Betty White Challenge 2023

“Animals are near and dear to my heart, and I’ve devoted my life to trying to improve their lives.” -Betty White

Today would have been animal advocate Betty White’s 101st birthday. In honor of Betty and the amazing work she accomplished in her lifetime, we’ve received a $5,200 matching donation from our friends at Audiology Concepts.

The #BettyWhiteChallenge encourages people to get involved with their local animal rescue or shelter. This includes donations, of course, but also volunteering, fostering, or even adopting an animal looking for their forever home. Ruff Start Rescue would be honored if you chose to memorialize Betty by supporting RSR in one of these ways to help animals in need. If you donate today, you can double your impact!

The Story of Kiki and her puppies

Kiki the Great Dane was picked up as a very pregnant stray by a Good Samaritan in Fort Smith, Arkansas. On Christmas Eve, she gave birth to 12 puppies! Everyone in Arkansas fell in love with Kiki. She’s the epitome of a gentle giant and is sweet and docile.

Ruff Start is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society to bring Kiki’s family and other dogs in AR to MN to help with shelter overcrowding and find them families. Kiki’s babies will only be 4 weeks old when they arrive, and the whole family will go straight to a foster home. We can’t wait to meet Kiki and her pups, and help them on their journey to finding a family of their own.

Unfortunately, as is common in the south, Kiki has heartworms. She’ll undergo treatment here in MN at a partner clinic. Due to her size, the cost will be 3-4 times as expensive as an average-sized dog. Between heartworm treatment, food and supplies, and routine vetting for this extra large family, we’re looking at around $10,000 in estimated expenses to care for them while they’re with Ruff Start.

We would greatly appreciate gifts of any amount to help us cover the cost of bringing these cuties into rescue. Donate today and your funds will go directly toward the care of Kiki and her 12 puppies.

Would you like to be a part of their journey? This family is still in need of a foster. Their foster should be able to travel to our partner clinic in St. Cloud for Kiki’s heartworm treatment (three trips total) and promote Kiki’s bedrest if she hasn’t joined a foster to adopt family by then.

Would you like to be a part of their journey? This family is still in need of a foster. Their foster should be able to travel to our partner clinic in St. Cloud for Kiki’s heartworm treatment (three trips total) and promote Kiki’s bedrest if she hasn’t joined a foster to adopt family by then.

January 14th marks National Dress Up Your Pet Day!

January 14th marks National Dress Up Your Pet Day!

By: Ashlie Kuehn

From sports jerseys to bowties, tutus, and more, humans have always loved dressing their furry friends in spectacular outfits! This fun and light-hearted holiday provides an exciting way to celebrate your pet and show off their fashion sense!

Not only is it the perfect excuse to have a lot of fun, but there are also plenty of benefits to dressing up your pet!

Protection from the elements: 
Wearing an outfit or a costume can provide many benefits, from keeping your pet warm in cooler weather to protecting their skin from the sunshine. It can also provide an extra barrier keeping
your pet clean and free of any dirt or debris.

It helps show off some personality! 
Who doesn’t like showing off their fashionable side every once in a while?! Whether your pet is shy, smart, a troublemaker, or a diva, there are endless options to show off their personality (and look adorable while doing it!)

It allows you to spend some quality time with your pet! 
From putting on a costume to taking selfies together, National Dress Up Your Pet Day is a great way to spend a little one-on-one time with your pet and have some fun together! Your pet will love spending time with you and everyone else will love seeing adorable they look!

Before you break out those crazy costumes, there are a few things to be mindful of if you are celebrating this holiday.

Do not force your pet to dress up:
This holiday is simply a fun way to promote pet wellness so if your animal clearly doesn’t like dressing up, don’t force them! Keep a watchful eye on their body language and remove the costume if they show any signs of stress or discomfort.

Do not leave your pet unattended in costume:
It is important to keep an eye on your pet when they’re in costume to avoid potential injury. Your pet could become bored, agitated, or anxious, leading them to chew or ingest pieces. They could also risk getting caught or trapped trying to squeeze into areas that won’t accommodate the size of the costume.

Avoid materials that can be toxic or harmful to your pet: 
Avoid costumes with harmful or toxic materials such as glitter or beads that could harm your pet or cause an allergic reaction. Be alert and watch for signs like itching, scratching, or discomfort and remove the costume right away.

National Dress Up Your Pet Day is a great way to bond with your pet and show the world their fashionable side! Break out your bedazzled collars, sweaters, and maybe even a matching costume for you, and make sure your pet is dressed for the occasion this January 14th!

The Story of Penny Lane

A broken bone can’t break her love for life.
Penny Lane is a high-energy, sweet puppy who has enjoyed her life – running and playing with her friends whenever she can. Unfortunately, all her leaping resulted in a broken leg. Because of limited resources, her owner tried splinting it with items around the house. A few weeks later, the leg started to heal, but it was obvious the splint did more harm than good. That’s when they decided to surrender Penny and her remaining littermates to MACC, so they could all receive proper care. Because of the obvious medical attention Penny needed, a rescue would be her only ticket out of the shelter. When a Ruff Start intake volunteer met her, she couldn’t resist her kind eyes, so she brought Penny home to foster her.

