The Story of Cooper – A Reunion

the story of cooper – a reunion
The holidays will look a lot different for these rescue pups this year!
The first photo shows Cooper, Trixi, and Bruno living in a dump on Christmas Eve 2021. Through collaborative efforts, all three were rescued and adopted through different organizations. We recently posted an update on RSR alum Cooper (lab mix), and everyone asked, “what happened to the two other dogs?” Cooper’s adoptive family tracked down Trixi and Bruno and they all reunited last weekend. Rescue doesn’t get much sweeter. ❤
Support our work this #GTMD22 and help make a difference in the lives of people and pets.

Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do to correct the old fractures, but we kept Isley comfortable with pain and arthritis medication. We also treated her for periodontal disease and removed her four diseased and painful canines through a dental procedure. We knew she had a long road to recovery and was placed in a loving foster home, which happened to be one of the technicians on our veterinary team. Her foster did what every foster hopes to do: provide Isley with what she needed to be happy and healthy again. Her foster knew improving her overall well-being would take some time; with her injuries and understandable fear of the unknown, patience and love would be the only thing that gave Isley a chance to know the caring touch of a human. Luckily, it didn’t take long for her foster parents to realize Isley was meant to be a part of their family so they could work with her forever! They quickly filled out an adoption application for the little gal, giving Isley a fresh, permanent start. It was time for her new beginning!

Over the last year, Isley has blossomed into an outgoing and playful cat who enjoys carrying around her toys and snuggling with her adoptive family. They have been able to celebrate many milestones together and even cross a few things off the bucket list that you all helped us create for her last year!

What love and rescue can do.

what love and rescue can do.

An update on Isley – One year later.

Some of you may remember the story of Isley. About a year ago, the sweetest cat named Isley came to us from a terrible abuse situation, with many extensive injuries from her abusive past home. All four legs, her tail, her skull, and her hard palate had multiple fractures that had been there for a long while. She had experienced trauma to her teeth and claws, and we knew we needed to do whatever we could to help her, so we quickly took her into Ruff Start. 

Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do to correct the old fractures, but we kept Isley comfortable with pain and arthritis medication. We also treated her for periodontal disease and removed her four diseased and painful canines through a dental procedure. We knew she had a long road to recovery and was placed in a loving foster home, which happened to be one of the technicians on our veterinary team. Her foster did what every foster hopes to do: provide Isley with what she needed to be happy and healthy again. Her foster knew improving her overall well-being would take some time; with her injuries and understandable fear of the unknown, patience and love would be the only thing that gave Isley a chance to know the caring touch of a human. Luckily, it didn’t take long for her foster parents to realize Isley was meant to be a part of their family so they could work with her forever! They quickly filled out an adoption application for the little gal, giving Isley a fresh, permanent start. It was time for her new beginning!

Over the last year, Isley has blossomed into an outgoing and playful cat who enjoys carrying around her toys and snuggling with her adoptive family. They have been able to celebrate many milestones together and even cross a few things off the bucket list that you all helped us create for her last year!

So far, Isley has…
Recreated iconic cat photos/memes such as Pizza Cat in Space
Posed for Glamour Shots showing off her adorable personality. 
Celebrated a birthday party where she was the star.

Hungry kittens need help!

hungry kittens need help!

By: Cris Raiche

With nearly 200 kittens in our rescue, Ruff Start Rescue needs help keeping enough kitten food in supply for hungry little bellies. Our food shelves are struggling to keep up with the increasing demand for wet kitten food for our foster homes. While the demand is more immediate for wet kitten food, any donations of kitten food, wet or dry kibble, or a money gift will help.

Are there really more kittens this year?

Yes. Cat overpopulation in Minnesota has increased exponentially in the past few years and animal rescues, animal controls, and animal shelters have reported higher than average numbers of kittens, and pregnant and nursing mama cats. Ruff Start Rescue helps homeless and stray cats and kittens by providing care, food, supplies, vetting, fostering, and adoption. Our current need is the greatest right now for wet kitten food, can you help?

 

How much food does a kitten need?

Kittens are initially dependent upon their mother for their nourishment, or kitten formula may be substituted if found abandoned during their first weeks of life. By three-to-four weeks old, kittens can begin eating wet food or moistened dry kibble. Between six-to-eight weeks, kittens are fully weaned and eat wet or dry food fully. This period of time where the kitten is experiencing rapid growth heightens the need for good nutrition. While the amount of food is determined by the kitten’s weight, kittens need more calories than adult cats because they are growing rapidly and have high nutritional needs. Kittens have different requirements for calcium and other minerals. Pregnant and nursing cats need more food than regular adult cats too because there are carrying and caring for their babies.

