Board of Directors

Azure Davis

President and Founder

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Azure Davis

President and Founder

Azure Davis is the President/Founder of Ruff Start Rescue. She started Ruff Start Rescue in March of 2010. She has always had a passion for animals growing up and in her small town of Princeton it was well known that she wanted to save them all! At the young age of 23 she decided to put her social life on hold and start a rescue in her small town since she noticed they had few resources for animals in need. As the president/founder of the rescue Azure has many responsibilities and oversees all departments to ensure the rescue runs smoothly, continues to grow, and stays in line with our mission. Azure has always saved animals from cats, dogs, squirrels, raccoons, crows, and small birds.  She grew up on 50 acres and has always had a country lifestyle.  She attended Princeton High School and then went on to receive her AA degree at Anoka Ramsey Community College.  She continued her education and received her Bachelors degree in Business from Metropolitan State University.  She is working on completing a second major in marketing.  Azure fostered with a few other rescues before starting her own.  She also has helped wildlife sanctuaries with donations in the past.  She has always worked multiple jobs to keep her schedule as flexible as possible. Azure recently purchased her first home and loves it!  She has a pitbull named Emma who is her best friend and she could not imagine life without her! She also has a deaf geriatric cat names Martin along with two other cats that reside at her parents house.  Her 13 year old bulldog named Taz recently passed away on December 28, 2013.  He was like a son to Azure.  Although he is gone she wants him memory to stay alive in everyone that knew him!  When Azure has spare time which is rare she enjoys gardening, cooking, and canning in the summertime.  She also enjoys bonfires, camping, and fishing.  In the winter months she stays indoors watching Netflix and working on rescue needs non-stop.  She also attends rescue events and transports on the weekends.

Alanna Davis

Board Member

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Alanna Davis

Board Member

Alanna Davis is a Board Member. She joined Ruff Start Rescue in February of 2013 as a non-voting director. She is happy to present new ideas, troubleshoot and support changes that help structure the growth of the organization. She likes to help with a variety of issues along with creating compliance systems and exploring new innovation. She grew up with animals and got her first pony at 11 yrs old. From there she spent most of her days riding and eventually training and showing for others. She pursued an RN degree and worked in the nursing field until 2000 when her husband and she decided to start their own business. She manages the office and bookkeeping duties to date. She and her husband Jeff still live in their country home of 29 years where they raised their two daughters Azure and Liz. They made sure they too had animals and witnessed compassion for them. They always seemed to be a magnet for lost or injured strays and wildlife.She is trying to make more time now to enjoy being outdoors in nature, hiking, biking, x-country skiing. She loves road trips, music festivals, fiddling and trying to stay in shape by running and going to the gym.

Diana Krueger

Board Member

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Diana Krueger

Board Member

Diana Krueger is part of our Board of Directors and is on the education committee. She started with Ruff Start in May 2013. As a board member she helps make decisions for the betterment and growth of Ruff Start Rescue. She is also active in the new and exciting education program which involves going into schools throughout the state and teaching them care and responsibility of owning a pet. She was a state MN Humane Society investigator for over 20 years. She has been a rehabilitator for the state of Minnesota, a Como Zoo Docent for 13 years, giving educational programs and zoo tours. She was a pet judge for 4-H and also a 4-H project leader for the dog and goat classes. She has shown and raised Irish Setters and horses, raised beef cattle and dairy goats plus other farm animals. She lives in MN with her 3 dogs, a cat, a rabbit and 2 chickens. She loves football, mushroom hunting, grandkids and gardening. She has many large perennial flower beds in her backyard that she spends many hours digging in. She enjoys going out with friends for dinner and movies. Animals have always been a large part of her life.

Gina Rasset

Board Member

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Gina Rasset

Board Member

Gina Rasset is a Board Member with Ruff Start Rescue. She started as a board member in March 2013 and also became a foster in September of 2013. She volunteers and helps at events in any way she can including jumping into frozen lakes for fundraising events! Gina is a workaholic with a full and part time job and also selling Norwex.  Ruff Start Rescue is her first time working with a rescue but she has experience being a vet assistant for both large and small animal veterinarians. Gina is married with one son.  She lives on 5 acres which gives her  room to have her two horses, dog, and cat.  She currently has two foster dogs.  Since Gina and her husband work multiple jobs they do not have a lot of free time but when they do they love to spend time with their horses and go snowmobiling.

Julie Lessard

Director of Operations

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Julie Lessard

Director of Operations

Julie Lessard is the Director of Operations with Ruff Start Rescue. She started working with the rescue in February 2012. She started out being a foster mom and soon became a placement coordinator. From their she became a placement coordinator manager and was spending every free moment she had helping Ruff Start Rescue and all of the animals. Her drive and determination was noticed by others and soon she was offered the Director of Operations position and could not pass it up! Julie has always had a love for animals since she was a young girl.  She had a dream of being a veterinarian which soon she realized would not work since she didn’t like to see animals in pain even for shots.  She knew she wanted to work with animals and always told people she would love to have a huge home with lots of land where she could save them all.  Once she moved to Princeton she found Ruff Start Rescue and knew this was her calling.  She quit her job in the cities and opened her own business which allowed her more time to work with the rescue and make her dreams come true! Julie has two girls that are her life!  Ellie her black lab mix and Meela her shepherd mix.  She plans her schedule and life around them.  In the summer months she enjoys garage sailing and finding fun older pieces that she can refurbish such as making dog beds out of old TV stands or end tables.  She loves any outdoor activities such as golfing, fishing, and barbeques. She also would really love to learn how to garden.

Sammie Bistodeau

Board Memeber and Volunteer Coordinator

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Sammie Bistodeau

Board Memeber and Volunteer Coordinator

Sammie Bistodeau is a Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator with Ruff Start Rescue. She has been with the rescue since it began in March of 2010. She was with Azure when Hope was flown into the princeton airport as Ruff Start Rescue’s first rescue dog! She has held many different positions within the rescue including placement coordinator, volunteer, and foster. Sammie is a manager at a small family business and is almost finished with her AA degree. She started fostering 7 years ago with another rescue and now volunteers with Ruff Start Rescue along with other rescues. Sammie is married to her high school sweetheart and lives with her 4 adopted fur babies!  Her cats Lance and Gummy Bear along with her dogs Bailey and Lucy.  They enjoy car shows, driving in their old 54 chevy truck, and spending time outdoors in the summer.

