Volunteers Needed

Ruff Start Rescue is a foster-based rescue, dedicated to saving the lives of at-risk animals. The Rescue relies enormously on volunteers and is always looking for more help!

Both onsite and remote volunteer positions are available. Please view our current volunteer opportunities listed below, then complete a volunteer application and indicate which position(s) you’re interested in.

Once you submit your application, our volunteer department will reach out and invite you to attend an online volunteer orientation.

We are looking for volunteers to help care for, play with, and maintain the cats and cat rooms. As a Cat Caretaker for Ruff Start Rescue, you will be required to help out 1-2 hours a week at the office located in Princeton, MN. This is a minimum for hours required. The cats are counting on you so you would pick one day per week and stick with a consistent schedule. You will help keep the cat exploration and cat isolation rooms clean by changing bedding, cleaning the litter boxes, as well as doing some spot cleaning. You will also provide food and water, groom the cats, and play with them. Currently we are seeking volunteers for AM (8:30am or 9:00am) & PM (4:00pm or 5:00pm). You would pick one day and stick with that shift on a weekly basis. Weekend help is also needed.

Specific Job Skills and Requirements:

  • Must be 18+ and have a valid driver’s license
    • Minors 16 and older may volunteer with a parent/guardian consent form on file
  • Ability to work courteously and cooperatively with all members of RSR and the public.
  • Work as a team player, supporting the overall goals of the organization.
  • Strong interpersonal skills – outgoing, patient, professional, and able to get along well with a variety of people.
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks and work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Maturity, good judgment, and professional personal demeanor.
  • Ability to show compassion and empathy.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to read, write, and understand English.
  • Proficiency using Gmail preferred, including google drive (was google docs)
  • Ability to take initiative and work with minimal supervision and direction at times.
  • Well organized.
  • Respect for all people and animals.
  • Demonstrate affection for animals and concern for their welfare.
  • Ability to handle stressful or awkward situations with new fosters or RSR volunteers.
  • Understanding of all animals that might be placed within RSR, especially cats and kittens.
  • Familiarity with animals, knowledge of animal behavior, and experience working with animal welfare programs is preferred.

Reports to: Volunteer Manager

Availability: At least 1 day per week. 1-2 hour minimum per week depending on the number of cats occupying each room. Morning or evening shift. Needs to be as consistent as possible but can be flexible if needed at times. If you are unable to make it on your assigned day, please notify the Volunteer Manager as soon as possible. This helps to ensure that the cats receive the proper care in a timely manner.

Cleaning Duties:

  • Clean litter box
  • Change bedding (as needed)
  • Spot clean room (items below as needed)
    • Sweep
    • Mop
    • Wipe down surfaces
    • Clean windows

Cat Care Duties:

  • Provide food
    • Feeding instruction are found on the kennel card on the door
  • Provide water
  • Brush (as needed)
  • Play / pet
  • Give medications as needed and instructed

Administrative Duties:

  • Review the profile of each cat
  • Read and update checklist and records
  • Keep an inventory of supplies
    • Notify Volunteer Manager when supplies are getting low
  • Report any updates, concerns, questions, etc. to the Volunteer Manager

The Donation Coordinator position will assist the leadership team in coordinating volunteers to transport donations via social media and email. The Donation Coordinator will also be responsible for getting information to the social media team to develop recognition posts when appropriate.

Reports to:

Development Director


  • Respond to donation emails, phone calls and private Facebook messages within 1-2 hours of initial contact from donor.
  • Coordinate transport of donations to the rescue office through social media or email.
  • Send contact and donation information to donation recorders to process receipts and thank yous.
  • Send information to social media team to post thank yous on social media when needed.
  • Work closely with the leadership team and internal volunteers to assist in coordinating donation requests.

Qualifications/Skill Set:

  • Must be very active on social media and check emails several times daily. 
  • Have great customer service skills and promote professionalism at all times.
  • Must own smart phone
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to track donation requests from start to finish.
  • Ability to multitask
  • Stay up-to-date on supply needs of the organization

Time Commitment:

  • The first through third quarters will require 2-3 hours of work weekly. The fourth quarter will average 5 hours weekly.

As is the case with many rescues, before an animal can be adopted or a new foster can start taking in animals, Ruff Start Rescue requires that a home visit be completed. The following information is designed to provide an overview of the home visit process and an understanding of its importance in the placement of animals.

Why do we require home visits?

People often wonder why home visits are required to adopt or foster an animal. The simple answer is that many of the animals come to Ruff Start Rescue from some very unfortunate situations. We want to do our best to make sure that they are going somewhere that is safe and where they will be loved and well cared for.

How does the home visit process work?

After someone submits an application to adopt or foster there are a number of things that happen behind the scenes. One is the home visit request. RSR has several volunteers who are Home Visit Coordinators. When a request for a home visit is submitted, these dedicated volunteers jump into action trying to find someone to complete the home visit. An email is sent out to volunteers asking for someone to complete the home visit. Once a volunteer picks up the request, he or she contacts the family and schedules the virtual home visit. When the home visit is complete, the volunteer fills out a home visit form electronically via Right Signature, and the adopter/foster moves to the next step in the process which hopefully means being approved to take in the animal.

What is it like to do a home visit?

