Golden retrievers Jake and Chloe are happy to be in their new home in Barrie.

The dogs have been on quite the journey this week, travelling more than 24 hours to get here. They’re among 18 dogs rescued from shelters in Istanbul, Turkey through a program called Golden Rescue.

"The first 24 hours were more amazing than I would have expected,” says Penny Maring, who adopted the pair. “Jake likes to lay behind the chesterfield over there and Chloe is never far from where I am and pops up on the couch."

They arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Friday and were driven to their new homes across Ontario. 

"One had a tail that was hanging literally by a thread dragging along the ground, a couple had broken legs. They all have badly matted coats, they're dirty, but they haven't lost their golden spirit," says Viive Tamm of Golden Rescue.

In the last 25 years, Golden Rescue has saved 2,000 dogs.

This is the first rescue mission from outside North America, and it's a big one. Nearly 2,000 golden retrievers in Istanbul need new homes

"It was a status symbol to have a golden retriever puppy. Well when they got to be dogs, they weren't so interesting and the other thing was the economic down turn," says Maring.

Maring says Jake and Chloe make her feel complete after losing her husband and their three golden retrievers – all in the last three years.

“I was so sad and lonely myself. I wanted to do something for someone else, save me. I think they're saving me. I'm not saving them, it gives me more of a purpose in life."