Chris Maddox

Board Member

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Chris Maddox

Board Member

Chris became involved with Ruff Start Rescue in June of 2013 when Ruff Start Rescue helped him save an urgent pit bull on death row who is now living a spoiled life with Chris. He has been a part of many different areas with the rescue including volunteering and fostering. He has also managed one of our monthly adoption events, intake coordinating, home visits, and transports. In November 2013 Chris was nominated to take a board member position where he currently serves as Treasurer. Chris is a marketing, branding, and communications executive with 23 years of experience in financial services. His passion for animal rescue and welfare started 15 years ago when he was living in Southern California and found two abandonded and abused pit bulls on the streets of LA. That day changed his life! Since then he has been educating himself on issues surrounding animal advocacy, pet overpopulation, and breed specific legislation. Finding Ruff Start Rescue and becoming involved was just what he was looking for. Chris is originally from a small town in Kansas where his family still currently lives. He enjoys spending time with his "adopted Minnesota Family". He currently has three resident dogs who are Daisy, Tigger, and Diesel. All three are pit bull mixes which is a breed he adores and is very passionate about. He also has many foster animals in and out of the house. At his most he was up to 7 at one time! When Chris has free time from his dogs (which is rare) he enjoys hanging out with a few close friends, reading, and best of all enjoying some quiet alone time.

Melissa Maranda

Board Member

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Melissa Maranda

Board Member

Melissa grew up in Brooklyn Park, MN. For the past 16 years she has lived in Maryland and California and decided to return to MN in March. Her passion for rescue started when she rescued her dog Sadie in San Francisco. Sadie changed her life and made her realize how great rescue dogs can be. Sadie loves to go to the park and watch soccer, she is a true Californian is learning to adjust to the seasons in Minnesota. Upon returning to Minnesota, Melissa found Ruff Start Rescue and wanted to give back to an organization that provides loving homes for animals. Melissa brings over 12 years of human resources, regulatory and program management experience in the financial services and healthcare environment. She currently manages the daily operations of CEPAmerica’s Scribe program. She has implemented, staffed and supported the company’s 46 emergency department scribe programs. Her human resources expertise has helped strategically grow the program from 50 employees to over 800. In her free time, Melissa enjoys biking, running, wine tasting and travel. She is looking forward to getting reacquainted with some of the great things Minnesota has to offer such as cabin life, snowmobiling and hockey!

Lindsey Johnston

Board Member

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Lindsey Johnston

Board Member

I first found Ruff Start Rescue when considering adopting a dog a few years ago. I found myself repeatedly sending my husband links to dogs being fostered through the Rescue. I never did quite convince him that we needed another dog, but I did discover that I could help improve the lives of furry friends by serving on the Board. So here I am! After living in Alabama for eight years following college, I moved up to Minneapolis for grad school at the U and finished with a Masters in Human Resources. I met my (now) husband about a year after getting to the Twin Cities, so I stuck around. We are big-time bicycle enthusiasts and do our fair share of gardening. We currently live in Saint Paul with a Jack Russell named Talley and two orange and white tabby cats named Catalina and Catastrophe. I am both a dog and cat person and grew up in a household where there were never less than three dogs and five cats. I held multiple dog sitting jobs in college, and I still volunteer at Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary with my mom when I visit my parents down in Tennessee. I am so excited to be a part of Ruff Start Rescue!

 

Vetting Coordinators

Abbey Lynn

Placement Coordinator

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Abbey Lynn

Placement Coordinator

Abbey Lynn is a Placement Coordinator for Ruff Start Rescue. She started volunteering with the rescue in February 2014. As a placement coordinator she assists families from the moment their new foster animal arrives on transport to the animals being placed in their forever home. Abbey works in the medical field assisting people with hearing loss.  She has always worked in the medical field and has an associates degree in Surgical Technology.  Helping animals and people is something she is very passionate about. Abbey is married to her wonderful wife Stacy. They have five animals at home which are two dogs (4 year old golden retriever and 2 year old pit bull/heeler mix) and three cats. Abbey and her wife live in Minneapolis and they love it!  They love anything involving helping furry friends which is why they love volunteering with Ruff Start Rescue so much!

Allison Collete Lam

Placement Coordinator, Vetting Coordinator, and Dog Trainer/Behaviorist

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Allison Collete Lam

Placement Coordinator, Vetting Coordinator, and Dog Trainer/Behaviorist

Allison Colette Lamminen has many roles with Ruff Start Rescue. She is a Placement Coordinator, a Vetting Coordinator and a Dog Trainer/Behaviorist. As a Placement Coordinator she is responsible for processing the adoption applications that come through for the cats and dogs, placing animals in foster homes and making sure the fosters that she is in charge of have everything they need in order to be successful. As a Vetting Coordinator she makes sure all animals are healthy and up to date on vaccinations. As a Dog Trainer and Behaviorist, she helps evaluate dogs and works on a training plan for each dog in hopes of giving the fosters the tools they need to modify behaviors and bring the best out of each dog! Allison has not worked with any other rescue prior to Ruff Start; she was introduced to the rescue world by a friend. She got her first dog from a humane society after she would go there and play with the animals. She felt so bad that they were cooped up in cages that she had to take one home with her. She has worked at an animal hospital, doggie daycare, and summer camps with kids and as a choir director. She is currently working as a server while she finishes out her way through business school. She also is working on getting her dog training certification. She is also in a band. Allison hopes that someday she will become a famous musician so she can donate lots of money to Ruff Start Rescue and build a sanctuary for all the animals that need a good home.

Amy Schmidt

Placement Coordinator

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Amy Schmidt

Placement Coordinator

Amy Schmidt is a placement coordinator and temp foster with ruff start rescue. She started volunteering with the rescue in October 2013 and has completed many adoptions already! Her position has been very rewarding for her! Allowing her to interact with people who care about animals the same way she does. She believes 100% in rescue and loves volunteering! Amy graduated from Glencoe High School and Rasmussen Business College.  She currently works full time at 3M.  She has resided in Hutchinson for 15 years. Amy has had animal throughout her entire life.  She currently has a 12 year old lab, 3 year old pit mix, and a crazy 4 year old cat.  In the summer months she spends time on the motorcycle, outside with her dogs, yard work, and flower gardening.  In the winter months she consumes herself with the rescue and staying warm.

