The Story of Marshall

Update: We’ve just spoken with the surgeon, and it appears Marshall sustained an injury to his femur over two weeks ago, with the healing process already underway. The part of the injury that extends into the joint capsule is fresh. It seems likely that Marshall initially injured his leg, then exacerbated or worsened the injury by playing over the weekend. Unfortunately, due to the healing process that has begun, he is unable to manipulate his leg effectively to facilitate healing.
To prevent Marshall from experiencing future arthritis, pain, and knee complications, we regrettably need to amputate his leg today.
Fourteen-week-old Marshall is about to undergo surgery.
This sweet pup was rescued from a local impound last week after his owner’s arrest. Marshall landed safely in a Ruff Start foster home but got a little carried away playing with his foster siblings, resulting in a fracture to his femur at the knee/growth plate. He’s now on his way to Pet Central for surgery. During the procedure, the veterinarians will evaluate the fracture (likely a Type 3 or 4 Salter-Harris of the distal femur) and perform the necessary repairs, the specifics of which will be determined once they are in there and can assess the situation.
Marshall is a delightful companion, thriving on playtime and cuddles with his dog friends. He also has a knack for understanding cats, even if he occasionally forgets that not all of them want to play tag! With his excellent training, accidents are rare, and he’s quick to learn commands. Most of all, Marshall is a people pup, spreading love and happiness wherever he goes. Whether he’s out for a stroll or playing with his favorite squeaky toys, Marshall’s zest for life is truly infectious!
Your support today is crucial in getting Marshall back to his foster home, his furry friends, and eventually his new family. The cost of Marshall’s surgery could reach up to $3,000, not including future medical care like a neuter, microchip, and additional vaccines. Your donation will help cover these costs and ensure Marshall gets the care he needs to thrive. Please donate today and help us give this playful puppy the surgery he needs!

The Story of Otter

8-year-old Otter was found roaming the streets of Milaca with no family to call his own.
When he made his way to Ruff Start, his new life began. Upon his arrival, it became apparent that Otter was facing a multitude of medical challenges. From the need for crucial dental work to a cherry eye repair and an unsettling mass on his abdomen, his path to health was paved with obstacles. Today, Otter finds himself under the expert care of Ruff Start’s dedicated veterinarians, undergoing the necessary procedures to ensure his well-being.
Despite his hardships, Otter’s spirit remains undaunted. With an innate love for people and an adventurous soul, he eagerly embraces every car ride and walks obediently by your side. He’s incredibly affectionate, seeking out snuggles on laps or nearby, and showcases his intelligence through quick obedience and a desire to please. Otter is a natural at playtime. His enthusiasm shines brightest when engaging in games of fetch or sharing moments with other canine companions.
Otter is more than just a pet—he is a cherished member of his foster-to-adopt family and is ready to shower them with love, loyalty, and tail wags for the rest of his days. But first, this vital medical care must be taken care of. Your generosity can make all the difference in securing the bright future Otter so deserves. Will you lend a helping hand by donating to cover his essential expenses?

The Story of Spott

Spott is at the vet and needs your help now!
Scheduled for heartworm treatment at a clinic in St. Cloud tomorrow, 4-year-old Spott’s plans took an unexpected turn when his foster-to-adopt family noticed he was unwell. Struggling with acute vomiting and diarrhea, this lovable 8-pounder was swiftly brought to Southview Animal Hospital in St. Paul for immediate attention. The diagnosis: pancreatitis and a potential foreign object in his system.
Now, Spott is receiving around-the-clock care, including fluids and anti-nausea medication, with a scheduled reevaluation and x-rays tomorrow morning to assess his progress. However, this unexpected health setback means his heartworm treatment must be postponed, and we’re facing additional costs of $1,500+ for his overnight stay.
Originally hailing from Turks and Caicos, Spott has had a remarkable journey. Rescued and transferred through our #LoneStarToNorthStar Rescue Relief Program from an SPCA in Texas, he found his way to Minnesota. With his gentle nature and endless affection, Spott has captured the hearts of everyone he encounters, finding solace in snuggles and showering his humans with love.
Your generous support will play a vital role in reuniting Spott with his foster-to-adopt family. Every contribution, regardless of size, will profoundly impact this resilient pup’s journey.

