How you can help animals during COVID-19 outbreak

During this unprecedented time, nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. And while we can’t control what’s happening right now, we’re focusing on what we can control and the good that we can still do for animals in need. Ruff Start Rescue is operating, processing adoptions, accepting new foster applications, and looking for volunteers, all while following the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Minnesota Department of Health to keep our fosters, volunteers, and staff safe and healthy. To continue working safely while saving as many animals as we can, we have new protocols in place, including:
  • Implementing Virtual Home Visits for new fosters and adopters to remove volunteer and adopter/foster contact.
  • Providing supplies for foster homes with pre-arranged outdoor pick-up at supply houses and the Ruff Start office along with starting a drive-through system for fosters to drop off and pick up their animals for vetting appointments.
  • Going virtual with our Volunteer Orientations to minimize in-person meetings.
  • Having Ruff Start staff work remotely to ensure daily operations continue, including overseeing more than 350 animals in rescue.
Across the country right now, animals entering shelters or rescues are steadily increasing while adoptions are slowing down. In addition, many municipal shelters are closing their doors to the public, being deemed as ‘non-essential.’ This is leading to overcrowding and unnecessary lives being lost.
While our physical office is closed to the public, Ruff Start Rescue staff are still working diligently to provide animals in need of a safe place to lay their paws. Now, more than ever, we need our community of supporters to help us save lives.
Here’s how you can help:
  • DONATE! Please consider donating to support the hundreds of animals in Ruff Start’s care right now. While donating funds is the best way to help because they allow us to respond to needs as they change, we are also accepting in-kind animal supply donations.* Check out our Amazon wish list for our most needed items. If you do not have any extra funds to spare right now we understand. Sending good thoughts and well-wishes to animals in need now is also greatly appreciated.
  • ADOPT! Are you or someone you know ready to add a furry friend to their family? There are hundreds of animals waiting for their forever family – could one of them be yours?
  • VOLUNTEER! We have so many opportunities that are 100% remote, including creative writing, graphic designers, and administrative volunteer roles.
  • FOSTER! As a foster-based rescue, we can only save as many animals as we have foster homes. Learn more here.
Kitten dressed in superman dress costume

For up-to-date information about Ruff Start Rescue’s adoption process and other activities, please visit our blog.

*With some exceptions, Ruff Start Rescue is not arranging volunteer pick-up of in-kind animal supply donations at this time to keep our in-kind donors and volunteers safe. If you have supplies and want to know if we’re able to take them, please email

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