Our Mission

Ruff Start Rescue is dedicated to saving the lives of animals in need. We improve animal welfare in communities through adoption, education, and providing resources for people and pets.

Our Vision

We strive for a world where every companion animal has a safe and loving home and their family has the knowledge and resources needed to give them the life they deserve.

Our Values

Compassion.

We have a strong sense of empathy for companion animals that fuels our passion to prevent and alleviate suffering. We place the highest value on the animal/human connection and are driven to create positive outcomes even for the hardest of cases.

Commitment.

We strive to provide a high level of service for all animals, adopters, volunteers, and donors through responsible communication and action. We maintain a results-focused perspective.

Connection.

We form relationships with the community to achieve common goals while providing access to resources and education.

Innovation.

We listen and respond to community needs with flexibility while remaining on the cusp of trends in animal welfare while exploring new approaches.

Authenticity.

We communicate humbly, honestly, and openly while striving for the utmost transparency with our supporters, volunteers, fosters, staff and beneficiaries.

Our No Kill Stance

We are committed to ensuring that all healthy and treatable animals leave our rescue alive. We believe every animal deserves a chance to find a loving home, and we do whatever it takes to save and/or treat the animals in our care, regardless of their age or the expense associated with their illness (if applicable). Though this is a staunch commitment, this does not mean that every animal is adoptable. We recognize and humbly accept the fact that sometimes, you cannot save them all. Sometimes, euthanasia is the most humane option.

Ruff Start Rescue is committed to never killing an animal, except for a humane reason in regard to quality of life. These instances may include irremediable suffering from injury, disease, or age-related infirmities.

Additionally, we will never knowingly place a vicious or otherwise seriously temperamentally unsound animal in an adoptive home. This is for the safety of our fosters, adopters, and the animal in question. In extreme cases, animals in our care that are deemed to be too dangerous or aggressive to be safely adopted to the public and for which no safe and humane management option exists, we may also choose humane euthanasia.

It is also the Ruff Start way that we, as an entire organization, vow to never knowingly transfer an animal to another shelter or facility that euthanizes animals for any other reason than those mentioned here. We partner only with rescues, shelters, and impounds who share our desire to make the world of animal welfare and rescue a better place – for we know that together, we can make a difference for animals of all kinds.

*The debate over what constitutes a “no kill” shelter is a hot button issue in the animal welfare community and has been for many years. While “no kill” is a very emotionally-charged phrase intended to inspire change, many people do not understand what it truly means – nor what must happen in order for a community, shelter, or rescue organization to achieve such a status. To learn more about this phrase and its background, we recommend checking out Best Friends Animal Society’s “Defining No Kill” webpage. The most widely accepted definition of a no kill shelter matches our philosophy, as well: a no kill shelter (or rescue) is a place where all adoptable and treatable animals are saved and where only unadoptable or non-rehabilitative animals are euthanized.

Our Out-of-State Transportation Stance

Ruff Start Rescue is committed to helping local animals first and foremost, but we are also keenly aware of the dire situation concerning pet overpopulation and abandonment in the southern states. For this reason, we firmly believe in out of state transportation, and work hard to transport animals from high-kill shelters in the south to our base in Minnesota – where there is a significantly higher rate of adoption for these amazing and deserving animals in need.

Ruff Start Rescue is grateful to partner with many like-minded organizations, all of which work diligently to save the lives of animals within the state of Minnesota. We are also proud to be one of very few rescues locally that take in companion animals owners feel they are no longer able to adequately care for. These animals are known to our organization as “owner surrenders”.

However, the number of companion animals that are surrendered to shelters in southern states is staggering; far greater than the number of available homes in those areas. Overpopulation is particularly high in places where resources for animals are limited. Many shelters in these areas struggle to meet basic care needs and, as a result, placement rates for healthy, adoptable animals remain dangerously low.

At the same time, in our community, the capacity for companion animal adoption exceeds the population of homeless and surrendered companion animals. We have reached this point by investing in outreach, low-cost spaying and neutering, and other programs designed to address common causes of overpopulation in communities just like ours.

Safely transporting animals from overpopulated areas to communities with high demand for adoption significantly reduces the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable animals in source communities and ensures that destination communities can meet the demand for adoptable animals while reducing reliance on commercial breeding operations.

The relationship between source and destination organizations must be balanced. Well-resourced destination shelters have the capacity to treat and place animals with medical and behavioral conditions as well as young highly desirable animals. Empowering source shelters to make decisions about which animals to transport ensures that they retain a highly desirable population of animals to support adoption in their own communities. Transported animals must not displace local animals in need.

We are committed to supporting source organizations through mentorship and by sharing resources and expertise. Covering the costs of transport and reducing costs to care for transported animals allows source shelters to invest resources in programs designed to overcome specific challenges in their communities. As source communities mature, the need for transport will diminish.

Ruff Start Rescue