Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) will bring 15 homeless Golden Retrievers from Istanbul, Turkey, to Minneapolis on Sunday, October 18 in an effort to find permanent homes for the dogs.
Golden Retrievers roam the streets in Istanbul and have for several years. Once considered a status symbol for those seeking a pet in Turkey, the novelty has worn off and many Golden Retrievers have been abandoned. Some live in shelters, but the majority live on the streets or surrounding forests. There are 32 crowded animal shelters in Istanbul and it is estimated that more than 500 Golden Retrievers are living on the streets.
In the United States the situation could not be more different. Golden Retrievers remain a popular breed and there has been a shortage of Goldens available through RAGOM and other Golden Retriever rescue groups. Potential adopters now wait months for the opportunity to adopt. According to Patty Larson of RAGOM, the opportunity to help dogs across the world was an opportunity not to be missed. “If we know there are Goldens in need and there are individuals who want to give them the best life possible in Minnesota, we feel it is imperative we reach out to help.”
Since 1985, RAGOM has rehomed more than 8,000 Golden Retrievers, some surrendered by pet owners who could no longer care for them and some rescued from precarious situations, such as puppy mills. With an extensive network of volunteers the organization has grown to meet the needs of adopters who desire the beloved breed.
The dogs from Turkey will likely be adopted from those who have already submitted applications for a RAGOM dog. “Although we expect that many people will want to step up and provide a home for these dogs, we feel we must serve the needs of the individuals and families who have been waiting the longest,” Larson said. “However, the costs to transport the dogs have been extensive and donations to RAGOM are greatly appreciated.”
The 15 dogs have spent the last four weeks being cared for in shelters in Istanbul and in the homes of Turkish volunteers prior to their transport. Ranging in age from 1- 4 years, they are receiving medical care and grooming, as well as behavior evaluations and training as needed. A few are malnourished but the majority are in good health.
On October 17 the dogs will travel to Chicago on a direct flight on from Istanbul, complete with their health certificates and passports. From there, they will travel to the Twin Cities by van, arriving in the early morning on Sunday, October 18.
Although their first “language” is Turkish, the dogs are learning some simple commands in English. They have also been given Minnesota names ranging from Tonka to Mary Tyler Moore to Prince. Once they arrive in Minnesota they will be assigned to a foster parent who will help them acclimate prior to being permanently adopted. They will receive additional medical care if needed and will be evaluated by trainers if necessary. Some of the dogs will adjust more quickly and be available for adoption within a couple of weeks; others will take longer.
“Minnesotans are big dog lovers and are also big-hearted,” Larson said. “We can’t wait for these dogs to experience the golden life in Minnesota where Goldens are so loved.”
To donate to this effort, go to www.ragom.org. Look for the “Turkey Dogs” section on the homepage and click the “Donate” button.
RAGOM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that began as Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota in 1985, with one homeless Golden Retriever in a shelter whose time was up. RAGOM’s founder, Jane Nygaard had her spayed and vaccinated and found her a loving forever home. Since then, countless volunteers and generous donors have stepped up with the energy, selflessness, love, and funds to rescue and rehome more than 9,000 Golden Retrievers and Golden Retriever mixes.
In 2017, RAGOM adopted a new name—Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest—to reflect our dedication to expand our rescue efforts from our original home state of Minnesota to include Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and western Wisconsin.