Angie Weum

Intake Coordinator

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Angie Weum

Intake Coordinator

Angie Weum is an Intake Coordinator with Ruff Start Rescue. She started volunteering with the rescue in October 2012 fostering dogs and cats. In March 2013 she took on the role of Intake Coordinator working directly with animals being returned to the rescue. Angie has worked in the traveling industry for 18 years and lives in Crystal with her boyfriend and 3 dogs.  She is currently fostering Waffles and in the past 1 ½ has fostered over 17 animals and loved each one of them.  She also became a foster failure adopting their first dog Johnny! Angie has two children Abby 17 and Josh 13.  She also has three dogs Dakota a 6 year old german shepherd, Hurley a 5 ½ year old german shepherd, and Johnny a 4 year old jack russell.  She also has two cats Oliver and Odie.  In her spare time she loves to travel, go on walks with her dogs, and go to the cabin  where her animals can run and play!

Anna Williams

Donation Recorder

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Anna Williams

Donation Recorder

Anna Williams is the Donation Recorder, serves on the education committee, and is a foster for Ruff Start Rescue. She just became involved with the organization in 2014 but is all in and willing to help in any way possible. An animal lover from day one, she and her husband adopted a puppy through a rescue organization in their hometown of Fargo, ND. “Bravo” was a cane corso/olde english bulldogge mix and was a beautiful, loving dog. Unfortunately, despite several years of training, rehabilitation, medical examinations, and a lot of love- Bravo was involved in an aggressive incident that required him to be put down. This was the toughest situation Anna has ever dealt with, and after learning the goals and aspirations of Ruff Start Rescue she could not hold back and wanted to jump in and help to save as many dogs as possible! She currently resides in Saint Francis, MN with her husband, baby girl, and boxer “Louie.” She owns her own photography business, Annabelle’s Photography, and specializes in portraiture (weddings, family, child, boudoir, pets, engagement, newborn, senior portraits, head-shots, & maternity). Being a business owner has allowed her the flexibility to stay at home with her 10 month old daughter. She stays very busy with volunteer work as a very active member of the Saint Francis Area Women of Today in addition to her duties with Ruff Start. When not volunteering or working on photos she loves to travel with her family and explore the outdoors!

Bonnie Kemp

Foster Coordinator

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Bonnie Kemp

Foster Coordinator

Bonnie Kemp is a Foster Coordinator with Ruff Start Rescue. She started volunteering with Ruff Start Rescue in October 2013. In her position she works with new applicants interested in becoming fosters with Ruff Start Rescue. She shares information about what being a foster entails and information about the rescue. She enjoys this position as she is able to connect with fellow animal lovers and find homes for animals in need until they are adopted. Bonnie grew up in the Southeast suburbs and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied French and Political Science.  She currently works at Target Corporation as a merchandising analyst for the Target Canada Business.  She lives in Uptown and has volunteered in the past with the animal humane society.  This is her first time volunteering with a rescue. Bonnie has one older sister and a younger brother.  Her parents have two dogs who she visits all the time.  Bonnie has started fostering cats.  She enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, and trying new restaurants.

Cami Basta

Foster Coordinator and Newsletter Coordinator

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Cami Basta

Foster Coordinator and Newsletter Coordinator

Cami Basta is a foster coordinator and the writer of our newsletter. She first became a volunteer with Ruff Start Rescue in January of 2013 and a Foster Coordinator in June of the same year. As a Foster Coordinator, it's her job to review incoming applications from individuals & families who are interested in learning more about fostering animals with Ruff Start Rescue. She provides them with information and training to prepare them for one of the most important and rewarding jobs in our rescue, fostering a homeless dog or cat. As the writer of the newsletter she prepares and distributes each month the news, information and updates on rescue related activity to more than 1,400 subscribers. She studied Business Communications and Criminal Justice in college and is employed as a Corrections Officer with the MN Department of Corrections. Cami enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing, backpacking and bicycling. She is an avid naturalist interested in holistic, natural living.

Carolyn Lewis

Placement Coordinator

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Carolyn Lewis

Placement Coordinator

Carolyn Lewis is a Placement Coordinator. She started as a foster with Ruff Start Rescue in February of 2013 and became a Placement Coordinator that July. As a Placement Coordinator, she is in charge of processing applications by checking backgrounds, references, and vet records. She arranges for home visits and for the fosters and applicants to meet. She then makes sure that the adoption gets finalized with the new adopters of the animal. She’s been a manager of a variety of teams for over 20+ years, from janitors to software developers.  Her organizational skills really help her in her role as a Placement Coordinator. She and her husband have adopted several rescue dogs throughout the years, but after they had to put her last home-bred Bichon to sleep, she was SO lonely without a lap dog.  She put in an application with Ruff Start for a Bichon mix, but he had already been adopted. She was thankful that another member of the Ruff Start team suggested she foster a totally disheveled Havanese that was coming in to the rescue.   After the dog was groomed it took about 3 seconds before she knew she wanted him to be hers. Since then she’s fostered and placed several dogs. Along with her Havanese, Bandit she has also failed as a foster on another dog that is a Bichon named Madie. She has her two lap dogs, so loves to watch a lot of movies with them.

Carrie Schuelle

Foster Coordinator

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Carrie Schuelle

Foster Coordinator

Hi! My name is Carrie Schueller, I have been married to my husband Jim, for 15 years. We have 2 sons, Tyler (24) and Andrew (14). We also have 2 dogs. Murphy, is a 10 year old English Springer Spaniel and Maggie is an 8 year old Miniature Schnauzer. We live in Sauk Rapids. My Andrew is going to be a freshman this year and my Tyler just graduated from SCSU with a degree in Criminal Justice and he also finished his skills training, as he is now looking forward to a career in law enforcement. For as long as I can remember our lives have revolved around our boys, now that they are older, we are finding that they really don't want us around much anymore (I don't know why??) So I talked Jim into letting me foster. It only took a couple months! We have fostered 6 dogs since February and have loved each and every one of them and I feel blessed that I was able to help their forever family find them. I do have a few rules I have to follow before I can agree to a foster, but hey, I can still foster, so I have learned to step back and listen to him before I agree to a dog. I love to foster dogs that are older (no puppies for this girl) and I am a sucker for the scruffys!! I actually learned about Ruff Start Rescue from my niece as I had not ever heard about rescues. So....I started to follow all the animals that came through, and read through different ways I could help. I started as a volunteer, now I am a foster, a foster coordinator and a placement coordinator "helper". All the people that I have met in this rescue have all been so awesome, and I am happy that I have had the opportunity to make more friends. I really believe that if everyone does one thing whether it be foster one dog, donate $10 or transport an animal to a vet appt or event, we are literally saving these babies one animal at a time.