 

Wet food or dry food, which is better?

While all food is good, many veterinarians recommend wet food for kittens for a few reasons. Cats are carnivores and since dry kibble contains more carbohydrates than wet food, wet food may feel more satisfying to them and they may digest it better. Wet food also helps those kittens who are not big water drinkers yet stay hydrated by naturally providing more water in their diet, which in turn supports better overall health for the growing kitten.

 

Want to donate to our cause?

Can you donate wet kitten food or give a money gift to help? Just one case makes a big difference in a young kitten’s life and starts them off with a good nutritional foundation. Food can be delivered to Ruff Start Rescue through Amazon or any other pet food store to our address:

Ruff Start Rescue

12526 319th Ave
Princeton, MN 55371

(763) 355-3981

Money donations can be sent by clicking here: Ruff Start Rescue – General Support (networkforgood.com)

We appreciate all donations from our generous animal lover donors to keep our programs running and all the animals in our care supported, loved and well cared for until we are able to find them a loving forever home.

Interested in fostering or adopting a furry companion, please contact Ruff Start Rescue at: Adopt – Ruff Start Rescue.

Training Tip Tuesday – “Sit” Command

TRAINING TIP TUESDAY – sit command

By: Kim Astle

Many people struggle with basic commands. Always start at the very beginning. Be patient, calm, and most of all DOGS LOVE TO BE REWARDED! They are food motivated when they are comfortable in their surroundings. This week is the word “Sit.” I hope this helps.
How to teach a dog to sit
  • Make sure you have a quiet space, training treats, patience, and enthusiasm.
  • Hold a treat in your hand in front of your dog’s mouth until you get their attention.
  • Move the treat by guiding them with the treat about 3 inches above their nose and say “sit”. The dog will naturally look up, which will put their butt down on the ground. If this doesn’t work, try taking a step closer to you dog, so they must look up higher and leads to the sitting position.
  • Praise your dog, say “Yes!” and feed them their treat.

Focus on skills

Working on basic skills like “sit” not only helps develop good manners, but it builds trust between you and your dog. Keep it fun! Also, incorporating play goes a long way in building a solid and productive relationship with your pet.

Practice when it’s easy

Have your dog practice everyday. Have them sit and wait for their food, sit while guests arrive, when wanting to go outside, or when they get out of their kennel. The options are endless! Make sure the treats are bountiful as they begin to learn this new skill.

Things to avoid

  • Don’t spend too much time in training sessions
  • Do not punish your dog for not learning quickly
  • Do not force your dog to sit in a stressful situation
  • Do not make them sit too long at first
Blog and graphic by Kim Astle, one of Ruff Start Rescue’s volunteer trainers, who focus on supporting our fosters and helping create successful dogs. She owns and operates A Better Walk Dog Training (abetterwalk.Squarespace.com).

Keep your pets safe this Halloween

Halloween + pets

By: Sarah Burke

Halloween is meant to be a spooky night, but it shouldn’t be scary for our pets. Costumes, candles, and candy are just a few of the dangers your pet can face while you are celebrating. As you finish carving the pumpkins, take a look at these tips to make sure your pet will get more treats than tricks.

Keep your pet in a separate room or area until trick-or-treaters stop arriving

Halloween is the second most common holiday pets will get lost. Your pet may get a little spooked by the unfamiliar smells of new people and lots of noise. The constant opening and closing of doors makes it easier for your pet to run off without you knowing.  If your pet can’t be in a separate space, make sure your animal is chipped or has identification tags in case they get lost.

Keep candy and sweets out of reach

It wouldn’t be Halloween without the candy, but unfortunately, our furry friends need to miss out on the sweets. Chocolate is especially toxic for cats and dogs, but other foods, like raisins, will send your pet to the vet fast. Even the candy wrappers are choking hazards and could lead to digestive issues for your pet. It’s best to leave all the candy eating to yourself (oh no!) and keep any traces out of sight of your animal.

Make sure your pet’s costumes fit correctly – or skip them altogether

There’s almost nothing cuter than an animal in a tiny costume, but for pet owners, our #1 priority is to make sure our animals are safe and comfortable. When you put the costume on your pet, be sure to make sure it is not restricting their breathing or ability to make noise. If you notice any signs of stress, such as excessive panting or yawning, it may be best to snap the photo and take the costume off your pet. As cute as your chihuahua looks in that witch costume, let’s leave the dressing up to the humans.

