering.
In August, 2018, GGRR held its last meeting at the AKC Museum of the Dog in Queeny park in West St Louis (MO) county. The following month, the AKC moved the Museum of the Dog to its newly built facility in New York City. St Louis County Parks Department took over management of the facility where GGRR had been meeting monthly (nearly for free) for the previous 20 years. The St Louis County Parks Department told us that we were welcome to pay $$$ to continue to use the same facility, but that our dogs were no longer welcome. That was unacceptable to us.
For the last year, GGRR has been meeting at a Panera Bread Co restaurant in Chesterfield, MO. We still couldn’t bring our dogs, but Panera didn’t charge us to meet there (although we often had dinner before the meeting). Unfortunately, this also meant that the visitors, who would normally show up to pet our dogs and meet any available dogs, also stopped coming. Many restaurants in the area would have allowed us to bring well-behaved dogs to their patios, but newly rescued dogs are rarely well-behaved. They may not yet have had their annual shots, or be undergoing treatment for various medical issues. Also, patios are not suitable meeting locations on rainy days nor in the winter.
GGRR has 4 elected officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary), 5 elected Coordinators (Adoption, Intake, Events, Membership, Web), an elected liaison position (Membership Rep) between the GGRR board and the general membership, and 5 appointed mentors who mentor other volunteers working as foster homes, handling dog visits and transportation, and home visits. Today, these 15 positions are held by just six people, with no more than 3 or 4 in attendance at most meetings, and no more than 2 or 3 in attendance at events.
For these reasons, it was decided at the November 2019 meeting, to discontinue monthly in-person meetings in favor of monthly Skype meetings.
GGRR will continue to need volunteers. Many of those who remain would step down if there were volunteers to replace them.
The bottom line: we need exposure in the community so they know to call us when they have or hear of a purebred or near purebred Golden Retriever that needs to be surrendered. We need foster homes to accept these surrendered Golden Retrievers into their homes while they get healthy, and prepare to be adopted. And short-term foster homes to care for Golden Retriever while the primary foster home family is out of town for a weekend or a week. We need people to conduct home visits on prospective adoptors, and dog visits on possible surrenders to verify that they are truly Golden Retrievers. For more information on what we need from volunteers, please visit our Volunteers page.