15 stray golden retrievers rescued from Turkey, brought to Minnesota for adoption

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It's not uncommon for rescue groups to bring in dogs from other parts of the country, but for the first time a Twin Cities rescue group is taking in strays from across the world. On Friday, the rescue group, Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota, or RAGOM, is picking up 15 pure bred golden retrievers from Istanbul, Turkey and putting them up for adoption.

The golden retrievers were among the 50,000 stray dogs currently roaming the streets of Turkey. A web search of dogs in Turkey takes you to headlines and photos of a massive stray population in the country. There are Youtube videos dedicated to documenting how many dogs there are how poor of shape they're in.

The pure bred golden retrievers are cast-offs of a fad from about a decade ago. The dogs are more likely to find homes in the U.S., where they are the third most popular dog breed. 

“They're great family dogs,” Stephanie Perri, a member of the rescue group said. “You have kids you can't ask for a better companion.”

“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,” Perri said.

“They need passports which one wouldn't necessarily think for dogs, but each is coming over with their own health certificate and passport..

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 and finding foster homes, adoptees and new Minnesota-inspired names for the dogs, such as Prince, Tonka, Ely and Linus.

The dogs are flying into Chicago on Friday, where RAGOM volunteers will pick them up and drive them to the Twin Cities.

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.