Be aware of decorations that might look extra tasty or fun 

Before you head out the door, scan your area for any items that could be a danger to your pet. Fun decorations like rubber eyeballs and skulls could be choking hazards and things like rotting pumpkins and fake blood can cause serious infections if ingested. Lit candles or hanging lights could be dangerous for pets that like to knock things over. You know your pet best, so make a judgment call as to what decorations to avoid.

Visit the Ruff Start Halloween Paw-ty on October 29th from 1-4pm

Bring your furry friend to Forgotten Star Brewing Co. in Fridley to show off their adorable costume or to mingle with other pet owners. There will be a dog costume contest with prizes for the top three pups. It will be a great way to celebrate that is fun for you and your dog. 

The most important thing is that your animal is safe and happy on Halloween night. However you choose to spend it, follow some of these tips so the only thing you have to worry about is deciding which costume to wear.

Happy Howl-oween!

What Is Mange?

what is mange?

By: Rachel Davis

You’ve just been told that your lovable little furball has mange. What’s that? What causes it? And most importantly, what can you do?

A Quick Overview 

At its most basic, mange is a skin disease that comes from one of two different microscopic mites. There are two different kinds of mange, both causing intense itching, rash, hair loss, sores, and skin bumps or crusting.

 

  • Sarcoptic Mange: From the sarcoptic mite; often called “scabies.” This type of mange comes from mites that bury just under the skin’s surface, and can be spread between animals (commonly wildlife) or contaminated bedding. This kind of mange is very contagious.
  • Demodectic Mange: From mites naturally present in dogs’ hair follicles. These mites are passed from mothers to pups in the first days of the pups’ lives. For most dogs with healthy immune systems, these mites are handled easily and cause no problems. This kind of mange is not contagious.

Mange is common in stray dogs, or those who’ve been sick, malnourished, abused, or neglected. But even dogs that are well cared for can get it—especially puppies, because of their immature immune systems. 

 

But fear not! Although mange can appear terrible and hopeless, it’s both preventable and treatable. And after the condition is resolved, you’ll be thanked by one beautiful, happy, playful, and grateful furry friend.

 

Treating Mange

No matter what anyone tells you, you cannot effectively treat mange without seeing a professional. While you might find over-the-counter remedies that help relieve itching, you’ll need a veterinarian to (1) diagnose the type of mange your pup has, and (2) determine how to best treat it. 

 

Your vet will likely take skin samples (scrapings) to examine under a microscope—both to make an accurate diagnosis of the type of mange, and to rule out other potential skin conditions. Once diagnosed, you can move forward with a treatment plan. 

 

Mange treatments have improved by leaps and bounds in recent decades. Oral medications often leave pets feeling relief within just a few days of beginning them. Sometimes, steroids or antibiotics are prescribed in tandem with mange’s oral medications to resolve any other potential secondary skin infections.

 

Wait. Can I Get Mange?!?

Sarcoptic mange is transmissible to humans, although the mites strongly prefer to make their homes on dogs and wildlife. If a human does contract sarcoptic mange, they’ll likely experience an intensely itchy—but very short-term!—rash.

 

As with treating any contagious parasite, isolation and elimination are necessary (and yes, frustrating) parts of the healing process. An animal with mange must be kept away from other pets until free of mites. You’ll need to thoroughly clean all the material your dog has contacted, too—including beds, blankets, carpets, furniture, etc. Ask your veterinarian for detailed information about eliminating those mites and ensuring they won’t come back.

 

Demodectic mange is not contagious. (Whew!)

 

A Final Word

While mange is not a diagnosis that anyone wants, it’s a manageable and treatable condition—and once treated, your dog can expect to live a long, happy, normal life. The relief they’ll feel after being cared for and cured is something that your four-legged friend will appreciate furever.

