Minnesota Pet Adoption Interview with Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota

We are pleased to offer this Minnesota Pet Adoption interview with Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM). They have rescued over 3000 Golden Retrievers since 1985 so we thought it would be interesting to do an interview with them.

After approaching RAGOM we received a reply from Charney Petroske, Development Director. He was very insightful in answering our interview questions. You will learn about the rescue, about Golden Retrievers, and a warning sign about buying from a puppy mill (or a puppy mill posing as a reputable breeder).

Minnesota Pet Adoption Interview with Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota

I read on the website, http://www.ragom.org, that Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota has rescued over 3000 Golden Retrievers since 1985. What are the keys to this type of success?

The key to our success is based on several factors: 1-We are grateful to have a huge volunteer base that spans over 5 states. Most of our volunteers are located in Minnesota, but we also have volunteers in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Western Wisconsin. Our volunteers are very dedicated to helping these dogs. 2-We are fortunate to have a great group of financial contributors. Their donations help us so that we can continue to say "Yes" to golden retrievers in need and provide adequate veterinary care.

I see that in 2007 you responded to the closing of a puppy mill in North Dakota. 84 Goldens in all were recovered. Does this happen often? How does RAGOM manage to handle all of these dogs

Puppy mill seizures continue to rise each year. The public is growing more aware of what they are and how to spot them; thanks to the outpouring of media response on the issue. We've never had a puppy mill seizure of that magnitude before and haven't had one since the rescue in Bismarck, ND in March of 2007. Taking in almost 90 dogs and puppies was no easy task. RAGOM was fortunate to have a large number of approved foster homes take these puppy mill dogs in and help them on their way to rehabilitation. For the dogs who did not immediately get placed in foster homes. Usually puppy mill dogs come in completely unsocialized and terrified of their surroundings, not to mention poor diet and health issues. RAGOM is lucky to have excellent veterinarians who help out by examining all these dogs during these rescues. We are also fortunate to be able to "borrow" the appropriate facilities from local animal shelters such as the Animal Humane Society and Animal Ark. Following the Bismarck puppy mill seizure we've done a handful of other puppy mill rescues ranging from 10-40 dogs per time. We did colaborate with several other rescue organizations as far away as Oklahoma to help take in more golden retrievers from puppy mills when local rescues could not take them in. Many of our recent puppy mill seizures have been from Missouri, Arkansas and other neighboring states. The support for RAGOM has been tremendous and we couldn't help all these dogs if it wasn't for the financial contributions we get in addition to all the great volunteers.

I am not sure if this is out of your area of expertise - but can you comment on how people can tell the difference from a puppy mill and reputable breeder?

I recommend rescuing before buying from a breeder but if you insist on purchasing a puppy here are a few things to go by...When trying to decide whether a breeder is reputable, the first thing to ask the breeder is to see the living environment where the puppies and dogs are. If a breeder won't willingly invite you their home to meet their dogs and see the living conditions, then you should look elsewhere. Many breeders seem nice when they offer to drive 1/2 way and meet you at a rest stop. Sure that is nice and convenient but if you saw where they actually came from you would definately reconsider that breeder. It is kind of an under-cover way of operating a puppy mill without anyone knowing it exists, or at the very least could be an inexperienced backyard breeder. You should also ask to see the dog's health certification and/or health guarantees for hips and eyes for many dog breeds that are prone to those ailments.

Aside from puppy mills, what are the most frustrating reasons that dogs end up at a rescue such as yours?

The most frustrating reason we get dogs and puppies is from "breeders" who are either diminishing their dog supply or getting rid of females that won't produce puppies anymore. We are thankful these breeders do contact our organization, however, it is difficult to hear that if we (RAGOM) can't get a transport team together by say Sunday at 1pm, the owner will then "do away with" these unwanted dogs. I feel bad for the dogs who suffer living a life of misery as a result of human greed.

On a different note it is also very frustrating lately to see so many senior dogs being surrendered to us as a result of the poor economy and people losing their homes and jobs. It is frustrating because we hear and know how bad the surrendering owners feel giving up their dogs. It hurts to hear the generosity in their voices...wanting to make sure their canine companion gets a better life.

What is it that you love most about Golden Retrievers? Who should consider a Golden?

The thing I love the most about golden retrievers is their "velcro" personalities. They want to be by your side 24/7 and will do anything for you. They are very smart, easily trainable and totally affectionate. Golden Retrievers are also very friendly and sociable. There truly is no other breed like it. Sure they shed, but that is what the Dyson vacuum is for! Golden retrievers (as are most large breed dogs) are prone to hip displasia. It is also common for them to suffer from allergies as well. Anyone considering a great family dog or loving companion should consider a golden retriever. They do require daily exercise and some basic obedience, but if you can commit to that, you will be rewarded a million times over. After all golden retrievers consistently rank in the top 5 dog breeds owned in North America every year, and it is for good reason. I would never be without one, two or three of them!

If people are unsure about adoption a Golden - could they try fostering?

If someone is unsure about adopting a golden, I would suggest they try to learn more about the breed first. Check out some breed specific books from your local library or even search the internet. Some easy ways to learn more about golden retrievers would be to find a friend or co-worker who has one and ask them about their canine friend. Maybe try spending some time with their dog and see what you think? Find a human friend who owns a dog and ask if you can go along with them to the dog park. There's a good chance you will meet a golden retriever there. They are very social dogs. You could also try volunteering for a rescue organization (either golden retriever specific or not). There you will develop many interactions with dogs and knowledgeable people regarding different breeds and experiences. I would recommend fostering a golden retriever but maybe as a last resort for deciding what breed of dog you are looking for. You wouldn't want to get attached to it if it wasn't what you were looking for in a canine companion.


Thanks Charney, for doing this interview and showing why RAGOM is a successful rescue. Anyone considering Minnesota Pet Adoption should consider RAGOM if a Golden Retriever is of interest. Find the Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota website at www.ragom.org

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