Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota: RAGOM is a 501(c)(3) organization, rescuing Golden Retrievers and re-homing them through adoption since 1985. Serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Frequently Asked Volunteer Questions

Have you ever thought about becoming a RAGOM volunteer, but wanted a little more information? Check out some of RAGOM's most frequently asked volunteer questions! Can't find the answer you're looking for? E-mail us at volunteerinfo@ragom.org and we'd be happy to answer your questions.

Home Visits

Foster

Transporter

What is involved in doing a home visit?

You will visit the applicant at their home with a dog and ask questions and make observations about their suitability to care for a RAGOM Golden Retriever or Golden mix. After the home visit is complete, you will write up a detailed report.

How much time does it take to do a home visit?

The home visit itself takes approximately one to two hours plus drive time and you will spend approximately another hour entering your report online. You should plan to devote approximately 3-4 hours per home visit.

Do I get to choose which visits I do?

Yes. A list is sent to all volunteers and you can offer to do whichever visit(s) you want to do.

How many home visits do I need to do?

You can volunteer to do as few or as many as you want. Some volunteers do a couple a week and some do a couple a year - you get to choose how often you want to do home visits and when it fits in your schedule.

How far will I have to travel?

You can travel as far as you like or stay as close to home as you like. Some volunteers like to drive more than others, and some prefer to only do the ones close to home.

What if I don't have a dog to bring with? Do I have to bring a Golden Retriever?

Most of the time a dog needs to go along on the home visit, but there are a few situations where the home visit can be done without a dog, such as phone visits for applicants that live in rural areas where we don't have any volunteers to do the home visit in person. You can also borrow a neighbor's, friend's, or another volunteer's dog to go on the visit with you, and no, it does not have to be a Golden Retriever.

Do I need to be a foster to do home visits?

No. You are there to evaluate the applicant's suitability to care for a RAGOM Golden Retriever, whether it is adopting or fostering our Goldens. If the applicant asks you questions about fostering that you don't know the answer to, you can tell them that they will probably learn that in foster training, or at least have the opportunity to ask their questions at that point.

Will I receive training?

Yes, you will need to attend a Home Visit Training session before you can conduct a home visit. At the training, you will learn RAGOM's policies, what questions to ask, what types of things to look for at the home visit and what to watch out for, and education you may need to provide to the applicant at the home visit. You will also receive all the forms you will need, including the Home Visit Questionnaire.

How do I get started doing home visits?

If you haven't already, you should fill out a volunteer application and indicate your interest in doing home visits. After your application is processed, the Home Visit Coordinator will contact you. If you are already a volunteer and would like to become a home visit volunteer, you can send an e-mail to hvcoordinator@ragom.org and let them know of your interest. Before doing any home visits, you will need to attend a Home Visit Training session.

back to top

What kind of car do I need? Do I need to transport all dogs in a crate?

Any kind of car as long as it is large enough to carry a Golden! Some dogs do need to be transported in crates. If a crate is required for transport, you will see the requirement in the e-mail transport request.

How far are your transports?

The length can vary depending on the transport. If you are interested in participating in the transport, but the length is too long, just respond to the transport request and state how far you are willing to drive. We will adjust the legs to accommodate you!

Does RAGOM pay for my gas/expenses? Are my expenses tax deductible?

RAGOM does not pay for your gas, however if you track the details of your transport, the expense may be tax deductable. See your tax advisor for more complete information.

back to top

Where do the dogs come from?

Dogs coming into foster care come from owner surrenders, good samaritans, humane societies, shelters, other rescues and a variety of other places.

How much time does fostering a dog take?

This depends on the dog. However, no matter which dog you foster, they all need a foster family that will give them the time and attention that they need and deserve. So, it is impossible to say, because each dog is different, but you must have time available to spend with your foster dog.

Do I need to be home all day to be a foster?

No, many of our foster homes work and are gone a full work day. There are some special circumstances in which RAGOM will not allow a dog to be fostered with a family that is gone all day – for example young puppies, some senior dogs and some medical situations.

Do I have to have a fence?

No, but it makes it easier. If you don't have a fence, you MUST keep your foster dog on a leash or a SUPERVISED tie-out at all times, when not in a fenced area. If you have an invisible fence you may not use that with a foster dog either. If you have fence, it must be secure and in good working order.