Crystal Berggren

Intake Coordinator

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Crystal Berggren

Intake Coordinator

Crystal Berggren is an Intake Coordinator with Ruff Start Rescue. She started volunteering with the rescue in October 2013. She focuses on owners surrenders that the rescue receives. Crystal recently received her RN license from the State of MN.  Before going back to college she was an administrative assistant for the vice president of operations for a multimillion dollar company. Crystal has 3 boys.  A set of two legged 9 year old twins and a 4 legged 3 year old shih tzu.  The boys and her all have their own snowmobiles and enjoy riding them as often as they can.  She also enjoys visiting her family in Bemidji all year round!

Danielle Cain

Placement Coordinator

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Danielle Cain

Placement Coordinator

Danielle Cain is a Placement Coordinator for Ruff Start Rescue. Danielle started fostering for Ruff Start Rescue in May 2013 and started as a placement coordinator in October 2013.  The main responsibilities of a placement coordinator include being the primary point of contact for all of the foster homes under her watch, vetting appointments, supply requests, questions, etc.  But the biggest responsibility includes processing the applications from all of the wonderful prospective adoptive homes for the dogs and cats in her foster homes. Danielle is married with 4 kids, is a full-time employee in the financial services industry, and has a passion for animals.  Danielle fell in the love with the idea of working with rescue animals in foster homes after she adopted her second dog with a different rescue.  Her foster knew everything about her, her personality, likes and dislikes, etc.Danielle lives in Elk River with her husband and their blended family of 4 kids.  Danielle tends to call her house a zoo.  They have had all types of resident animals from fish, dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and chinchillas.  They currently have two dogs, two cats, and two chinchillas. Â

Eileen Young

Foster and Placement Coordinator

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Eileen Young

Foster and Placement Coordinator

Eileen Young is a Foster & Placement Coordinator. As a Placement Coordinator she is responsible for processing adoptions, placing animals in foster homes and making sure the fosters that she is in charge of have everything they need in order to be successful. As a Foster, she focuses on caring for the animals that may need the extra special care due to health or physical impairments or kittens. Eileen has been involved in rescue work for over 25 years. She was a pet sitter for 5 years and attended University of Minnesota and Henry Ford Hospital School of nursing. Â She has been part of the Ruff Start Rescue team for 3 years.Eileen and her husband Al are both very active in helping save animals lives along with their 2 children, Theresa and Mike. Â

Heather Kelley

Intake Coordinator

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Heather Kelley

Intake Coordinator

Heather has been volunteering with Ruff Start Rescue since November 2013. She started out helping with Transports and soon began fostering. She took on her current position as an Intake Coordinator in March 2014. Her primary focus in this position is working with Shelters to find new members of the Ruff Start Rescue family. Heather is a Transportation Analyst for a trucking company. She has experience in both transportation and customer service. Heather is married with six children. She has resident dogs and cats as well as foster animals. Most of her time outside of work is spent with her kids and animals.

Heidi Ennenga

Placement Coordinator

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Heidi Ennenga

Placement Coordinator

Heidi recently joined the RSR team in April 2014. She volunteered with other rescues, but wanted to be more involved with an organization, after meeting with a RSR volunteer decided a placement coordinator role would be a good fit. Heidi has always had a passion for helping animals and could always be found outdoors. While growing up on a farm, she not only cared for the farm animals but helped injured wildlife as well. Heidi graduated with a degree in business/accounting and after years of working in an accounting office decided to pursue her passion of working with animals. She completed grooming classes and opened a grooming business that she operated for ten years before relocating with her husband and their three fur kids to their current home. She now is an accounting consultant for small businesses and in her spare time helps animal rescues with grooming, home visits, fostering and now a coordinator role. Heidi and her husband, Steve, live in the country just west of the metro and enjoy the great outdoors with their three labs: Tucker, Kita and Carbon. Some of her favorite activities are hunting (especially upland bird with their “kids”), fishing, running, hiking, snowshoeing, gardening… anything outdoors, as well as traveling with her husband.

Holly Davies

Adoption Day Event Coordinator

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Holly Davies

Adoption Day Event Coordinator

Holly Davies is our Adoption Day Event Coordinator. This consists of overseeing the adoption events that the rescue holds throughout the metro area and deals directly with our sites to arrange the events. She is in charge of finding volunteers to run our adoption events and make sure that they are well stocked with fosters and animals to show off to the public. She updates our Face book page with weekly updates about our upcoming adoption events. Holly is RN nurse and currently pursuing her Bachelors degree. When she is not taking care of patients she is taking care of rescue dogs as a foster. Ruff Start Rescue is her first rescue that she has been a part of and she has found a new passion with saving animals. Holly and her husband, Brian have 2 children and 3 dogs. When she started with the rescue she had 2 Golden Retrievers and when she fostered a pointer mix named Luka, she fell in love with him became a part of the “foster failure” group and adopted him into their family. They also have a horse that she enjoys riding. When she is not spending time with her family and animals she loves to travel. She would love to see Europe or Tahiti. Â

Holly Schenz

Placement and Foster Coordinator Manager

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Holly Schenz

Placement and Foster Coordinator Manager

Holly Schenz has been with the rescue since August of 2013. She began volunteering with events and went from an adoption day manager and placement coordinator to a placement coordinator/foster coordinator manager. Her duties as a placement coordinator/foster coordinator manager are to make sure that any concerns with fosters and their dogs/cats are handled in an appropriate and timely manner. She is the one that the placement coordinators go to for help when they need a second opinion on concerns that they may be having with the fosters that they are in charge of. Holly went to college for business administration and currently works at a casino. She has always loved animals and volunteered at the humane society when she was growing up. She joined Ruff Start to help make a difference in the lives of animals on a larger scale.Holly and her husband and 2 children have several pets at home in addition to the various fosters that they take into their home. In her spare time she likes to spend time with her family, listen to music and read.