The Story of Martha

This week, Martha’s life was saved.
Martha, a 3-year-old stray, was discovered in the cities and brought to a local impound, where it was clear she was in dire need of help. Recognizing the severity of her condition, the impound team rushed her to an emergency clinic.
Upon examination, Martha was found to be limping on her front left leg, underweight, and with very pale gums. Radiographs revealed possible bone chip fragments in her left wrist, alongside multiple apparent bite wounds and scars on both front legs. Bloodwork indicated significant anemia, which could be related to infection or an autoimmune disease called Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), where the body attacks its own red blood cells, leading to dangerously low red blood cell counts.
Sadly, lacking the necessary resources, the impound was unable to provide Martha with the care she desperately needed. Fortunately, they reached out to their network of rescues, and just in time, a Ruff Start foster stepped up to save Martha’s life.
Upon joining the rescue, Martha was immediately examined by our vetting team and started on medication to address her anemia. She was also tested for heartworm and tick diseases and sent home with dewormer.
Despite her challenging condition, Martha’s sweet nature shines through as she wags her tail when receiving attention, especially when offered food or treats. Her foster reports that Martha particularly loves her cookies! While she is currently resting and receiving medication, treats, and plenty of love, Martha remains timid and appears to be in pain. However, in the last 24 hours, a spark has returned to her eyes, and she is showing signs of improvement, moving better with each passing hour.
Our vetting team will continue closely monitoring Martha’s condition and bloodwork as she faces a long road to recovery. While we are hopeful for a full recovery, Martha is still far from being out of the woods. Once stable, she will require comprehensive veterinary care, including spaying, microchipping, and vaccinations. Additionally, she has a few broken teeth that will need to be extracted.
Your generous donations will ensure Martha receives the care she needs for a brighter future ahead.

The Story of Poppie

Poppie is with our veterinary team today for emergency surgery!
1-year-old Poppie recently joined the Ruff Start family from a local impound. Last week, she underwent essential procedures like spaying, microchipping, FeLV/FIV testing, vaccinations, and deworming, all of which went smoothly.
Unfortunately, yesterday, Poppie began showing worrying symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite. Despite receiving fluids and anti-nausea medication, her condition persisted. A subsequent ultrasound revealed a suspicious mass in her stomach, suggesting a possible blockage. To investigate further, our veterinary team will perform an abdominal exploratory surgery today.
From the moment Poppie arrived, she has captured our hearts with her sweet and affectionate nature. She’s a purring machine, loves making her kitty biscuits, and craves attention. Witnessing her in discomfort is truly heartbreaking.
We are committed to ensuring Poppie’s well-being and are determined to help her through this challenging time. Your support and positive thoughts are greatly appreciated as we strive to provide Poppie with the best care possible.

The Story of Chefy

Life hasn’t been the easiest for Chefy.
At 14 years old, he was found with a large wound on his upper back and taken to a local shelter. There, he was provided with medication and, luckily, quickly found his way into a Ruff Start foster home on Tuesday.
Today, he visited for a complete examination, and unfortunately, his health is dire. Chefy is diabetic and has a troubling skin condition, extreme dandruff, and possible mites. With high liver values and glucose levels, Chefy’s health hangs in the balance, but he hasn’t lost his spirit.
Despite his ailments, Chefy has the biggest heart. Beneath his grumpy exterior lies a loving soul, eager for chin scratches and playtime with his beloved ball toys. Even during his vet visit, he was a trooper, showing resilience and affection.
Now, Chefy faces a tough road ahead. His age and condition make every day a battle, with his quality of life under constant scrutiny. But he’s not giving up, and neither are we.
We’re rallying around Chefy, providing him with the best medical care possible. But we can’t do it alone. Please consider donating and keeping Chefy in your thoughts as he fights for his well-deserved retirement.

The Story of BigBoy

Parvo. A word no rescuer ever wants to hear, and one we have heard far too frequently in recent months.
4-month-old BigBoy joined Ruff Start last Thursday after his owner faced challenges finding homes for the remaining puppies from an unexpected litter. Luckily, a compassionate Ruff Start foster, who already had BigBoy’s sister Ravven under their care, opened their heart and home to this little guy as well.
This past weekend, BigBoy was all smiles, soaking up love and settling into his foster home like a champ. However, today, he hit a rough patch. His foster noticed a sudden change—his eyes lost their sparkle, his energy waned, and he struggled with vomiting and lethargy. Rushed to Granite City, he was diagnosed with parvo and received immediate treatment to ease his symptoms.
Now back home, BigBoy’s foster is tirelessly caring for him, administering fluids to keep him hydrated and comfortable. But we need your help. If his condition doesn’t improve, hospitalization may be necessary. Within the next 24 hours, we’ll have a clearer picture of his prognosis.
BigBoy is more than just a pup—he’s a spirited, loving soul with a heart of gold! He adores children, delights in playtime with his sister and their foster sibling, and is mastering the art of leash walking with enthusiasm.
Your donation can make a world of difference for BigBoy. Every contribution brings us closer to seeing that wagging tail and infectious joy once again.

