Latest News Items:
WCCO Morning Show: Help Ruff Start Rescue Find A Home For Oke -- Sunday March 9th, 2014
Azure Davis with "Ruff Start Rescue" joins us now with another dog in need of a good
. Meet Oke, Esme Murphy reports (3:39).
See full segment here > http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/video/9926937-help-ruff-start-rescue-find-a-home-for-oke/
Town and Country Paper: Ruff Start Rescue offers low-income spay, neuter clinics -- Thursday March 6th, 2014
See full article here
PRINCETON – Thanks to a grant, the Low Income Community Feline Spay/Neuter Project is in operation to assist families with their pet cats.
Ruff Start Rescue received a grant from Best Friends Animal Society and is using the funds to provide spay and neuter clinics.
Those residents of Princeton and Milaca who qualify as low-income can take their pets to an area clinic and receive the service for a fee of $20.
Participant must prove residency with state IDs or driver licenses and meet low-income status based on Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program, or MN SNAP, guidelines.
A total of six clinics have been scheduled for 2014, with two clinics already held. All clinics are held at the Family Pathways Thrift Store, 605 S. Rum River Drive in Princeton.
All registration is done on the MN SNAP website. The clinics are labeled as Princeton clinics and can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/mnsnaporg/calendar.
This grant is limited to domestic cats; however, individuals are encouraged to contact MN SNAP should they have questions about wild or feral cats.
Following the April 21 clinic, plans call for three more to be held on May 19, June 16 and July 11, according to Beth Sullivan, who works as the volunteer coordinator for Ruff Start Rescue.
To learn more about this project or about Ruff Start Rescue, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ruffstartrescue.org.
Ruff Start Rescue was founded by Azure Davis in 2010 and remains based in Princeton.
Her group is considered to be a small, “but mighty,” nonprofit 501(c)(3) rescue. The group prides themselves as a no-kill dog and cat rescue organization in Central Minnesota.
According to information from Ruff Start Rescue, they rescue stray, neglected, abandoned and surrendered dogs and cats as well as ferrets, guinea pigs and rabbits. They then work to place them in loving homes.
Officials note this group “could not survive” without all the “wonderful volunteers” who spend countless hours devoting time to save animals’ lives.
Most volunteers work full-time jobs and have children, their own animals and a very busy schedule. With that being said, if phone calls or emails are not personally answered right away, it’s probably because they are still at work and someone will call back as soon as they can.
This group does not have a shelter. They are of the belief that a home environment is far more desirable than a shelter or kennel.
As a result they rely on foster homes, in which to place pets until they find their forever home. The group works with a foster-care program where the pet lives at a home, and Ruff Start Rescue pays for or provides everything.
Sometimes a foster placement lasts a week, sometimes several months.
Ruff Start can’t take every animal brought to the organization. The group can only take a new animal if they have a vacant foster home. With additional animals coming in and needing homes, there never seems to be enough foster homes lined up, organizers said.
- See more at: http://towncountrynews.com/2014/03/ruff-start-rescue-offers-low-income-spay-neuter-clinics/#sthash.1MX9GLn2.dpuf
Examiner.com: Deformed puppy gets a second chance after being rescued from snow bank -- Wednesday March 5th, 2014
An adorable, playful hound pup named "Cupid," has been given a second chance at life thanks to the work of a rescue agency in Princeton, Minn., and dozens of compassionate people who have donated funds for his care, reported Tuesday's CBS Minnesota News.
Cupid, who is currently three-months of age, was found in a snowbank in mid-February and he was taken to an animal control agency.
The puppy had two severely deformed limbs which made walking normally impossible.
As soon as the pup's stray hold was up, on Feb. 14, Ruff Start Rescue pulled him from the facility and transferred him to a foster home.
Though Cupid seems to be blissfully unaware of his deformed forelegs, the rescue agency knew that he needed to see a specialist to determine if anything could be done to make his life more comfortable.
Shortly after a request for veterinary funds was made, the donations began to flow in.
The found of the rescue organization, Azure Davis, told CBS News:
“It makes us feel like we can take on dogs like this. That we can help the unfortunate dogs. We want to save them all, but taking them on can put them in a tough financial spot.”
Thanks to the financial help, Cupid will be seen, and treated, by specialists.
Cupid fans and donors have been following his progress on a Facebook page which was established in his name. The following update was posted on Monday:
Today the veterinarians at the U of M checked me over and tried to figure out what was wrong with my legs. They say my case is very unusual and not what they expected. They said I am very healthy and couldn't find any abnormalities other than my front legs. The plan going forward is surgery unfortunately (hoping to be scheduled for next week). Then I will need to be in splints for 6 weeks at least. The good news is they hope to be able to straighten out my legs so that I can walk better!! They think my chances are great since I am still a puppy.
