How to Adopt

RAGOM’s adoption territory includes:

  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • 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 (mixed breeds).

Potential adoptive families must agree to the following:

  • The family has not adopted or acquired another dog within the past six months and does not plan to adopt or acquire another dog within the next six months.
  • The family has not had or adopted a baby within the past six months.
  • The adopted dog will be kept in the home when the family is sleeping or away from home. RAGOM does not allow dogs to be kept outdoors or in a garage while the family is sleeping or away.

The Process


Adoption has several benefits: (1) your new dog will be up-to-date on shots; (2) any behavioral or medical issues will be known; and (3) the foster family will have worked through initial training issues and can accurately describe the dog’s personality and needs. One downside is that due to strong interest, you may not be selected for a particular dog you wish to adopt.


The primary purpose of RAGOM’s Foster-To-Adopt (FTA) program is to save more dogs! This program enables RAGOM to place dogs into families even when RAGOM’s foster homes are full. A broad range of dogs are available for FTA, including puppies, mixed breeds, senior dogs, and bonded pairs. Generally, dogs with significant medical and/or behavior issues are not adopted via the FTA program. FTA families are screened, have a Home Visit, and receive basic training to be prepped and ready. When FTA dogs arrive, we reach out to the families to place them. From your new dog’s arrival to adoption day, your FTA Coordinator will help you navigate the steps and support you.

If you participate in FTA, you will bring a dog into your home sight unseen with little or no information about their appearance or personality. But FTA is a great way to see what it’s like to add a dog to your home and learn if the foster dog is a good fit for your family. Best of all, you will help RAGOM provide shelter for dogs in urgent situations, which allows RAGOM to rescue more dogs!

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.