Jackie Mabin

Administrative Assistant

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Jackie Mabin

Administrative Assistant

Jackie Mabin is the Administrative Assistant. She started with Ruff Start Rescue in 2010. She has loved animal all her life and decided one day she wanted to do something more to help them. She searched for open volunteer positions and found Ruff Start Rescue. Since that day she has made animal rescue a big part of her life. She has many job duties including uploading and managing accounting files, vetting information, managing donations and helping with any other things that need to be done. She also helps with internal projects and organization that is needed. She currently works in a mental health clinic in the administration area and she loves it.  She has a background in management and education in administration. Jackie and her husband have 2 dogs (Susiee and their recently adopted Caisi) and love spending their time helping save the lives of the animals with Ruff Start Rescue. They also enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Jayne Helgevold

Website Coordinator

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Jayne Helgevold

Website Coordinator

Jayne Helgevold is a foster, a volunteer and part of the web team. She has been with the rescue since 2012 after she helped transport a dog and cat over 200 miles. Little did she know that this adventure would change her life to want to help more animals in need. Her duties on the web team are to update the bios of the current animals that are available for adoption along with helping create fundraising pages for animals that may have higher medical bills that the rescue needs assistance with paying for. She has almost 20 years of marketing and communication experience and recently completed a master of divinity at United theological Seminary and hopes to begin a career as a chaplain in the near future. Jayne is married to Bob who is also a volunteer and foster. They currently have 4 resident dogs and 2 resident casts. They have various other animals that they foster and enjoy taking their own resident dogs to obedience and agility classes. They also love taking their dogs on walks on the trails near their home.

Jenelle Montoya

Grant Writer

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Jenelle Montoya

Grant Writer

Jenelle started volunteering with Ruff Start Rescue in late fall of 2013. She started as a foster and is now a grant writer for the rescue. She helps submit proposals for Ruff Start Rescue's current and new activites. Ruff Start Rescue is Jenelle's first experience working in animal rescue. She has a B.A. in English from Gustavus Adolphus College. She has been writing grants for nearly eight years. In addition to grant writing she has a background in marketing and advertising. Jenelle lives in the north metro with her furbabies Chloe (a female rescue chihuahua mix), Little Man (RSR foster fail male chihuahua mix), and Rabbit (a female calico cat rescue). For fun Jenelle likes to go to concerts and out dancing with friends. She regularly attends Zumba classes at the gym and loves it!

Jennie Stai

Vetting Coordinator

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Jennie Stai

Vetting Coordinator

Jenni Stai is a Vetting Coordinator that started with Ruff Start in late 2013. She has experience working at a veterinary office as a receptionist and she is in charge of making sure the animals that are in foster care are up to date on all their vaccines and alterations. She also assists with any health questions that the fosters or adopters may have. Ever since Jenni was little she has had a soft spot for animals and wanted to be able to help them out any way that she could. This is her first rescue that she has been a part of and she loves every minute of it! Jenni and her husband, Joe, along with their 3 yr old daughter rescued both a dog and cat from Ruff Start Rescue and they love spending time with them and spoiling them.

Jessica Nichols

Adoption Event Manager

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Jessica Nichols

Adoption Event Manager

Jessica Nichols is an Adoption Event Manager who started with Ruff Start Rescue through a former foster while bringing their foster animal to events. Jessica started managing events unofficially shortly after. Jessica has been the official site manager for Maple Grove Petsmart for just about two years now. Jessica helps greet fosters and the public, set up our table, make sure our animals have what they need (water, leash cover, bandana, space) and invite the public to check out our site. Jessica also process’s the initial paperwork to get us our "donation" from Petsmart for each adoption done, thanks to an event. The process has changed over the years, but the goal is still the same! Jessica has been with the rescue for a little over three years.  She started because her own dog was a rescue.  They literally cut her rope from a tree and took her in!  Jessica’s main background is in medical, which she finds helpful when working in animal rescue as well! Jessica’s family has two dogs, her rescue pittie mix, and her boyfriend's weimaraner.  They also have a ferret and two beta fish, that may never die.  Jessica loves to go on walks and ride motorcycles, though she prefers off road riding.  Jessica’s girls are total animal lovers and love to come be in rescue parades with her.

Kathryn Hauser

Placement Coordinator

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Kathryn Hauser

Placement Coordinator

Kathryn Hauser is a Website Coordinator, a Foster, and a Placement Coordinator. She started with RSR in Dec. 2010, by fostering a dog. Since then, she’s had 20-some and loved them all!  As a Placement Coordinator she assists the  fosters that she is assigned to help them throughout the entire foster experience until adoption. As a Website Coordinator she helps assist in updating animals web pages with info from the fosters. She works fulltime as an RN in a Medical ICU in the cities and may go back to school for anesthesia. Rescue is always fulfilling and always satisfies her puppy-love cravings. She is getting married to her sweetheart of 9 years in August! Together they have a couple of yellow lab/golden retriever mixes; Pumpkin is her sweet senior at 14 years, and Maizey is a ball of crazy at only 1 year. In their spare time, Jesse and Kathryn love doing anything outdoors, seeing movies, staying fit, and of course just kicking back with their pups and some good ol' TV together.

Katie Leyendecker

Social Media Specialist

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Katie Leyendecker

Social Media Specialist

Katie Leyendecker started following Ruff Start Rescue in December of 2012, after making a donation for a Christmas gift, and decided to take a formal position with them the summer of 2014. In the past, Katie has fostered with another rescue in town and loved seeing the foster dogs grow from nervous pups to bright and happy dogs, ready for their forever homes. Her active household prevented her from taking the leap into fostering again, but an online position was just the ticket. Katie and her Husband live in the Cities with their two young daughters, Audrey and Olivia. They have two fur babies also Cooper (7 year old Chihuahua) and Riley (2 year old Chocolate Lab). Needless to say their house is very busy! In her free time Katie enjoys camping, sewing and spending time with her family.

