Connecting People & Pets

Lifesaving isn’t always easy, but it’s what we do – all thanks to our expansive network of staff, fosters, volunteers, donors, and adopters. Your support allows us to do whatever it takes to save at-risk companion animals.

Who We Are

Since our foundation in 2010, we’ve been devoted to rescuing stray, neglected, abandoned, and surrendered animals in need.


By adopting from Ruff Start, you’re making the world a better place for both pets and people – as well as growing your family dynamic in one of the most fulfilling and heartwarming ways possible.


Opening your home to a foster pet makes you a lifesaver. There’s absolutely nothing like it – it’s life changing. We’re always in need of new foster homes. Want to become a superhero?


Volunteers are the reason Ruff Start can continue its mission and vision. With both local and remote opportunities available, there’s a role for everyone to play in our lifesaving efforts.

Find Your New Bestie

Try our new Compawtibility Quizzes to find your ideal furry friend.
Available for both cats and dogs!

Featured Ruff Start Adoptable

Ruff Start News

3 reasons to become an animal foster
Preventing Pet Loss
Service, emotional support and therapy animals – what’s the difference?

Help Us Save Lives

2020 | 2023 Points of Light Certified Service Enterprise
2023 Neighborhood FAVE NextDoor
Combined Federal Campaign
Kennel license issued by the MN Board of Animal Health #MN939947. Ruff Start is 100% foster-based but has kennels for temporary housing.
Ruff Start Rescue