Ruff Start Rescue is primarily powered by volunteer effort and we are always looking to add new members to the Ruff Start team! Both remote and in-person opportunities exist at this time, with a variety of skillsets, experience, and time per week necessary to complete certain positions.

For more information or to get started, fill out a volunteer application today.

Examples of Volunteer Opportunities

The following volunteer roles are examples of common roles within our organization and openings may or may not be available at the time of volunteer application. If you are unsure what roles may be a good fit for you, don’t worry! Each applicant will work with our Volunteer Manager to ensure they find a good fit within our organization based on availability, skillset, interests, experience, and time per week.

The Adoptions Department is responsible for processing new foster applications, training new foster families, finalizing adoptions, and following up with adoptive families for updates and to provide support when needed.

Examples of volunteer roles within the Adoptions Department include but are not limited to Foster Coordinator, Adoption Coordinator, Adoption Follow-up Coordinator, Adoption Center Coordinator, and Training Coordinator.

The Intake department has one of the largest and most important roles within the rescue – bringing pets into our care! Volunteers within the intake department work with local impounds, high kill shelters, surrendering owners, and other outlets to determine if the animals in their care are a good fit for Ruff Start’s foster base.

Examples of volunteer roles within the Intake department include but are not limited to Out-of-State Coordinator, Owner Surrender Coordinator, Impound Coordinator, Intake Assistant, and Office Transport Volunteer.

The Vetting department is responsible for overseeing all animals within the rescue and ensuring all appropriate vetting criteria is met prior to adoption. Vetting volunteers are involved in day-to-day conversation between foster families, partnering veterinary clinics, and internal team members to ensure all animals are given the care they need and deserve.

Examples of volunteer roles within the Vetting department include but are not limited to Vetting Assistant, Microchip Coordinator, and Medical Admin Coordinators.

The Development department, which includes the fundraising, grants, donations, and events portion of the rescue, is responsible for planning and organizing events on behalf of the rescue, as well as ensuring all donations are recorded properly and donors receive tax receipts as well as well-deserved recognition for their contributions.

Examples of volunteer roles within the Development department include but are not limited to Adoption Day Event Coordinator, Community Events Coordinator, Puppy & Kitten Party Coordinator, Donation Recorder, and Animal Supply Gift Coordinator.

The Communications department is responsible for communicating respectfully and responsively with the rescue’s many audiences. Subdivisions of the Communications department include the rescue’s social media platforms, email marketing, public relations, website, and all other social mediums. This area also covers the creation of content for use on these mediums, such as graphics and verbiage.

Examples of volunteer roles within the Communications department include but are not limited to Communications Coordinator, Marketing Coordinator, Website Development Coordinator, Web Designer, Content Curator, Social Media Specialist, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Newsletter Coordinator, Digital Marketing Specialist, Merchandise Assistant, and Pet Profile Coordinator.

The Volunteer department is responsible for recruiting, retaining, and supporting Ruff Start’s volunteers. Volunteers in this department process all incoming volunteer applications as well as schedule and lead new volunteer orientation, among other duties.

Examples of volunteer roles within the Volunteer department include but are not limited to Volunteer Coordinator, Receptionist, Home Visit Coordinator, Home Visit Volunteer, Cat Caretaker, and Transport Coordinator.

Ruff Start’s education program focuses on informing the general public on how to be responsible guardians of companion animals. The program’s primary focus at this time is to interactively educate children in grades K-12. Volunteers in this department plan, coordinate, and present about the importance of pet care, adoption, and safety to various audiences.

All volunteers within the Education department are considered a part of the Education Committee.

Ruff Start’s Board of Directors is always looking to recruit talented and passionate voting members. For more information about expectations, obligations, duties, responsibilities, and the application process, visit our Careers page.

Minor Volunteers

  • Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
  • Volunteers aged 16 and 17 must have a minor release form signed by a parent/guardian.
  • Youth under the age of 16 are invited to attend one of our quarterly Jr. Volunteer Events and are also encouraged to help out from home by making pet toys or holding a donation drive.

Volunteering FAQ

How old do you need to be to volunteer?

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. Youth under the age of 16 are invited to attend one of our quarterly Jr. Volunteer Events and are also encouraged to help out from home by making pet toys or holding a donation drive.

Is there a minimum commitment for volunteering?

You can volunteer on a schedule that works best for you! We have both standing opportunities and one-off opportunities during the day, evenings, and weekends. There’s something for everyone! We just ask that you volunteer at least once per year in order to remain active.

Do you have any large group volunteer opportunities?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate large groups volunteering together at this time. However, we always appreciate groups holding donation drives (monetary or supplies) on our behalf!

Do you have a shelter? Can I volunteer to walk dogs?

We are a foster-based rescue so all the dogs in our care are tended to by their foster families. We do have a physical (non-shelter) facility in Princeton, MN that many of our volunteer opportunities are based out of.

Can I volunteer from home?

Absolutely! We have many virtual volunteer opportunities.

Do you accept court-ordered community service hours?

We accept court-ordered community service hours on a case-by-case basis. Please email for more information.

Current Volunteers

If you’re a current volunteer, login to your VolunteerImpact account to see current volunteer activities and openings.

For any questions regarding volunteering, please email our Volunteer Manager at

Ruff Start Rescue