Kayla Boerma

Video Producation and Fundraising/Events

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Kayla Boerma

Video Producation and Fundraising/Events

Kayla Boerma is a Foster, Volunteer, Video Production, Fundraising and events. Kayla started volunteering for Ruff Start in February of 2013 and absolutely loves it!   She fosters anywhere from 1 to 3 cats/kittens at a time.   Kayla attends monthly fundraising meetings and helps with events. Animals have been Kayla’s passion as long as she can remember.   Growing up she had cats, dogs, rabbits and horses.  She even raised several baby raccoons and a deer!  Another passion of Stacy’s is travel, which led her to graduate from the Travel and Hospitality program at Rasmussen Business College. Kayla has one cat, ( Pippy) who she adopted from Ruff Start Rescue.  Part of the reason she chose her is because black cats are the least likely to be adopted, not to mention she stole her heart the first time she held her!  Kayla also has anywhere from 1-3 foster cats/kittens at a time so there’s never a dull moment at her place! During her free time she enjoys traveling, being outdoors, taking pictures, scuba diving and downhill skiing.Â

Kelly Haas

Vetting Assistant

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Kelly Haas

Vetting Assistant

Kelly Haas is a Vetting Assistant with Ruff Start Rescue. Kelly Started with RSR in 2012. Kelly is responsible for helping out the Intake Department with owner surrenders, quarterly inventory at the office, assist with transports/intakes, vetting days at the office as well as her home. Kelly also helps set up surgeries for special locations as well. Kelly has been a Certified Veterinary Technician Since 2005 and has been working full-time at a clinic in Anoka ever since. Once Kelly found RSR, she knew she was at home! Kelly loves her job and the rescue work she does. Kelly lives alone (kinda), with her dog (foster failure), Mizer, as well as her rescue cats, Romeo and Juliet. For fun she does a bunch of different craft projects and spends time with family and friends (rescue or not!)  Oh, she also likes to read....when she has time!

Kelly Hipsag

Placement Coordinator

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Kelly Hipsag

Placement Coordinator

Kelly Hipsag is a Placement Coordinator and Foster with Ruff Start Rescue. She started volunteering with the rescue in the summer of 2011 as a Foster. About a year later she decided she wanted to get more involved and became a Placement Coordinator. Kelly has fostered 15 dogs so far and looks forward to saving more in the future. As a placement coordinator she has help placed many dogs and some cats into their forever homes which is the best feeling in the world. Kelly has always loved animals and dreamed of growing up on a farm where she could have lots of them. Guess what….her dream came true! She started out volunteering with Tri County Humane Society.  Seeing all of the sad animals in cages made her want to help save them all.  She did some research and found Ruff Start Rescue and has been hooked ever since. Kelly has a hobby farm with her family where they have cattle, mini donkeys, horses, chickens, goats, three dogs, fish, and a cockatiel.  For fun she likes to spend time on the farm with her animals and also spend time with her family.  Living on a farm is a lot of work and she loves the time she gets to spend with her animals.  She also has three kids.  Two are in college and one is in ninth grade. Â

Laurel Sipe

Microchip Coordinator

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Laurel Sipe

Microchip Coordinator

Laurel Sipe is our Microchip Coordinator. She started volunteering for Ruff Start in April 2013. As a Microchip Coordinator she works with the vetting team to help keep track of the microchip numbers for all the pets that come into the rescue and make sure they get registered or properly transferred. Once adopted, she updates the microchip registration with the contact information for the pet's new family. She has never worked with a rescue prior to joining Ruff Start, however she’s always had a strong desire to help animals.  She has had many years of administrative and office experience which she puts to good use within the rescue. She has 2 cats and 3 dogs, all of which are rescues. In addition to working full time and volunteering, she is a marathon runner and adventure seeker. She enjoys being outdoors and loves to travel.

Leah Bronken

Fundraiser and Events Coordinator

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Leah Bronken

Fundraiser and Events Coordinator

Leah Bronken holds many different volunteer positions with Ruff Start Rescue including fundraising, events, and fostering. She loves helping animals and people and Ruff Start Rescue incorporates those ideals into her daily life. She has a sense of accomplishment know that every animal you take in means you are saving their lives. Leah is currently working in sales and customer services.  She has an Elementary Education Degree.  She loves volunteering with Ruff Start Rescue.  She has also volunteered with Leech Lake Legacy, the Wildlife Rehab Center, Sherburne Wildlife Refuge, Zimmerman Food Distribution Passing the Bread, Elk River YMCA, Girl Scouts, and for various activities in Zimmerman Schools. Leah is married with two daughters ages 14 and 18.  She has a weimaraner lab mix (which was formerly a foster), three rescued cats, and a bunny.  She loves to garden, take walks in the summer, bike, and spend time with her daughters and animals.  She is the person in her neighborhood that gets called if there are stray cats or injured animals.  In the summer Leah will always have a turtle rescue kit in her car in case she has to save them from being hit by cars.

Leah Lundgren

Placement Coordinator

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Leah Lundgren

Placement Coordinator

I discovered RSR through Missy. I have always been an animal lover since I was a kid. Saving strays roaming the neighborhood or nursing wild animals back to health before releasing them. I'm a dog person and I am knowledgable in small animals such a ferrets. I currently have an English Springer Spaniel named Trigger and two ferrets named Dexter and Luna.

LeAnne Peterzen

Placement Coordinator

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LeAnne Peterzen

Placement Coordinator

My name is LeAnne Peterzen. I live in Elk River and dogs are my passion. I have volunteered with Secondhand Hounds for awhile now and then I saw the WCCO story about Cupid. That is how I found out about Ruff Start Rescue. I am married with 3 boys ranging from 18-25 and I have 3 dogs - Rocky , Riley and Ruger. Rocky and Riley are Boston Terriers and Ruger is a Golden Retriever. I have would have many more but I would have to get rid of my husband first!

Lindsay Funkhouser

Foster Coordinator

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Lindsay Funkhouser

Foster Coordinator

Lindsay started with Ruff Start Rescue as a foster in October 2013. After seeing such a great need for help, she volunteerd more of her time and became a Foster Coordinator. In this position she processes new foster applications, provides training and answers questions for those looking to join our RSR team. Lindsay has always had a love for animals, as a child she would bring home any stray animal and try to nurse them back to health. She attended Hamline University and now works full time for the State of Minnesota. "Lindsay lives in Blaine with her fiance, 5 year old son and four dogs. "

