DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas -- More than a dozen golden retrievers are finding their forever home after being brought half way around the world by a local rescue group.
Years ago, having a golden retriever puppy in Istanbul was considered a status symbol. When that fad ended, the dogs were abandoned and ended up living in the streets, in forests or in overcrowded shelters in Turkey.
Gold Ribbon Rescue has been working to bring some of those dogs to a new home in the United States.
"That's man's best friend right here," said volunteer Greg Herdlitchka. "For the long journey and coming here they've been wonderful."
The 18 dogs were issued health certificates and passports, loaded into extra-large crates and onto an air-conditioned, pressurized cargo plane.
"We went through Luxembourg, through Luxembourg to Miami, then to Houston, and arrived at midnight last night," said Gold Ribbon Rescue's Emily Tuczkowski.
Once the dogs arrived in the states, volunteers drove them to Dripping Springs where they're currently being cared for.
"We've been spending the last, pretty much all day getting them groomed and bathed and vetting them with our vets," Tuczkowski said.
The retrievers didn't have a name when they were in Turkey, but were given Texas-themed names like "Canyon," "Trinity" and "Ladybird."
None of them have had a bed or toys before. Even being stroked by friendly hands is a new experience for them.
"Once you start touching them, they just melt," said Donald Smith, who is adopting an older golden named Travis.
A dog whose fate was to live and die on the streets of Istanbul now has a second chance.
"He's going to get lots of toys, lots of treats lots of walks, lots of love," Smith said.
It's a golden opportunity to help these dogs find a forever family.
Gold Ribbon Rescue spent $1,600 for each golden retriever they brought to the U.S. from Turkey. They are taking donations to offset the cost and hopefully bring more retrievers here next year.
There is a long waiting list of people across the nation hoping to adopt a golden retriever. There are no golden retrievers being put at risk in the U.S. because of this rescue.
Go here for more information and to donate.