How to Adopt

Adoption Process Overview

  •  Your application is valid for one year. If you want to apply for more than one dog, please email us at [email protected]. You do not need to submit additional applications.
  • As a Foster-based rescue, we do not have a central location where dogs can be viewed. Our dogs are located in Foster homes across a five-state area, so it is unlikely you will be able to meet a dog before applying.
  • Fosters review applications and reach out to applicants they feel will be a good match for the dog. If, after speaking with you, you both agree it might be a good fit, a virtual or in-person “meet and greet” may be scheduled.
  • Some dogs will attend various events, giving you the chance to meet them in person. When dogs attend events, it will be noted on the dogs’ profile page.

RAGOM’s Adoption Territory

Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Western Wisconsin (within 75 miles of the Minnesota border). RAGOM does consider applicants outside our territory in the following circumstances:

  • Dogs that have been available for adoption for over 60 days.
  • Dogs that are difficult to place due to medical or behavioral issues.
  • Dogs that don’t have the physical appearance of a Golden Retriever.

Foster-To-Adopt Program

This program enables RAGOM to place dogs into families even when RAGOM’s Foster homes are full. FTA dogs bypass Fosters and go directly to their adoptive family, and we work with the FTA to accomplish what normally occurs in Foster care. Once those steps are complete, the adoption is finalized. Dogs with significant medical and/or behavior issues are unavailable via the FTA program. 

Spay and Neuter

As a rescue organization, RAGOM must balance managing the pet population with the dog’s health and well-being. Based on clinical recommendations, we believe that means dogs wait until 12 months before being altered.

Dogs 12 months and older are altered before they are adopted. Dogs under 12 months of age are Provisionally Adopted with the expectation that they are altered between 12-15 months of age or returned to RAGOM. Details regarding Provisional Adoptions are located here

Adoption Fees (effective January 1, 2024)

The cost to care for each dog far exceeds the adoption fee. The average cost for a healthy adult dog ranges from $600-$1400 including microchipping, spay/neuter surgery, wellness check, and vaccinations. We appreciate your understanding and support in our mission to make a difference in the lives of these wonderful dogs:

  • Puppy/0 to 1: $550
  • Adult/1+ to 7: $500
  • Senior/8+: $200
  • International Puppy & Adult/0 to 7: $1100
  • International Senior/8+: $750
  • Special Needs: Case-by-Case
Adoption Fees can be paid via Credit Card or PayPal. RAGOM does not accept checks. Directions to pay online are located here.

Adoption Agreement

The final step in the Adoption Process is for Adopters to sign an Adoption Agreement committing to  the following:


  • Adopters agree to have unaltered dogs spayed/neutered between 12 and 15 months of age.
  • Adopters will take all precautions to prevent an unwanted pregnancy until the dog is altered.
  • If a female becomes pregnant, all puppies that result from the pregnancy become the property of RAGOM and will be surrendered at 8 weeks of age to be rehomed by RAGOM.
  • Adopter agrees they are responsible for the dog’s veterinary care (including pregnancy-related veterinary care), food, shelter, and liability as of the date of this agreement but understand that the Adoption is not final until the dog has been altered.
  • If the dog is not altered by 15 months, the dog must be returned to RAGOM.


  • Adopters agree to keep dogs as pets in the house, not in an outside kennel, left unattended in the yard, chained, or on a tie-out unsupervised at any time.
  • Dogs must be placed on heartworm prevention and receive regular rabies and other vaccinations required by law. The Adopter assumes all responsibility, including but not limited to health care and general well-being.
  • All training will use only positive reinforcement techniques, and Adopter understands that shock collars (except E-Collars used for perimeter training purposes, such as invisible fences or Halo Wireless E-Collars), prong collars, and use of force are not allowed.
  • Adopters agree to contact RAGOM if the dog is lost for 8 hours.
  • Adopters agree to allow RAGOM to periodically check on the dog to ensure the Adopter’s compliance with the Terms of Adoption.


  • Dogs must be returned to RAGOM; they cannot be given away, sold, or surrendered to other to another shelter or rescue.
  • RAGOM must oversee any other Transfer of Ownership.
  • Adopters may identify a specified party they would like to transfer ownership to, such as a friend or family member. RAGOM will screen the applicants, and if they meet the adoption requirements, ownership can be transferred.


  • RAGOM retains the right to reclaim dogs when there is probable cause to believe abuse, neglect, inadequate care or treatment, or a breach of the Terms of Adoption has occurred.

The Process

Complete these initial pre-screening questions to determine if you are eligible to adopt from RAGOM.

Your application will be screened to ensure you meet RAGOM’s core requirements. Once that is complete, our Placement Team notifies you of the detailed next steps, including how to engage with them. Foster Families only work with one Applicant at a time to avoid confusion and disappointment. High-level next steps:

  • Foster families contact the Applicant, who is a good match for their foster dog.
  • A volunteer and their dog will meet with you to perform a Home Visit.
  • When the Home Visit is completed successfully, the Foster family will work with you to jointly determine if it’s a good match and, if so, complete the adoption.
  • If it’s not a good match, Applicants can continue to apply for other available dogs.
  • Dogs under 12 months that are intact have a Provisional Adoption that is finalized once the dog is altered. See Provisional Adoptions for more information.

Due to the number of applicants, it’s not possible for foster dogs to meet every applicant. Are you interested in meeting some of the dogs in our care? Check out our Meet & Greet events.