Lisa Kertz

Vetting Assistant

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Lisa Kertz

Vetting Assistant

Lisa Kertz is a Vetting Assistant and Scheduler for the Mobile Clinics. She started fostering with RSR in December of 2011 and adopted her first RSR foster right away. After taking a little time to get her new dog settled in to their family she started fostering again for puppies and other animals within the rescue that needed to be placed in different foster homes. As a Vetting Assistant and Scheduler for the Mobile Vet Clinics she helps get the animals in need of a spay or neuter scheduled for their appointments. She started helping with this task in September of 2012.  She has been fostering since 2010 and everyone in her family plays a part in getting their foster animals ready for their new home, including her resident dogs and cat. She loves fostering puppies when her schedule allows and has had a variety of both shy and energetic adult foster dogs.  She has been a hairstylist for 20+ years.  Her newest adventure has been a career change to working with the administrative team at Kindest Cut. Lisa and her husband have been married for almost 20 years and they have 2 teenage boys. Their kids are active and keep them busy with all of their activities.  She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with friends and family. Her furry family consists of Coco, 11 year old cat, Bruiser, small dog with a big personality and Winnie, the lovable sweet Lab who was her first RSR foster. Â

Megan Youngs

Vetting Manager

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Megan Youngs

Vetting Manager

Megan Youngs is a Vetting Manager who started volunteering with Ruff Start Rescue in February of 2012 to help manage the vetting needs of the foster animals. She now leads the fabulous team of vetting coordinators to ensure the animals are receiving their needed care and to help balance the many medical needs of the animals in the rescue. She also communicates frequently with Ruff Start Rescues affiliated veterinary clinics to help ensure we are working as efficiently as possible. Megan has been a certified veterinary technician for over ten years in addition to having a bachelor’s degree in animal science.  Megan has worked in various veterinary clinics with different specialties and focuses prior to landing in the field of educating future veterinary technicians. At home, Megan keeps busy with her three kids (Jon-16, Sam-5, and Rylee-3), husband (Jon), two bulls (Caboose and Millie), cat (Frieda), and herd of five horses.  The fun for Megan comes from keeping up with all the new and different things her kids like to try which gives them all the opportunity to spend time together.  The latest sport is gymnastics for the girls and baseball is always a favorite.

Mindy Jones

Vetting Coordinator

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Mindy Jones

Vetting Coordinator

Mindy Jones is a Vetting Coordinator. She started with RSR in May 2013. As a Vetting Coordinator her role is to help ensure that the animals that are in the rescue have had all of their vetting taken care of, coordinating their appointments, and being sure they are all in good health. She is a stay at home mother with 3 children.  Before her 3rd child was born, she was a medical laboratory scientist, and was the supervisor of the chemistry lab at St. Gabriel's Hospital in Little Falls, MN.  During college, she worked as a veterinary assistant for 4 years.  She would have been completing college as a veterinarian if she had not had the joy of becoming a mother. She now has the best of both worlds by volunteering with this amazing rescue group and still getting to help saves animals. She and her husband and 3 children have 3 senior dogs (1 black lab & 2 Lhasa Apsos).  She has always had animals in her home, and her children will all be raised to have companion animals as well.In her free time, she loves to do any kind of crafting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, or just reading and playing with her kids.

Missy Johnson

Intake Manager

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Missy Johnson

Intake Manager

Missy Johnson is an Intake Manager who is responsible for dealing with local owner surrenders as well as pulling animals from local and out of state shelters in order to place them with loving foster families until they find their forever homes. She started fostering for RSR in the summer of 2012. After volunteering for a few other local rescues she decided that she wanted to find an organization that she could take on a bigger role with and contribute to the growth and success of.  She has been in the graphic design business for over 15 years and is currently a freelance design and marketing professional when she’s not saving animals. She likes to spend her free time making pottery. She is a WI native and currently lives in MN with her husband Taylor and 2 furkids, MaeBee, the cockapoo and Buddy, the Brittany Spaniel. She also always has a foster dog or two crashing at her place. For fun she loves spending time with friends, going to concerts, camping and wine tasting.

Pam Krotzer

Cat Intake Coordinator and Placement Coordinator

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Pam Krotzer

Cat Intake Coordinator and Placement Coordinator

Pam Krotzer is a Cat Intake Coordinator and Placement Coordinator. She started volunteering with the rescue about 1 ½ years ago. She started out fostering cats and kittens and decided that she loved it so much she wanted to take on a larger role. She mostly volunteers with fostering cats and teaming up with Kelli to save as many cats as they can. She loves volunteering with ruff start rescue to help save as many cats as possible. Pam has worked in customer services for 20 years at a local cabinet company.  She has two daughters one Amanda that attends UMD duluth and the other her youngest that is still in high school and helps her with foster kitties! Pam adopted two of her fur kids from Ruff Start Rescue.  She has a little black terrier mix named Jayda and a sweet grey cat named Gracie.  She also has a long haired cat named Macy who is 6 years old.

Rachel Hammes

Foster and Placement Coordinator

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Rachel Hammes

Foster and Placement Coordinator

Rachel Hammes is a FC/PC foster who started fostering in June 2012, and trained in to be an FC/PC in Jan, 2013. Rachel process’s foster and adoption applications. She also keeps her list of fosters who she PC’s for short, so she can spend most of her volunteer time processing FC applications. Rachel grew up on a hobby farm with pigs, horses, chickens, dogs and cats. All who lived outdoors. Rachel swore when she had a home of her own, she would never let her cats and dogs live out doors! Rachel now has her own hobby farm, consisting of 6 horses, chickens and ducks. They also have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and a Russian tortoise that lives in their Home!  Rachel’s family has been fostering mostly puppies and dogs, with the exception of one kitten, a total of 29 animals thus far.  They did adopt one of the rescue’s fosters (Max), an IG, who adds so much to their everyday lives! Rachel is married and has 3 teenage children who also love animals and love helping out doing things throughout the rescue.   At least one is always along with her to help out with transports whenever she goes.  Rachel’s family lives in Cambridge on a 20 acre hobby farm.  For fun they go camping with their dogs, and many times with their horses to trail ride. They also like to hit the lake to go fishing and tubing.

Shannon Morgan

Vetting Coordinator

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Shannon Morgan

Vetting Coordinator

Shannon Morgan is a vetting coordinator who started volunteering with Ruff Start Rescue in August 2013. As a vetting coordinator, she is responsible for making sure pets are kept up to date on vetting needs. She also answers questions for foster parents who are concerned with the health of their foster animals. Shannon also helps with intake. Vetting intake consists of giving vaccines, deworming, microchipping and filing all of the vetting paperwork together. After graduating from college, she worked in banking and retail fields for 7 years before realizing that she didn't feel fulfilled with life. So, she made the decision to go back to school in 2013 and start living  her dream of working with animals.  She is currently enrolled at the Minnesota School of Business and am taking courses to become a veterinary technician with an expected graduation of December 2014. Shannon moved to Minnesota (from VA) in the winter of 2011 with her husband and 3 small dogs. She added a 4th pup to her family in 2013 and she has really livened up her older dogs.   Shannon and her husband have adjusted well to life in Minnesota and love spending time with the friends they have made here. They have found that "Minnesota nice" is a true saying!!  Her little pups aren't as thrilled with Minnesota (the snow still seems strange) but with a little shoveling, some coats, and maybe booties, they are able to get them to venture outdoors even in winter.

