Ruff Start Rescue was founded with the intention of not only rescuing animals but also educating the general public about animal welfare and advocacy! Our belief in the power of education is so strongly rooted in our organization that we have had the word “educate” in our organization’s mission statement since day one. This sets us apart from most other rescues throughout the state of Minnesota as we strive to prioritize both the animal aspect of rescue AND the human one.

In 2013 Ruff Start Rescue created an Education Department whose primary focus is to encourage community members of all ages to become more responsible and compassionate pet owners and animal advocates. This is accomplished by delivering age-appropriate information on topics such as the importance of spay/neuter, animal safety, pet care, rescue and adoption. Through classroom presentations, presentations to youth and adult organizations, community outreach events, and unique programming, Ruff Start Rescue’s education program has reached over 8,000 individuals since 2013. We believe that educating the masses is a necessary and highly effective way to help produce responsible guardians of companion animals, ultimately leading to a decrease in abandoned and mistreated pets.

The Ruff Start Rescue Education Committee

Our Education Committee is responsible for brainstorming, creating, and executing a variety of humane education efforts for all age levels. The committee consists of volunteers who meet remotely once per month and also help with in-person projects and presentations as needed. New members are welcome at any time! If you are interested in joining our committee and helping us spread our message, please email

Educational Presentations

Educational presentations are available for a variety of audiences, such as schools, youth organizations, adult organizations, and more. We have age-specific presentations available, and if there are particular topics you’d like us to touch on, the content can be tailored to fit your needs. Presentations can be done either in-person or virtually, whatever you prefer.

For in-person school presentations we generally include two rescue representatives, a costumed mascot, and a rescued pet or two. Goodie bags and visual aids are also handed out with the intention of continuing to share and advocate.

Junior Volunteer Events

Each quarter, our Education Committee hosts a “day camp” designed to encourage children and their families to volunteer their time and talents to help the animals Ruff Start works with! Jr. Volunteer Events focus on creating a hands-on project that benefits animals in our care as well as serve as an opportunity to educate and discuss various animal welfare topics with youth and their families. Previous projects we’ve worked on during Jr. Volunteer Events include:

  • Feral cat houses
  • Dog, cat, and critter toys
  • Snuffle mats

Jr. Volunteer Events are announced publicly on our Facebook page and via email and require registration.

Ruff Start Rangers

Ruff Start Rangers aims to educate youth through service and activities in hopes the future of animal welfare sees fewer homeless pets and more responsible pet owners than in the past. As a Ranger, you will join a community of like-minded youth to grow your knowledge of animal health and wellness, and begin a positive, lifelong relationship with animals. Ruff Start Rangers is for anyone entering grades K-12.

Corporate Opportunities, Business Expos & Community Outreach

Community outreach is one of Ruff Start’s initiatives and there’s no better way to bring attention to our cause than by inviting us to your business or community! In a typical “expo” setting, volunteers will set up a booth and educate people about the rescue and the good work we do, including information about volunteering, fostering, adopting, and donating. Volunteers also work to recruit more members for the education committee, making it easier for us to expand our reach and present to more people throughout the state of Minnesota.

For more information or to schedule any of our educational offerings, please email

Ruff Start Rescue