These are some of our most frequently asked questions about NEARR.
1. I want to adopt a NEARR dog, but I'm not sure if I live in one of your designated adoption areas. How can I tell?
Currently, NEARR adopts dogs to applicants located in the following states:
If you do not live in one of these states, please visit our links page.
We appreciate your patience with us as we expand our volunteer base. We hope to serve all counties in New England in the future. If you are interested in volunteering for NEARR, see our volunteer page.
2. Where are NEARR dogs located?
NEARR dogs reside in foster homes located throughout New England, primarily in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Please be aware that most of our dogs are fostered in southern NH, MA, and northern CT, and most of our events are in southern NH and central/eastern MA, so be prepared to travel to those areas to meet our dogs if you apply.
3. Where do NEARR dogs come from?
Our dogs come from owners who can no longer care for their dog or from shelters where the dog has either been relinquished or was a stray. All dogs entering our program are evaluated and temperament tested. We do our best to ensure that dogs who are at the highest risk in their current situation are moved into our program as quickly as possible.
4. Does NEARR ever have puppies available?
It is rare that we have puppies into our program, and when we do they are usually retriever mixes. Our typical rescue dog is a male dog between the ages of 1 and 6.
5. My dog isn't spayed. Can I adopt a NEARR dog?
NEARR does not require your dogs to be spayed or neutered. However, NEARR strongly recommends that you spay or neuter your pet as it decreases the number of homeless animals born each year and can prevent certain types of cancer.
6. I want to adopt a NEARR dog, but I have children. How do I know the dog can live with children?
We will not place any dog who was originally a stray in a home with children. We will place a dog who was surrendered by his/her owner and was known to be good with children, in a home with children. The NEARR dog must be of suitable size, energy level and temperament for the age/size of your children.
7. I've heard all about taking your dog to obedience school, but I don't think my dog needs it. What do you think?
We strongly feel that all retrievers, being very energetic and intelligent dogs, benefit immensely from obedience training. Training classes also offer a wonderful opportunity to bond with your rescued dog. We require all of our adopters to enroll in obedience classes.
8. I don't have a fenced in yard. Can I still adopt a NEARR dog?
If there are children under 6 years old in the household and you are interested in adopting a dog under 4 years old, you must have a fenced-in yard. Retrievers can be big, bouncy, and mouthy dogs, and can unintentionally hurt small children. A fenced in yard allows a "time-out" space for a dog that really needs to run and play. If you are interested in an older dog, fencing requirements are determined on a case-by-case basis. Because most of our dogs are high energy, we recommend "real" fencing (not electric fencing) for the safety of the dog. "Real" fencing helps to protect your dog from running away (pulling out of their collar, breaking cable or "blowing through" electric fence) or becoming injured/killed by a car. "Real" fencing also protects your dog from other animals (other dogs, skunks, coyotes, foxes) entering your property and posing a threat to your dog.
9. I'm interested in a NEARR dog that I saw on your website. How do I know she won't be adopted?When you apply to NEARR for a dog, you do not apply for a specific NEARR dog, but a NEARR dog in general. We do not answer emails or phone calls about specific NEARR dogs. If you are an approved adopter, our Adoption Coordinator will be in touch with you should a match become available.
10. Should I get a male or a female dog?
There are no real differences between male and female dogs, especially since all dogs are spayed or neutered before placement. Many people choose the sex of their dog based on their own personal experiences, because that is what they are most comfortable with. The most important factor is to find the dog that is the best match for the adoptive family.
11. How will I be able to bond with a "used dog"?
This is one of the most common misconceptions about adopting a rescued dog. Retrievers in general are "people dogs" -- they are extremely anxious to bond with their owners. Rescued retrievers are even more "anxious" to establish the bond that makes them feel secure and loved. For more information, see this complete list of reasons to adopt a rescued retriever.
12. Aren't retrievers excellent family dogs?
Yes and no. Many of NEARR's retrievers come from families who purchased them as pups to "grow up" with their newborns. Retrievers on the whole are extremely active, high energy dogs that require consistent exercise. They are also approximately 60-80 pounds, and can easily "collide" mistakenly with a toddler or young child during their exuberant displays of happiness. Behavior problems such as barking, chewing, or digging can frequently be the result of not exercising your retriever enough. Families with young children need to be willing to commit to the exercise needs of a young retriever in order to adopt. Labradors are considered puppies until they are between 3 and 4 years of age, while Golden Retrievers usually mature between 2 and 3. Their delayed adolescence period (which is the most common age during which they are surrendered to shelters or rescues) can prove to be problematic if you are not prepared to commit to their needs.
13. Why would anyone possibly give up such a sweet dog?
Most retrievers need to be re-homed because their owners can't give them the time, attention, and exercise the dog needs. This is normally due to changes in the owner's life, including divorce, work or family commitments, moving, ill health, or financial problems. Other dogs are turned in because the owners realize they do not have the time required to spend with their dog. Sometimes people develop allergies to their dogs. Other times, people are exasperated with dogs who escape. There are perhaps as many reasons as there are dogs.
14. What kind of retriever is right for me?
Keep in mind that NEARR mostly has labs and lab mixes available, with the occasional golden. We maintain links to information about the various kinds of retrievers on our links page.
15. Can I "try out" a NEARR dog?
No, but NEARR has recently instituted a Foster-to-Adopt program for senior dogs and dogs of any age with certain health or behavioral conditions which make them more difficult to place in a forever home.