 

Sources

Training Tip Tuesday – Polite Greetings

TRAINING TIP TUESDAY – polite greetings

By: Margaux Meyer

Happy #TrainingTipTuesday everyone! Today I want to talk about polite greetings at the door! Dogs get super excited when they get to greet people, so its understandable that they express that excitement through jumping at the door! We can help them greet us more politely through practice, intentional skills, and management while they’re learning.
Practice: Dogs need lots and lots of practice – before expecting the dog to handle their excitement, they need to know what to do. Remember – “no” or “off” only tell dogs what not to do, but don’t help dogs know what to do.
Practice proper greetings not just when you or guests are coming and going. Spend 5 minutes every few days practicing the skills and desired behaviors in low stakes situations.
Start by standing by the door and asking for sit, then rewarding with treats and pets. Release the dog, then repeat 5-10 times for a few days.
Level up by standing inside and opening the door, then closing the door and ask the dog for a sit, then reward with attention and pets. Repeat 5-10 times until you’re reliably getting a sit when the door opens and closes. Note: This is easiest if you have a screen door to keep the dog safe.
Next: Practice proper greetings by leaving the house, then walking back into the house, and asking for appropriate greeting behavior. Go back outside, wait for a minute, then repeat 5-10 times.
Note: Practice at any door! If the front door is too hard, try the back door or even an interior door!
Management: While you’re establishing the routine of greetings, try to avoid repeating undesired behaviors.
  • Have dogs outside when guests are coming over
  • Keep treats by the door to always be able to reward and reinforce
  • Scatter a handful of treats on the ground as soon as you walk into the house to prevent jumping
Skills
  • Take time to decide what is an appropriate greeting routine and try to stick with it. This can be dogs need to “sit” before they get attention, but it can also mean all four paws on the ground. Some dogs do best if they have a matt or a bed to stand on.
  • “Off”: Be sure to practice off with rewards.
  • If the dog is jumping up, try ignoring the dog or stepping back before they can put their paws on you. As soon as their paws touch the ground, say “yes!”
Don’t:
  • Push the dog off (This can turn jumping up into a game)
  • Yell or punish
  • Expect too much too soon: Set your expectations low and know you’ll work your way up over time.
Blog and graphic by Margaux Meyer, one of Ruff Start Rescue’s volunteer trainers, who focus on supporting our fosters and helping create successful dogs. She owns and operates A Better Walk Dog Training (abetterwalk.Squarespace.com).

The Story of Lionel

meet lionel.
What were you doing on May 18th?
This would be Lionel’s last day alive if he didn’t receive rescue commitment at one of the largest shelters in the country. It wasn’t the shelter’s fault; too many animals and not enough space and resources. Plus, Lionel had heartworms and would require treatment. Life had already been rough for this 2-year-old. He came to the shelter from a cruelty situation after being found abandoned in an apartment for 10 days. Humans had failed this sweet boy.

Luckily, a foster in Texas stepped up. Lionel made his way to Minnesota, and a foster-to-adopt family committed to him. Unfortunately, more bad news was to follow. A massive load of heartworms caused damage to his lungs. The good news is that as the worms die off, he should continue to improve. He may have secondary lung issues for life due to the damage the heartworms caused to his heart, but it should be managed with medications. He will need to continue on cage rest for the next couple of months as the worms continue to die.

Lionel spent the day at one of our vet partners. When we transported him, we committed to giving him his happily ever after, and now we need your help to follow through with our promise.
Can you please help us help Lionel?
Do you want to help animals in need? Sign up to foster for Ruff Start today! https://ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/
Or, you can donate to our Animal Care Fund. Our Animal Care Fund supports the medical and veterinary needs of all Ruff Start Rescue animals.

Is a feral cat the same as a stray cat?

Is a feral cat the same as A STRAY CAT?

By: Cris Raiche

While the terms feral and stray are often used interchangeably, these two types of outdoor, homeless cats are not the same. Recognizing and understanding their behavior and body language can provide clues. Therefore, the best way to figure out your new feline friend is to observe them first before attempting contact.

Feral cats

A feral cat is unsocialized, domestic cat. They are able to survive on their own outdoors and are skillful hunters. Hiding during the day and roaming at night, they appear clean and well-kept
since they are used to caring for themselves. Feral cats often belong to cat colonies, but some can live alone. Due to little, if any, human contact, they are usually fearful and skittish around humans. They may crawl or crouch low to the ground in an effort to protect their bodies when approached and are inclined to avoid eye contact. They may also curl their tails around their body defensively.
Typically, feral cats are not likely to become pets, but some can. Kittens, born to feral cats, can be socialized with early intervention and can become loving pets.

Stray cats

A stray cat has been socialized by humans and are usually lost or abandoned pets. Often appearing lean since they aren’t adept at hunting for food, they may also look disheveled and unkept, having little to no experience in caring for themselves. They may join a cat colony, but if not able to integrate with other cats, they will live alone. Like a feral cat, they can also appear fearful when approached, depending on their personality and when they last had human contact. Some will however make eye contact and approach with their tail up, which is a sign of friendliness. If you find a stray, check local online missing pet sites to see if you can find the owner, or take the stray cat to a vet to find out if the cat has a microchip so it can be reunited with the owner.