See full article here: http://unioneagle.com/2014/02/cupid-captures-hearts-on-valentines-day/
A rescued puppy is able to spread the love he's received thanks to WCCO's viewers -- Tuesday March 4th, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) A rescued puppy is able to spread the love he's received thanks to WCCOs viewers. On Saturday night, we introduced you to a 3-month-old hound named Cupid.
The rescue group Ruff Start took him in, knowing he'd need surgery to fix his deformed front paws. Azure Davis, the rescue groupâs founder, couldn't turn him away and neither could anyone who saw his story. It's just crazy to see how generous people are. We are so thankful, she said. As soon as the story aired, $5,000 to $6,000 came in with 48 hours. Ruff Start Rescue was hoping to raise $6,000 to cover Cupid's surgery and therapy costs. University of Minnesota veterinarians will perform surgery to correct his deformed front paws early next week. He'll have splints then undergo therapy.
As for the hundreds of adoption applications that poured in, Davis said it'll be at least two months until the rescue reaches back out to homes that may be a good fit.
Nearly $8,000 has been donated to Cupid's therapy fund. Ruff Start is using the extra money collected to help other rescues that need medical attention. It's been great, Davis said, of receiving the financial support. It makes us feel like we can take on dogs like this. That we can help the unfortunate dogs. We want to save them all, but taking them on can put them in a tough financial spot.
Among them, a 10-month-old Chihuahua named Little Waffles. He's suffered seizures since they took him in last December. Medicine hasn't been successful and blood work suggests he suffers from an autoimmune disorder. Extra tests are needed, but are expensive.
Ruff Start Rescue finds homes for 160-180 dogs and 60-70 cats at any given time. Since it doesn't have a shelter, all of the pets live at foster homes until a permanent family finds them.
Oke is a pitbull who's been waiting for a home for the last two years. He's an energetic and loveable dog, but needs allergy shots, which can be an extra cost that makes it hard to find a home.
Davis said Oke would be best with a family that has older kids and no dogs or female dogs. He's big, strong and full of energy. Since they don't have a foster home for him, he's been living in a boarding house for the time being. We're hoping to get his story out there and find him someone. That perfect family we know has got to be out there, somewhere, looking for him too, Davis said.
Like the pets they save, big or small, Ruff Start Rescue knows donations at any amount are gifts filled with love.
Ruff Start Rescue is still accepting donations to help Cupid's medical fund.
Read the full story on WCCO »
Rick Kupchellas Blog: Organization raising money for dog with unique deformity -- Sunday March 2nd, 2014
FULL STORY HERE
Cupid, an overly-affectionate puppy, has stolen the hearts of Ruff Start Rescue, a non-profit animal rescue organization in central Minnesota.
The 3-month-old hound was left in a snowbank in a ditch. Someone found him and brought him to an animal shelter. Ruff Start Rescue rescued him on Valentine’s Day. That’s only one reason why the pup was named Cupid – when he lies down, his front paws make the shape of a heart, according to WCCO.
Cupid has a unique deformity causing his front paws to stay bent, making it impossible for him to walk normally.
“He walks with the front paws completely bent in,” Azur Davis, the owner of Ruff Start Rescue told WCCO. “We know that there’s a hard case that’s going to need a lot of vet care.”
Ruff Start Rescue is raising money to pay for testing, surgery and therapy for Cupid. As of Sunday, the organization has raised $5,145 of its $6,000 goal. To donate, click here.
“It could be some type of birth defect where he was born this way, but he also has a crooked jaw,” Davis told WCCO. “It could also be trauma related.”
Despite his deformity, Cupid is very affectionate and has a lot of energy,according to the organization.
Cupid is currently living at a foster home. Ruff Start Rescue hopes Cupid will have surgery before going to a permanent home. The organization isaccepting applications to adopt the dog.
Ruff Start Rescue has helped over 1,700 animals, according to WCCO.
WCCO: Dog With Unique Deformity Steals Hearts, Looking For Home -- Saturday March 1st, 2014
Union Eagle Story: Cupid captures hearts on Valentine’s Day -- Thursday February 20th, 2014
Cupid usually arrives on Valentine’s Day with a sheath full of arrows with which to steal your heart.
But in Princeton this Valentine’s Day, Cupid arrived to steal hearts with a bark.
Cupid is a 3-month-old hound dog that was found abandoned in a snowbank in a ditch during the frigid temperatures two weeks ago. He was taken to the Princeton impound and found by a representative of Ruff Start Rescue on the very day his hold was set to expire.
In just a few days, Cupid had already touched a lot of hearts at Ruff Start, said Azure Davis, the organization’s founder and president.
Cupid is a special dog — so special that Ruff Start is usually skeptical of taking on a dog like Cupid, Davis said.
Cupid’s front legs are deformed and he cannot walk on them. They are both curled in and he hobbles on his forearms. Davis said she believes the ailment is carpal hyperflexion syndrome, the result of malnutrition.
“He’s so young and needs time to strengthen,” Davis said.