Stacy Melby

Placement Coordinator

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Stacy Melby

Placement Coordinator

Stacy Melby is a Placement Coordinator for Ruff Start Rescue. Stacy started following Ruff Start in 2012 and couldn't help but love everything she saw them doing. Stacy finally took the leap into the Placement Coordinator role in January 2013. In her position she makes sure her foster’s homes are happy. Stacy also gets applications coming in for the foster animals to get them into forever homes! Stacy is currently in Customer Service dealing with hunting and fishing supplies.  She grew up on a hobby farm where her love of animals started.  She had everything from outdoor farm pets to a house full of dogs and cats. Stacy and her husband have two pet cats at home (Turbo and Hemi).  She enjoys spending lots of time outdoors.  Stacy especially loves to be out hunting or fishing!

Sue Hartinger

Placement Coordinator

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Sue Hartinger

Placement Coordinator

Sue Hartinger is a Placement Coordinator for Ruff Start Rescue. Sue started volunteering for Ruff Start Rescue in the summer of 2013 after adopting Neiko from the Rescue.  Sue helps facilitate adoptions between applicants and fosters and is a go-to person for her fosters, should they need anything. Sue works in the law field as a legal assistant.  She used to work with the police department for years and was known for (and often got in trouble for) spoiling the K9 dogs.  Sue has always been an advocate for animals both wild and domestic and often brought stray animals home when she was a child.  Sue has been fortunate to have had animals her entire life and inherited her love of animals from her parents.  In her early 20s, Sue worked in a small zoo of rescued exotic and wild animals.  She loved all of the animals and birds. Sue and live on 3 acres in Ramsey with their two rescue dogs, Taz and Neiko.  They have a lot of wildlife that comes to visit, and they feed them all, even the crows.  The joke in their neighborhood is that if you can't find your dog, they're at Mike & Sue's, which is usually true.  Their grandson (who has a RSR rescue dog also) is learning the love of animals from Sue and her husband.  She can't think of a better trait to pass on to him.

Sylvia Nelson

Administrative Assistant

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Sylvia Nelson

Administrative Assistant

Sylvia Nelson is an Administrative Assistant. She started volunteering at Ruff Start Rescue in August of 2013. She is in charge of organizing the office area with regard to the pet foods, beds, etc., and labeling everything so it's easy to find what is needed to pick up for the foster animals. She is also in charge of the filing, running errands as needed and cleaning the office. She has her own massage therapy practice for 11 years and also offers energy work, Bach Flower Essence and Essential Oils.  This is was her first rescue volunteer position. Even though she works out of the office and not directly with the animals, she is helping Ruff Start Rescue because she can offer some alternative remedies for different issues that come up.She is married her husband, Tim of 28 years. She has two dogs, Anna Mae who is 6 and Josie who is 2 and was adopted from Ruff Start Rescue in July of 2012. For fun she enjoys going out with the girls, sitting on the hill checking out the neighborhood or playing with whatever toys her dogs have brought out to play with.

Tanya Swanson

Vetting Coordinator

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Tanya Swanson

Vetting Coordinator

Tanya's responsibility in her position is to oversee a group of foster homes and their animals to ensure they are receiving proper veterinary care prior to adoption. Tanya is a CVT and has a BS in Wildlife Biology. She has spent time working in wildlife rehab, interning as a vet tech at the MN Zoo, and working in various animal related positions for vet clinic, the DNR, and Long Lake Conservation Center. She currently owns a home business with Jockey person to person and enjoys working from home. Tanya and her husband have a small farm and three small children. She has two cats named Duracel and Batman and a 14 year old German Shepherd mix named Willow. She loves to camp, hike, travel, and home school.

Terry Rick

Placement Coordinator

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Terry Rick

Placement Coordinator

Terry Rick is a Placement Coordinator. She started as a foster in 2012. She has been a Placement Coordinator since June of 2013. She is responsible for watching over any animals that her fosters have from the time they are brought into their homes until they are adopted. She helps with any problems, questions, making sure the fosters have the supplies needed, coordinating the adoption process or just for support. She also tries to ensure that all of her foster’s animals are adopted by the best possible home! She has been a realtor for many years and tries to be involved in her community as much as possible. She and her husband were an emergency foster home for children and have had 69 foster children. She has loved animals all her life, always having at least two or three dogs or cats. Working with Ruff Start Rescue is so fulfilling for her knowing that she is making a difference in a few animals’ lives; it just warms her heart! She’s been married to her wonderful husband, Kirk for 34 years. They have 2 grown children and 5 grandchildren! They have 3 dogs, one of which came as her first foster and she just couldn't part with.  They all make her realize how truly blessed she is every day! They live on the lake so she loves to go fishing, swimming and boating with her family! Any time spent with her family, friends and dogs are what she cherishes the most!

Wendy Doric

Intake Assistant

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Wendy Doric

Intake Assistant

Wendy Doric is a Foster who helps with longer term or short term commitments of foster dogs that come into the rescue. She is also an Intake Assistant that helps take pictures and collect information about animals that are in local impounds. She started with Ruff Start Rescue in March of 2012 as a foster.She considers herself a “Jane of All Trades and Master of none” as she has worked in a variety of different fields, and manages to fit in well. She worked at the Houston SPCA as the Shelter Manager for 3.5 years, which started her foster work when we took in a Greyhound with 9 puppies. That got her started as a volunteer for the largest shelter in Houston as a foster and shelter volunteer. She has volunteered with a variety of different rescues in Texas, Kentucky and now Minnesota. Her husband, Tony is very supportive of the foster work and volunteer duties that she has within the rescue; they have been married for 28 years. They currently have 3 dogs, Darcy a Doxie mix, Zaboodgie a Jack Russel and Nitro a Chihuahua. They also have 3 horses whose lives consist of eating hay and hanging out in the pasture.For fun, she loves to travel and snow skiing in the mountains each year keeps her sane.