If homeless cats melt your heart as much as it does ours, considering lending a paw!

Whether feral or stray, if seeing a homeless cat is enough to melt your heart, you may be asking what can I do to help? There are a lot of ways you can help. Ruff Start is involved in helping homeless cats in many ways. One resource is by making and providing outdoor cat houses to community cat colonies. Winter is coming and homeless cats need shelters for refuge in during the cold temperature months.

Ruff Start Rescue is hosting a Feral Cat Education Event!

All ages welcome to join us on Saturday, October 15, 2022 to make outdoor cat houses and learn about feral cats.

Sign up here: Feral cat house event.

Want to help, but can’t make it to the event? Make an outdoor cat house at home and drop it off at Ruff Start Rescue. Please email us at education@ruffstartrescue.org to arrange a drop-off time!

Another resource Ruff Start Rescue provides is trap/neuter/return resources for our local communities through community cat spay/neuter grants as well as our barn cat program. If you have or know of cats that are able to partake in this program, please email us at info@ruffstartrescue.org.

We always appreciate the donations from generous animal lovers to keep our programs running and all the animals in our care supported, loved and well cared for until we are able to find them
a loving forever home.

Please consider donating today here: Ruff Start Rescue – General Support (networkforgood.com)

Training Tip Tuesday – Consent Based Petting

TRAINING TIP TUESDAY – consent based petting

By: Margaux Meyer

Today’s #trainingtiptuesday is about consent-based petting!! Consent-based petting is a small addition to normal attention and petting on a dog that encourages dogs to be in touch with their feelings and humans to be more aware of what a dog needs. Consent based petting can help you become more in tune with dogs needs and help build confidence in dogs.
Just like people, dogs don’t always want physical attention, and sometimes change their mind while being petted. Think of it like a person receiving a hug — sometimes hugs are great, and other times they’re a little uncomfortable for the person. Its not always easy as a human to know how to gracefully decline or end a hug — and dogs experience that same feeling.
Consent based petting is for every dog all of the time, and can help build trust between a dog and all people. Before petting your dog, reach out your hand and ask “do you want pets”. Pay attention to the dog’s body language and respond appropriately. If they don’t want pets, that’s okay! You can tell them they’re such a good dog and verbally praise them while leaving them alone. Below is a list of YES behaviors and NO behaviors.
If they do want pets, still be sure to check in with the dog while you’re petting them. Going back to the hug analogy — sometimes a hug goes on too long and it feels awkward or uncomfortable to get out of it. While you’re petting the dog, take a few second break and move your hand away while saying “Do you want more pets???”, and watch for the dog to say they want more attention.
Dogs Saying “Yes” I Want More Attention
  • The dog moves closer in
  • The dog nudges the hand
  • You observe relaxed eyes, mouth
  • Loose body and tail, slow tail wags
  • Soft eyes looking at you
Dog Says “No” I Don’t Want More Attention
  • Dog makes no behavior change, or completely freezes. You might observe that the dog stands or sits still after petting, disengaged.
  • The dog physically moves away.
  • lip licking
  • head turns
  • full body turns
  • moving away by shifting weight to the back or avoiding the hand
  • Dog avoids eye contact.
Consent based petting is important to help build confidence in dogs, encourage positive behavior with all people, and can reduce the risk of dog bites. If a dog knows petting will end, then they are less likely to get uncomfortable.
Note: a dog snuggling is not always an indication that they want pets. Often dogs want to be in the same space and close to you, but don’t necessarily want to be petted. An example would be sitting on the couch watching a movie with a romantic partner. You might be happy to sit on the couch and share a blanket, but you don’t necessarily want them to put their feet on your lap.
This video is a great example on how to start consent based petting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hsOlJwMwps
Blog and graphic by Margaux Meyer, one of Ruff Start Rescue’s volunteer trainers, who focus on supporting our fosters and helping create successful dogs. She owns and operates A Better Walk Dog Training (abetterwalk.Squarespace.com).

It's time to shop 'til ya drop!

Our Annual Online auction is live!

You'll find all sorts of donated goodies in the auction including gift cards, baskets, homemade goods, pet supplies, and much more. It's the perfect opportunity to shop for the holidays - whether you're shopping for yourself or a loved one (human or animal)!

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Ruff Start Rescue