At this point, Penny’s leg has been broken for over a month. We had x-rays taken which determined the leg was broken in multiple places and had already started to heal. Our veterinary team, as well as a doctor at a referral clinic, determined that the best course of action was to amputate Penny’s leg. Although she had been using the leg, she had joint damage and couldn’t bear weight on it well. As she continues to grow, the leg would become more of an issue. So, to better her life, Penny underwent surgery last Thursday.

Penny is doing well in her foster home, and we know she’ll get used to being a tri-paw in no time at all. She’s a happy puppy who picks up new skills quickly and loves toys, treats, and playing in the snow.

The Story of Rowdy

Rowdy has lived his whole life being obedient and well-trained as an active hunting dog. When he could no longer perform his duties, he was brought to a local vet clinic to be euthanized. Luckily, the vet clinic, that we also work with, knew Rowdy deserved to live out his retirement with a family. They stepped in to ensure that by reaching out to our Ruff Start Rescue intake team. Here is where we need your help – we need a foster commitment for Rowdy.

At 8.5 years old, it is believed that he was housed outdoors his entire life, hunted, and then returned to his kennel. He has recently been vetted and neutered. He was put on joint supplements because he was sore from being kenneled with minimal activity. Now, he’s ready to join a rescue and live the life he has always deserved.

Rowdy absolutely loves humans. He hasn’t met a man, woman, or child he didn’t want to be next to. He’s a very calm and quiet boy. His hunting background has given him a fantastic nose, which is helpful for smelling out yummy treats. He may try to see what’s good on the counter if no one is looking! He has done well with cat and dog meets, but we recommend very slow introductions as we don’t know his history well. Rowdy didn’t have blankets in his old home, so he gets very excited to have them now! He will steal them to snuggle and chew. He is very responsive to commands and any type of communication.

We would love for Rowdy to join Ruff Start Rescue, and we need a foster to step up for him. His ideal foster home will be patient, promote slow intros, and give him all the love he has been missing.

We want to take this opportunity to inform you that, yes, unfortunately, there are still hunters who bring their hunting dogs in to be euthanized when they “can no longer perform their job”. This is unsettling and unnecessary, and it’s something we do see in rescue. Please know that there are other options, such as animal rescues, humane societies, and in this case, the passionate vet clinic that knew he deserved better.
We also want to add that this isn’t the majority of hunters. We know many hunters who absolutely love and adore their dogs and treat them as part of the family. These dogs sleep in the house, get all the love and attention, and they are some of the best rockstar hunting dogs out there! If you have one of these rockstar hunting dogs who are part of your family, we would love to see their pictures below and hear their story. Help educate others on the possibilities and open some eyes. You never know who may read this and decide to try and change their mentality after reading your story.

The Story of Yuri

Yuri has lived a life that no one deserves – human or animal.

He is a survivor of a household with domestic violence and so much more. When he was found, his owner had long passed away, and Yuri had been living in a home alone with another dog. Their survival instincts had kicked in – they tore into a bag of dog food to survive. Without water, they were forced to drink from the toilet.

Eventually, their food ran out, and they began to eat couch cushions to fill their starving stomachs. Although it made them feel full, this is extremely dangerous and could have led to blockages. Their days were filled with feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and not knowing if or when someone would ever return.

When they were finally found, they were emaciated, shut down, and terrified.

Their finder took them to the vet, and to her surprise, they were healthy (with a minor ear infection) despite being extremely underfed. The finder continued to care for the dogs in their home, and slowly they began to trust her when they learned she was visiting to feed them, bring them outside, and provide some relief with loving care. An adopter stepped up for Yuri’s companion, and the finder reached out to Ruff Start to help with Yuri. She had been visiting the home twice a day but wanted more for this sweet boy. He was starved for attention and needed a family.

Yuri joined Ruff Start right before the holiday. He has settled into his new temporary home and he is full of love. Yuri has no physical signs of abuse, but he does run and hide if there are loud noises or voices, likely due to the violence in the home. We can’t fix what happened in Yuri’s past, but we can ensure he has everything he deserves in the future. Please make a gift in Yuri’s honor to help with his care and the care of future Ruff Starters.

The Story of Skye

A week ago, Skye was getting ready to celebrate her first Christmas. Today she is fighting for her life.

8-week-old Skye was surrendered to Ruff Start after her canine housemate attacked her, and she suffered head trauma. She is currently receiving medical attention for her neurological status at Blue Pearl. The doctors see improvements, but she is not out of the woods yet.

Skye will need at least 24 hours at the hospital to get the care she needs. Due to the level of critical care, it will cost approximately $2,000-3,000 in the next day. Can you please help us get Skye the care she needs?

Update 12/30: Skye needs a CT to determine the extent of the injuries to her head. The vet is making sure she doesn’t have a skull fracture of a ruptured eardrum and a broken jaw. The good news is that she is starting to walk on all 4 legs and her neurological status is improving. The current estimate of her care is $4,000+. We’ll post a new photo in the comments. Thank you to everyone who has donated to Skye’s care. ❤️

Two Kittens are better than one.

bonded kitten pairs

By: Sarah Burke

Cats are often stereotyped as very solitary creatures when in fact, they are actually highly social. Cats love companionship just like humans do, whether from you or another cat.