A letter from Azure Davis, Founder & Executive Director

12 days ago, I put out an urgent plea for help with 5 puppies (what ended up being 6 puppies) who needed placement.
They had arrived at our rescue office in Princeton, and the gentleman who brought them in needed help. We were grateful that he asked for our help, knowing that he could no longer give them the care they deserved. These puppies, 4.5 months old and already 40lbs, were timid, fearful, and didn’t know how to be “a puppy.”
Their living conditions and the environment where they were raised didn’t allow them the space they needed for exercise or the socialization a puppy needs. We noticed a couple of them would spin in circles continuously when excited, most likely because this is how they would get their energy out in their previous, smaller space. We are not set up to house dogs on-site, and unfortunately, we had nowhere to place them at the time, as we only have a few kennel runs at our office to house the animals who come in for surgery days. They aren’t intended for long stays, and we don’t have staff to check in on them after hours or over the weekend.
We didn’t want to say no to these puppies in need, but we had limited resources at the time. It put us in a really tough situation, but we decided to take the chance at taking them in and hoping the animal lovers in the community would rally together with us and find placement.
Needless to say, it was a success! Thanks to so many of you sharing the story, we were able to find fosters, AND even some adopters, for all of them within a day! Even after 14 years of running the rescue, I continue to be blown away by how amazing our community is. At Ruff Start, we don’t always have all of the answers or the resources, but together, we can, and on this day, we did! Thank you for making this possible!
I wanted to share some updates and the impact that was made by everyone coming together. Here are all six: Diego, Mario, Peach, Zumi, Kirby, and Brutis, living their best lives, coming out of their shells, snuggling with their humans, learning to trust, and being treated the way they should be. They will never know what it’s like to be neglected again.
To continue this type of work and continue to be a resource people and pets can rely on, we need donations. On average, each animal that comes into rescue costs around $350 between vet care and supplies. That is $2,100 just for these six puppies. On average, we rescue around 250-300 animals each month. That’s nearly $100,000 each month that we need to raise to continue this important, lifesaving work. We do not receive state or federal funding, so our entire mission rides on the compassionate, generous, and incredible individual donations that we receive from our amazing community.
We understand this is a huge ask, but we see the love and passion we all carry together to ensure these animals live full lives. We saw it last Monday with these six puppies, and we continue to see it every single day by working together. I am hoping this plea will reach MORE animal lovers and, together, raise more donations to continue this incredible work that I know we can accomplish together. Every dollar adds up. Thank you for your support and for believing in RSR!
-Azure Davis, Ruff Start Rescue Founder & Executive Director

The Story of Indy

Can you lend a helping paw?
15-week-old Indy is a Shar Pei mix who’s undergoing surgery today. This little sweetheart was rescued after being dumped on a local road. She has captured the hearts of her finders with her gentle nature and is in their home as a foster-to-adopt. But before she can officially start her happily ever after, she needs your support.
Indy suffers from entropion, a condition where her eyelids curl inwards, causing irritation as her lashes rub against her eyes. 😔 She was seen at Blue Pearl on March 17th, her eye swollen and causing discomfort. While she’s been given medication to ease her pain, she requires a surgical tacking procedure to correct the issue.
During surgery, the vet will carefully stitch her eyelids into their proper position, preventing further damage and discomfort. This temporary solution buys precious time for Indy to grow and develop properly, with hopes that the condition resolves as she matures.
Indy needs your help to cover the estimated $500 medical costs. Please donate today.

The Story of Symon

Symon is a brave 2-year-old Ruff Starter who has already endured more than any pup should. Symon came into our lives as a tripod, having lost one of his legs due to the unimaginable abuse he suffered in Texas. Despite his challenges, Symon’s spirit remains unbroken, and his heart is full of love. He is the sweetest, friendliest pup around and he loves playing with other dogs.

Recently, Symon has been struggling with hip pain, making it difficult for him to enjoy the activities that dogs love. After a thorough examination, the veterinarians have determined that Symon needs surgery to address multiple pelvic issues and give him a chance at a more comfortable and fulfilling life.
Tomorrow, Symon will undergo surgery at Granite City to clean up the harsh edges of his hip, providing him with much-needed relief.
As Symon is currently with a foster-to-adopt family, we’re reaching out to our community for support in covering the costs of his prior appointment and surgery – an estimated $650. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a meaningful difference in Symon’s journey to recovery.
Ruff Start Rescue