RAMSEY, Minn. (KMSP) - 15 golden retrievers rescued from streets of Istanbul, Turkey arrived in Minnesota Friday night to find their forever homes. The golden retrievers were among 50,000 stray dogs currently roaming the streets of Turkey, cast-offs from a fad from nearly a decade ago.
“Now that they're no longer seen as this elite symbol, they estimate there's over 500 purebred Golden Retrievers running the streets of Istanbul at any given time and in the forests as well,” Stephanie Perri, a member of Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota, or RAGOM, said.
RAGOM volunteers picked up the dogs from the airport in Chicago on Friday night and brought them to Minnesota, where they are staying with foster families until they are adopted.
The golden retrievers are more likely to find a home here, where they are the third most popular dog breed in the United States, according to Perri.
“They're great family dogs,” Perri said. “You have kids you can't ask for a better companion.”
The first rescue of dogs from Turkey came in May by a golden retriever rescue group in Atlanta. Since then, they’ve brought over a total of 75 dogs.
“They've reached out to RAGOM and asked if we want to help and we said we absolutely wanted to,” Perri said. “So we started coordinating this mission in June.”
RAGOM started fundraising, finding foster homes, adoptees and new Minnesota-inspired names for the dogs, such as Prince, Tonka, Ely and Linus.
RAGOM hopes to bring over another group of Turkish golden retrievers in the spring.
If you'd like to help cover the cost of the rescue you can donate here.