RAGOM International Outreach (RIO)
RAGOM International Outreach (RIO) supports the rescue of dogs in peril beyond our country’s borders. From Goldens languishing on the streets of Turkey, to Goldens stolen and sold into China's illegal dog meat trade, RIO’s mission is to ensure that these gentle, deserving dogs around the world are offered the chance for a Golden Life.
Living on the Streets of Turkey
Street dogs have existed in Turkish culture for hundreds of years. In 2005, Golden Retrievers began to appear among this unfortunate population. Goldens were first introduced by those who could afford to import them, but now they are sold for as little as 50 Turkish Lira ($20 US dollars) and are very common throughout Turkey.
Thousands of Golden Retrievers are given up by their families or abandoned to fend for themselves. Reasons reflect what we witness in the United States: lifestyle changes, costs of ownership, medical issues, and allergies.
Life in a Shelter or on Their Own
There are far more homeless dogs in Turkey than shelters can accommodate. Because there is no shelter euthanasia and few adoptions, these dogs either live out their lives in a shelter or languish on the streets or in the forests after being vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
Golden Retrievers don't fare well on the streets. They are not pack animals and won't defend themselves, so many are attacked by other dogs. Their survival depends on people helping them.
Rescue Efforts Begin
An American traveling in Turkey learned that Turkish shelters were full of Golden Retrievers. Recognizing their plight, the traveler contacted Adopt a Golden of Atlanta (AGA), a rescue group in Georgia. AGA mobilized and began coordinating rescue efforts.
RAGOM reached out to AGA to help and began rescuing Goldens from Turkey in September 2015. RAGOM has since transported more than 100 dogs from Turkey to Minnesota and continues to work with Turkish volunteers to save these dogs. Video: Journey to a Golden Life.
Marked for China’s Meat Trade
An estimated 10 million dogs are killed and consumed each year in China, and Golden Retrievers are one of the meat trade's most popular breeds. A majority of dogs hauled to slaughterhouses are stolen pets and retired breeding dogs. Rarely leashed in China, dogs are easily snatched from their owners and forced into a waiting vehicle.
A Terrifying Fate
Volunteers in China are working hard to save these dogs from a terrifying fate. They approach butchers when they see a dog tied up behind the premises and plead for the dog's release. Other rescuers watch for large trucks filled with stolen dogs en route to the slaughterhouses and do their best to stop them.
Once the dogs are rescued from the trucks, butchers, or slaughterhouses, they are housed by wonderful rescuers in China. However, the facilities are incredibly full, sometimes housing as many as 500 - 1,000 dogs. Adoption of larger breeds, which are still banned in many areas of China, is not likely.
Their Only Hope
The only hope for these dogs is to find homes in other countries. Dog rescue organizations around the world are answering the call to get these dogs out of China and into adoptive homes. RAGOM joined this effort in March 2019.
The logistics are complex, and we are looking for flight volunteers. If you are traveling to China and are willing to accompany dogs on your return flight to the U.S., please email nicole [dot] stundziaragom [dot] org.
Help RAGOM Save These Dogs
Our mission to help dogs in peril beyond our borders is unlike anything we’ve ever done—and we could not do it without donations. To help us welcome these special dogs to America and safely into our care so they can find loving homes, please support RAGOM International Outreach (RIO).
To increase awareness of our efforts, visit and like our RAGOM International Outreach (RIO) Facebook page.