Two cats that have a close relationship with one another means they will likely do most things together and choose to be with one another rather than alone. If you consider adopting a kitten, sometimes adopting two that already live together can be good for the kittens and you. 

They teach each other good manners and how to play nice.

Kittens are very observant and will teach each other how to use the litter box, groom, and socialize. When they play, kittens will show each other when biting hurts or play becomes too aggressive. 

They keep each other entertained.

Having two kittens means you aren’t solely responsible for keeping your energetic kitten entertained. Kittens are good play buddies and will match the energy of one another. If you have an older cat, this will make the kittens more concerned with each other than their older, less interested friend. 

They learn to like other cats. 

Cats raised alone may find it tough to meet other cats, making introducing a new cat to the family a little tricky. When you adopt a pair, they have already learned what it is like to live with another cat, so they will be more open to sharing their home and you. 

They always have a friend. 

When you can’t be around, the kittens will always have each other to play, eat, and snuggle with. You don’t have to worry about loneliness if you go out and about for the day or take a short trip. 

Two kittens might mean twice as much food and litter box cleanup. But it also means more stimulation, growth, and companionship for your furry friends. And twice as many cute pictures! Though adopting two kittens isn’t for everyone, see if your home is the right fit for two adorable feline best friends.

The Story of Luna Mae

Luna Mae was surrendered to Minneapolis Care and Control in November by a friend of her former owner. The friend said Luna and another dog had been abandoned, as their owner left the dogs and never returned. They would need a more permanent living situation and, since they were considered unclaimed, would need animal control’s assistance to place them in the care of an organization or person well-equipped to take on two extra-large dogs.

Luna clocked in at roughly 90lb upon examination, and her age was estimated at 7 years of age. At first glance, it would be appropriate to assume she had given birth multiple times. And it is likely that the dog who was surrendered alongside her, a young pup named Saint, could be her son. When her microchip was scanned, it registered to Romania, raising additional questions about her past that will probably never be answered.

After entering Ruff Start’s care with one of our more experienced large-breed fosters, we learned more about this gentle giant of a girl. Described by her foster family as “perfect,” Luna shows no signs of whining or separation anxiety (despite being abandoned!), loves other dogs and tolerates friends of the feline kind, and greets new people with tail wags and love. Relaxing is her favorite thing, and she is a super quiet, docile beast of a snuggler to boot.

However, while we learned more about Luna’s traits and what type of home would best fit her, we also learned about her medical needs.

While in MACC’s care, they documented several concerns needing addressing once Luna was rescued. Her left eye looked cloudy; she had luxating patellas that produced a grating sound when shifted and significant right hindlimb lameness. Luckily, Luna had no resistance or pain during a standard manipulation of her hip. Still, elbow issues – potentially arthritis – were suspected, as well as the need for a dental cleaning with potential extractions. With these notes, we knew when we took her in that she would need a higher standard of care than most of the animals that entered rescue. However, the extent of her medical future was still largely unknown.

Luna visited one of our partner veterinary clinics, where they spayed her, brought her up to date on her vaccinations, and did radiographs of her pain points. While her surgery went well, her day at the vet revealed the next steps for the sweet pup. The most intensive notes in her report read, among other things, “Recommend bilateral repair of CCL ruptures.”

In human terms, Luna needs a bilateral TPLO. She needs both knees operated on simultaneously to repair their cruciate tears, a costly procedure with a significant recovery time, including extensive therapy. She also needs a dental procedure, another surgery which could not be done at the time of her spay. In all, Luna’s care will total roughly $4,000.

While this is a hefty bill – especially at the end of a long year full of need – we committed to giving Luna stability and love when we chose to bring her into rescue. One look at her droopy face is enough to know she is worth it, and her foster family is determined to see her through her treatment… with your help.

Every donation, big or small, counts for this precious pup who is in need of significant pain relief. Will you give a year-end gift to help us fund Luna’s treatment and make her New Year?

12 Strays of Christmas – Day 12

The St. Paul Police Department came across Ronnie roaming the streets, all alone. He was shy and nervous to approach the officers, but once they were able to get him, they noticed his obvious poor condition. He is covered in sores, has hair loss, and has dry, thickened skin. They immediately brought Ronnie to the vet. After examination, Ronnie is now being treated for mange, which you can learn more about on our blog:

We believe with time and healing, Ronnie will be a brand new pup. He loves treats, knows basic commands, and is very gentle. He did well with his dog test at St. Paul Animal Control (SPAC), but we recommended slow intros due to his pain level.

Nothing would make us happier than to have Ronnie join RSR before the holidays. He currently resides at SPAC. Do you have space in your home for this 4-year-old? Sign up to foster today and bring Ronnie home for the holidays. Ronnie’s care will include baths to help calm the skin while he heals from the inside out.

Apply to foster:
Ronnie’s first stop at RSR will be with our vetting team to determine any veterinary needs. Please donate to his care and that of the 415+ other strays who joined RSR this year.
Ruff Start Rescue