Home visits are simple and only take about 15 minutes to do the actual visit. For your first visit, we will send an intro email that explains what to do along with the home visit form so you know what to look for and what questions to ask. What we are looking for is to verify that it is a safe environment and that what the potential foster or adopter told us on their application is true.

You will virtually walk through the home with the applicant to check out the areas that the animal will have access to. Where will the animal stay most of the time? Are there plans to keep it outdoors? Is there a fence? If so, how high? Is it in good condition, etc.?

Check out the condition of any other animals in the home. Do they look well cared for? How does the family interact with them? How do the animals react? If there are children in the home, are they respectful of the animals? Would you feel comfortable leaving your pet in the care of the family?

After the home visit is complete, there is the home visit form that needs to be filled out and submitted. The Home Visit Coordinator will send this form via email. It only takes about 5 minutes to fill out and submit. When the form is submitted, it is sent to the Application Manager handling the application to review and finalize the foster/adoption process.

As a Ruff Start Rescue Receptionist, we are looking for volunteers to help greet and assist fosters, volunteers, and the public as they come to gather supplies or find out how they can help Ruff Start Rescue! Receptionists will be at the front desk Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. As a receptionist for Ruff Start Rescue, you will be required to help out 2 – 4 hours a week between the times of 9am and 5pm at the office located in Princeton, MN. Normal shifts would be 9:00am – 1:00pm or 1:00pm to 5:00pm. This is a minimum for hours required. As an RSR Receptionist, you will pick at least one day per week and stick with a consistent schedule. You will be at the reception desk to greet individuals, provide resources, and answer questions, as well as help with miscellaneous administrative tasks.

Reception Area:

  • Assemble adoption folders (cat and dog)*
  • Make sure the open/closed sign is flipped to “open”
  • File vet records
  • Packages – open and remove packing slips. If multiple slips in a box, please make sure to staple together. Bring donations to the back transport room and put away*
  • Record donations (on donations slip) and bring back to the transport room and put away*
  • Cardboard boxes: break down and get to the recycling bins
  • Stuff education committee bags (if there is an upcoming presentation)
  • Clean bathroom – restock bathroom towels. (find nicer clean towels in the transport room to fill back up on the shelf)

Office Area:

(when doing items, not in the reception area, be sure to listen for door ding) 

  • Keep the laundry going*
  • Put away any blankets/towels on the shelf in the transport room
  • Sweep or vacuum if needed (located in cleaning closet with the curtain in the hallway between reception and office area)
  • Load or unload the dishwasher with cat food dishes

Transport Room:

(when doing items, not in the reception area, be sure to listen for door ding) 

  • Organize/put away items
  • Make transport bags (if there is an upcoming transport)


(when doing items, not in the reception area, be sure to listen for door ding) 

  • Water and deadhead potted flowers outside
  • Water tree alongside building (10 minutes)*
  • Clean and bring in any crates left outside.
  • Check and refill bird feeders (birdseed located in the back hallway by Azure’s office in purple tote).
  • Clean out any cat kennels if dirty and have a sign asking to be cleaned.

high priority items

The Transport Coordinator position is a critical internal role, this role will be connecting Ruff Start Rescue transport needs with Ruff Start Rescue Transport Volunteers. The Transport Coordinator is responsible for sending out a bulk email to volunteers willing to help with transporting and also posting a Facebook Post if necessary regarding transport needs. This position will require access to the internet and the availability to be able to check emails multiple times throughout the day and evening. All transportation requests need to be sent out within 24 – 48 hours of the email request.

Specific job skills and requirements:

  • Must be able to have access to internet
  • Must be able to check email multiple times in a day.
  • Must have basic knowledge of database and spreadsheets
  • Must be detail-oriented
  • Must have good communication skills
  • Must be able to understand the mapping system
  • Follow a checklist and make sure the steps are completed and have follow-through


The time required for this position could be anywhere from 5-10 hours a week.

Detailed Description:

The Transportation Coordinator will work closely with the Foster Managers and Impound Intake Coordinators to get transportation requests done in a timely and efficient manner.  As a Transport Coordinator, you must have excellent communication skills as you will be the person of contact between the transport volunteer and the one who needs their animal(s) transported.

As a Transportation Coordinator, you will be responsible for updating the Transportation Request database with the Ruff Start volunteer that accepts the transport request. The Transport Coordinator will also learn about the RSR mapping system, this will help to see what volunteers are closest to the area that requires the transportation and how to use Rescue Groups to find the necessary information to send out to the volunteer.

The Transportation Coordinator will have to be familiar with Facebook and how to post on the volunteer page, this will only happen if there is no response from the bulk email in 24hrs.  When posting on the Facebook page, the Transport Coordinator will be responsible for keeping track of the Facebook post and email the Foster Manager/Impound Intake Coordinator, the foster, and the volunteer that responded to make sure everyone is aware of the status.

  • Be responsible for sending out a bulk email to all transport volunteers.
  • Be responsible for posting on the Volunteer Facebook page if there is no response in 24 hrs from the email that was sent out.
  • If posting on Facebook, you will need to let the Foster Manager/Impound Intake Coordinator know that the volunteer can do it by sending out the connection email to the volunteer and foster and also cc’ing the Foster Manager/Impound Intake Coordinator
  • Keep an updated database of volunteers that help with transportation.

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