Thirty-two years ago today, a beautiful 9-month-old Golden Retriever languished in a rural animal shelter, unaware of her pending fate. She had a collar but no name and no home. A card above her kennel read, “Scheduled for euthanasia, 3:30 today.”
During a chance visit to the shelter that same day, Ardis Brown noticed the young Golden. Moved by her dire plight, she called her friend Jane Nygaard. “Could anything be done?” Ardis asked. Jane’s answer was firm: “Get that dog out of there.”
Because Jane was unavailable, she instructed Ardis to take the dog to Twin Cities Obedience Training Club, where Jane’s husband Hank Nygaard was attending a seminar. There were no cell phones in those days, so Jane left a message for Hank at the club desk: “Ardis is bringing you a female Golden Retriever. Bring her home.”
The Nygaards took the dog to their vet to be vaccinated and spayed. A few days later, the vet called the Nygaards. Did they still have that Golden? He knew of a couple who were looking for a dog. The Nygaards invited the couple to meet the dog and then accompanied them to check out their house and yard—ultimately, the first home visit.
Named “Sophie” by the family, the young dog stayed with them for a few days. And then they wrote a check to cover the Nygaards’ veterinary bills—the first adoption.
Word spread. If there is a Golden Retriever in trouble, call Jane. When there were too many dogs for the Nygaard household, they asked for help and friends volunteered their homes—the first foster families.
From those early improvised efforts, coupled with the selflessness, generosity, and boundless energy of Jane Nygaard, Chick Myers, Agnes Rambeck, Ardis Brown and others, an extraordinary organization emerged from their love for Golden Retrievers.
RAGOM is now blessed with hundreds of amazing volunteers who daily keep the rescue efforts moving forward: fostering, training, transporting, visiting prospective homes, fundraising, organizing events, and more.
Throughout our 32-year history, more than 8,000 dogs—Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes—have entered RAGOM’s circle and moved on to the Golden Life because of our volunteers and supporters!
On this aniversary we congratulate and send our gratitude to our founders, our volunteers, and our supporters. Thank you and Happy Anniversary!