What if the foster dog doesn't work out in my home or I have questions once it get into our home?

Foster homes are assigned a mentor. Mentors are foster homes that have a lot of experience in fostering dogs. Foster help is also available. Foster help is a group of very knowledgeable volunteers that can provide help with routine, non-routine aspects of foster care. Additionally, the Foster Help Team can help with specialized behavior, medical and obedience/training questions.

What does it cost to do foster care for RAGOM?

RAGOM pays for all vetting. The only thing that you pay for is dog food, telephone calls (to talk to potential adopters) and any toys you might buy your foster dog. Some of your expenses may be tax deductable. Please see your tax advisor for more complete information.

How do I know what dog I will get?

RAGOM allows you to choose which of our incoming dogs you'd like to foster. A daily foster plea is provided and you may offer to take a dog from that list. The daily foster plea includes all the information that we have from the surrending owner/good Samariatin/humane society/animal control, and often includes a picture of the dog.

How do I give up a dog that I have fallen in love with?

RAGOM re-homes between 500-700 dogs each year. If not for our loving foster homes, we could not help these dogs. Many of the dogs RAGOM takes each year have few, if any, other options. As foster homes, we can help more Goldens by bringing a foster dog into our home and then helping it find its perfect forever home, than we can by falling in love with each foster and adopting it. Every foster home has had to deal with this very question, so as a RAGOM foster you'll be able to draw on the experience and advice of many other foster homes. As tough as it can be to say goodbye, RAGOM fosters know that their dog is going to a great forever home. And, with dogs coming into RAGOM every day, there's always another dog waiting who needs you just as much as that one did.

What can I expect in a foster dog?

Foster dogs come in all shapes and sizes — healthy/unhealthy, fearful/fearless, shy/timid to gregarious/outgoing, socialized/ unsocialized — you name it, they come that way. However they come in, it is an amazing experience to see the Golden personality come out, and your foster dog florish. You will be amazed at their spirit and you will find fostering to be very rewarding.

Where do you need foster homes?

RAGOM needs foster homes throughout Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. The number of dogs RAGOM can help each year is due, in large part, to how many foster homes we have that are willing to foster a dog. No matter which of the four states you are located in, we could definitely use your help!

back to top

What kind of car do I need? Do I need to transport all dogs in a crate?

Any kind of car as long as it is large enough to carry a Golden! Some dogs do need to be transported in crates. If a crate is required for transport, you will see the requirement in the e-mail transport request.

How far are your transports?

The length can vary depending on the transport. If you are interested in participating in the transport, but the length is too long, just respond to the transport request and state how far you are willing to drive. We will adjust the legs to accommodate you!

Does RAGOM pay for my gas/expenses? Are my expenses tax deductible?

RAGOM does not pay for your gas, however if you track the details of your transport, the expense may be tax deductable. See your tax advisor for more complete information.

back to top

How often would I have to transport?

This is entirely up to you! You can participate in transports as frequently as you choose...there is no requirement.

Will I receive training?

Yes! If you attend Foster training, transport training is part of the Foster training. If you do not Foster, we also offer transport training. The training is conducted over the phone, and lasts about 30-45 minutes.

Will I have information about the dog I'm transporting?

We include a dog bio in the transport request sent to volunteers with a brief description. Once the transport is filled, you will also receive a Transport Runsheet which includes names and contact information for all people involved in the transport, the surrendering family and the foster family. The dogís bio is also included in the Runsheet.

back to top

Are any of the dogs not friendly?

RAGOM does not accept dogs that are aggressive to humans but it is possible you may be dealing with a scared dog. Please be sure to read the dog bio to understand the background of the dog and their transport needs (crate required, martingale collar, etc). We do everything possible to ensure your safety as well as the safety of the dogs we are transporting.

Can I take non-trained people (my kids or my dogs) with me on transports?

Yes, you can take non-trained people with you; however we recommend that you not bring your dog. Children can accompany you, but please keep in mind your focus should be on the dog(s). The transport process can be stressful on dogs so we want to limit any additional factors that may create more stress. Also, some of the dogs we transport may not get along with children or other dogs. We donít always know how the dog will react and we want everyone to be safe.

I donít have an e-mail account; can I still be a transporter?

Yes! Just let the transport coordination team know the best method to contact you.

back to top

© 2009 Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED