Dogs inspire us to do all sorts of wonderful things with our lives - from socializing, to getting more exercise, or in Ellyn's case, her dog inspired her to open a store dedicated to animals.
Shop Dog Boutique is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The store focuses on local and natural food and toys but also carries a wide selection of top of the line pet products.
While being one of the few dog boutiques in town, Shop Dog Boutique also loves to help dogs. One of their most cherished rescues is RAGOM. Shop Dog Boutique frequently hosts adopt-a-thons for the organization and has made many loyal customers from the events. We caught up with RAGOM and talked about what they do and how they are making the world safer for Golden Retrievers.
Tell us how RAGOM started:
Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota, Inc. (RAGOM) has been rescuing golden retrievers since 1985. The organization started with one homeless Golden Retriever whose time was up at a shelter. Hank and Jane Nygaard rescued her, provided for all her vaccinations and spay surgery, and found her a forever home. After the first rescue, the Nygaard’s discovered more precious goldens needed to find homes due to unending streams of phone calls, middle of the night "come get this dog now, or else" messages, and terribly abused or neglected dogs. These incidences didn’t deter them, but rather made them more determined than ever to help these beautiful animals. With continued help by many loyal volunteers, RAGOM kept growing with the mission of finding wonderful "happy ending" stories for golden retrievers.
With an ever-growing group of volunteers, RAGOM has re-homed more than 6,000 golden retrievers. We are now in a new era of RAGOM, with a dedicated effort to organize the group, expand our rescue area and utilize all the resources of the Internet to help more goldens than ever before!
Tell us about how Shop Dog Boutique has helped your rescue.
Ellyn at Shop Dog Boutique graciously hosts three meet & greets for us each year and helps us promote them. She provides door prizes from her store for our Pins for Paws bowling fundraiser. On Valentine’s Day, she ordered custom red and white RAGOM dog biscuits, and gave the proceeds to the organization. In the summer, she helped us get air time on a local radio station as part of their Crazy Days celebration. She even provides us with free food samples to help us find the food that’s best for each foster dog, and gives us demo toys so our fosters can see which toys they like.
RAGOM relies on the financial support of donors and businesses to make our work possible. Many of the dogs that come to RAGOM have extensive medical needs, and their care is very costly. The support received from businesses like Shop Dog Boutique makes our work possible.
What are some of your most memorable rescues that you've participated in?
Most recently, the rescue of Sage 15-276 and Zoey 15-275. They were seen living on their own in the woods of Northern Minnesota, probably since June 2015. A good samaritan in the area was feeding them and trying to capture them with no success. In October, a group called the Retrievers was called in and they were successful in capturing both of the dogs. After at least five months on their own, they were safe. Both have thrived in foster care and Sage has already found her forever home.
In October 2015, RAGOM embarked on its first international rescue mission in Turkey. Turkey has long had a huge stray dog population. Recently, golden retrievers joined that population and thousands were on the streets, in the shelters, and in the forests of Instanbul - all homeless. As a breed specific rescue and knowing that we had amazing homes for these dogs, we reached out to help. In coordination with Adopt a Golden Atlanta, these Golden's made the long journey to America and found loving homes. On October 18th, RAGOM welcomed 15 of these beautiful dogs to Minnesota.
What are some of the common issues that homeless golden retrievers face?
While some dogs come from loving homes going through a rough time, a huge majority of our dogs come with issues. They have lived on the street, been abused, neglected, over-bred, or under-socialized. They have limited, if any, training, and many have never seen a vet. They need love, patience, training, and sometimes need to work with behaviourists. Many are scared and frightened at this change in their lives and don't realize that their lives, when they entered a RAGOM foster home, have just changed for the better. Until they learn to adjust to their new environment, they need love, patience, and time. Since our dogs come from so many different situations, their characteristics are varied and range from a typical happy, outgoing golden to a shut-down, almost catatonic with fear golden who has never experienced a loving human touch.
Shop Dog Boutique and Retrieve A Golden Of Minnesota are a perfect pair of passionate people looking to make the world a better place for dogs!