Why We Do What We Do, by Azure Davis

Mission Statement: Ruff Start Rescue is dedicated to saving the lives of at-risk animals. We also collaborate, communicate, and educate about the importance of animal rescue and welfare.


Vision Statement: We strive for a world where every companion animal has a safe and loving forever home.

Since I founded the rescue in 2010, our mission and vision statements have continually flooded my thoughts. Ruff Start has remained vigilant to those sentences throughout its existence, something I am wholeheartedly proud of every single day. Now, ahead of Give to the Max Day, I wanted to remind you just how we showcase our mission and vision every single day.

How Does Ruff Start Fulfill its Mission?

We show up for animals that need us.

Each year, over 625,000 animals are euthanized in the United States, according to Best Friends Animal Society. (By my estimation, that number is extremely low, considering not every shelter reports their data to Best Friends at this time. If I were to guess, I’d guess the more realistic figure is closer to 1 million or more.) These pets are usually healthy, highly adoptable animals who are lost due to overpopulation, spatial restraints, and other completely avoidable reasons. Ruff Start shows up for these animals: we save, on average, eight animals a day and have rescued over 14,500 since I founded the rescue ten years ago.

Jackie-O before, rescued June 2020
Jackie-O before, rescued June 2020.
Jackie-O after, now known as Tater Tot
Jackie-O after, now known as Tater Tot.

We give people an opportunity to use their passion to change the world.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers and fosters, Ruff Start has placed thousands of animals with families who will love them while literally saving innocent lives in the process. These volunteers and fosters have all come together to form a tight-knit community dedicated to creating a better world for animals. Without Ruff Start, the ability to give back to the animals – their cause of choice – would not exist, and thousands of families would be without their favorite furry and feathered family members.

Rosie before, rescued July 2020
Rosie before, rescued July 2020.
Rosie after, in her foster home turned forever home
Rosie after, in her foster home turned forever home.

We educate those who will eventually create a drastic change in animal welfare.

Education is one of my biggest passions, because guiding people to do what’s right is the only way we will build a better world for animals. Ruff Start’s education committee frequently presents to people of all ages, teaching them the importance of our life-saving work – especially focused on children, because they will one day grow up to be the future generation of animal rescuers.

Kittee before, rescued August 2020
Kittee before, rescued August 2020.
Kittee after, in her foster home
Kittee after, in her foster home.

We serve as a resource for both people AND pets.

Between our consistent donations to local food pantries, the ability to provide veterinary care for community cats through our trap-neuter-return program and the capability to take in both stray and owned animals, we are proud to help both people AND pets.

Pepper before, rescued August 2020
Pepper before, rescued August 2020.
Pepper after, in her foster home
Pepper after, in her foster home.

While animal rescue and welfare have dramatically improved since Ruff Start first launched, our work is not done. We won’t stop until there are no longer animals that need us; until children no longer need educating; until laws that punish animal abuse and neglect are strong, enforceable, and standard. We still have so much work to do. And we can’t do it without your help.

This Give to the Max Day, I urge you to remember Ruff Start.

Remember how we’ve lived our mission and vision since day one.

Remember how we’ve navigated this pandemic, despite losing our entire year’s worth of event revenue, with grace and strength, and have saved more lives than ever before.

Remember how each year, we raise 20% of our veterinary expenses on this day alone, and build next year’s budget based on one special day’s donations.

Remember how much good we do every single day for animals like RosieKitteeJackie-O, and thousands of others who rely on us for a shot at a life worth living.

Remember how much we need you and your donations to continue this lifesaving work.

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