To read more about Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota and dogs still seeking homes, click here for LakeVoice's slideshow of available dogs. It all began on Valentine’s Day 1985, according Jane Nygaard, founder of Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota. Rescuing one Golden Retriever was all it took, and soon enough RAGOM was founded.
The organization's main goal is to rescue and find homes for Golden Retrievers. Since it began in 1985, RAGOM “has re-homed more than 6,000 Golden Retrievers,” according to their website.
“The money all goes back to the dogs,” Nygaard said. “No one is here on payroll.”
Faith is one of those 6,000 dogs. With a ton of energy and a long wagging tail, this particular puppy just celebrated her first birthday. She’s friendly, curious and loves attention.
She’s a mix of Golden Retriever, Yellow Lab and Australian Shepard.
Faith, however, is not a typical dog. Faith has never had the ability to see.
Faith, along with two of her siblings, had been picked up from her birth home by Denise Anderman. Anderman found an ad on Craigslist and contacted the owner. They agreed to put the puppies into the RAGOM program
Anderman brought Faith and her siblings to their first foster family with Laurie Thulien.
“They played together and were happy-go-lucky,” recalls Anderman. “We knew they had good personalities.”
Thulien became the foster mom to these three young puppies for their first two weeks in the program. She talked about how they put a gate up so the puppies would stay in one part of the house, but this didn't stop Faith from exploring.
“Faith immediately scoped everything out,” Thulien said.“Faith wanted to learn, wanted to live, and was super happy.”
According to Kim Forsythe, Faith's current owner, she and her husband Dean adopted Faith from RAGOM when she was nine months old. Kim is also a volunteer with the RAGOM program.
Faith doesn’t let being blind slow her down. She’s just used to living her life differently than a typical dog. She has to rely completely on her sense of smell and sound.
“It took her several months, but she’s mapped her way around the house,” Forsythe said.
That’s not to say the family doesn’t help her out.
“Faith is aware of the command stop and knows she will probably run into something when someone yells stop,” Forsythe said.
Kim and Dean own two other dogs, Sara and Angie. These dogs help Faith out as well.
“Faith got loose and Dean said, ‘Angie, we got to go get the baby’ and Angie took off and grabbed her by the collar and brought her back,” Forsythe recalls.
Forsythe said Faith loves playing. She loves any toy that makes noise.
New things do not terrify Faith, but instead intrigue her.
“She absolutely loves snow," Forsythe said. "She isn’t afraid of anything."
Kim would love to train Faith as a therapy dog.
“Every day she amazes me at how well she adapts to her surroundings,” Forsythe said.
Anything is possible, sometimes all it takes is a little bit of faith.