Royal Palm Beach resident Kristine Minerva loves golden retrievers and learned of Golden Rescue South Florida when she became a foster parent for the rescues of the breed years ago.
Over the past two years, she has become the organization’s coordinator for rescuing golden retrievers from China and bringing them to South Florida.
“Golden Rescue South Florida has been around for more than 20 years,” explained Minerva of the group dedicated to helping golden retrievers find good homes.
“We receive information about golden retrievers rescued in China, and I work with the contacts over there to get them brought into this country,” said Minerva, adding that the group just completed its first set of 20 goldens. “We received inquiries from all over the country. We have been able to find good homes for all of them that we brought in for the first go-round right here in Florida.”
Minerva helps with transport, fostering and adoption. She interviews all of the adopters to ensure that the dog’s new home will be the right fit, and that the adopter has the right accommodations for the breed.
“I get all of the government paperwork together,” Minerva said. “Just flying them from China to Miami is a process.”
China is just one international location for Golden Rescue South Florida. The nonprofit organization has brought in dogs from Turkey and many dogs from Puerto Rico, as well as working with rescue groups and animal shelters in South Florida.
However, it is not common to find the breed in shelters. “Golden owners seem to be pretty responsible,” Minerva said, adding that some people are forced to surrender dogs due to personal situations.
Minerva said that the organization works with golden retrievers, as well as goldendoodles, which are a mix between a golden retriever and a poodle, the latter being a pretty sought-after pet because they don’t shed.
“Golden retrievers shed a lot, especially during their shedding season, and when they are mixed with a poodle, they don’t shed,” Minerva said.
Minerva is passionate about rescuing golden retrievers from China due to the conditions in the country for the animals. “China is really huge in consuming dog meat, and even purebred dogs are raised for it,” she explained.
The group is working to rescue as many animals as they can from the gruesome fate of winding up in slaughterhouses and meat markets.
Golden Rescue South Florida is always looking for donations because it costs some $2,600 per dog to rescue from China. They are also on the lookout for foster parents for the dogs, as the organization has no kennel facility.
“We are always looking for more resources and for welcoming homes to foster or adopt goldens, so they can blossom into the dogs that they can be,” Minerva said.
Because many of the animals come from other countries, adopters find some interesting things when the first get their new pet. For one thing, they may not understand English commands at first. It also takes some time for dogs to get used to the new time zone schedule. “They may want to play when the new family is planning to sleep,” Minerva said.
But these are all things that are easily overcome with a new loving family.