But that’s easier said than done — especially because it could cost as much as $6,000 to treat Cupid.
Ruff Start Rescue is in the early stages of getting testing done through a veterinarian in Monticello. Cupid is slated for a series of X-rays on his front legs, as well as his jaw, which also looks to be suffering from some slight deformities, Davis said.
Cupid could then be sent to the University of Minnesota’s veterinary clinic, where treatment and costs could escalate.
“We will start with whatever therapy is needed to help save him and hope he is able to walk again normally,” Davis said.
“It won’t be cheap, but there will be no going back,” she said. Donations are being accepted at http://goo.gl/S8PSib.
On Monday, after being in Ruff Start Rescue foster care for three days, Cupid was already showing signs of being stronger.
One concern that rescuers have is that Cupid will begin to wear off the fur on his forearms, so care is being taken to ensure that Cupid is walking on soft surfaces, like carpet and blankets.
He is also eating high-quality food now, which has helped make him stronger, and he is hobbling around in a diaper.
He likes to play and loves other dogs.
Monday at Ruff Start’s Princeton headquarters, Cupid was running around to the best of his ability, following staff members and playfully barking. He was able to go outside on his own to relieve himself.
And even though Cupid is currently in foster care, Ruff Start has begun taking adoption applications as the organization begins the process of finding the dog its “forever” home, Davis said.
For more information, visit Ruff Start Rescue online at http://www.ruffstartrescue.org.
See full article here >>
Town and Country Newspaper: Ruff Start - Katrina's story -- Friday January 10th, 2014
Full article here
By Sara Marie Anderson
Katrina’s story is like so many other dogs looking for a permanent home. The two-year-old hound is hoping her story will have a happing ending – an ending with a home full of love.
Katrina came all the way from Georgia where she was living in a high-kill shelter. Katrina needed extra special care. She was soon going to have puppies.
Emily Randolph of Ruff Start Rescue drove 10 hours to Illinois to meet with officials from the Georgia shelter and pick up Katrina. While driving back to Minnesota, they got quite the scare. They thought Katrina was in labor. Luckily, it was a false alarm, but Emily stood by her side the entire trip back.
When they arrived at Emily’s home, Emily did everything she could for the young American Foxhound–Vizsla mix, soon-to-be mom. She prepared Katrina for the birth of her puppies and the anticipation grew each day and so did the “Katrina followers.” Emily placed a live webcam over Katrina’s bed and before she knew it, several people were watching her everyday, just waiting for those adorable puppies to enter the world.
“People would text me and ask me, ‘Where did Katrina go? What’s going on?’” Emily explained when Katrina left to go outside to handle her business. Emily eventually placed a sign that said “Just Went Outside” so online viewers wouldn’t worry.
The day finally came when Katrina gave birth to her five puppies. All were healthy and all were adopted to loving homes. It’s almost perfect that some of the puppies were named after “The Rescue Rangers.”
Katrina is just one of 103 animals that Ruff Start Rescue is helping to find loving families for.
Since May 2010, Ruff Start Rescue has saved 576 animals, including dogs, cats and even a potbellied pig. The organization was created to help animals locally, but two years later it’s helping animals throughout Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities. With the help of foster parents and volunteers, the Princeton-based organization, run by Azure Davis, has committed itself to finding permanent homes for hundreds of animals.
Ruff Start Rescue is 100 percent foster-based. All animals are taken in by people who want to give an animal a temporary home until a permanent one is found.
“Foster families open their home to animals who haven’t been in a home in awhile,” said Emily.
What many people may not realize is that fostering an animal doesn’t cost a thing. Ruff Start Rescue provides all veterinary care, food, treats, leashes, toys and kennels.
“You don’t have to pay anything to be a foster family,” she continued. Training is also available for animals who may need help adjusting to their new homes.
“We want it as easy as possible for someone to foster an animal,” Emily said.
Ruff Start Rescue saves stray, neglected, abandoned and surrendered dogs and cats. With many people losing their jobs due to the economy, they simply can’t afford to keep their pets. Many pet owners have had to take a job further away from home which means they don’t have as much time to take care of their pets.
“It’s also hard to find a family that’s willing to take a dog that’s not a puppy,” Emily emphasized.
Ruff Start Rescue will begin a new program that is a way to ensure that older dogs can find a home to live out the rest of their lives. The program also wants to find permanent homes for dogs that have been in foster care for more than a year. Instead of the standard adoption fee, Ruff Start Rescue will allow someone to adopt a dog at a cost that is equivalent to the person’s age. “If someone is 38 years old, then the adoption fee is only $38,” Emily explained.
But dogs are not the only animals needing homes. “We have more cats than we’ve ever had,” Emily said. They currently have 34 cats in foster care. Many cat owners surrender their cats, cats are found in abandoned homes and there are many pregnant and stray cats.
“Mommy and Me” is a new adoption program where if someone adopts a kitten with the standard adoption fee, they can also adopt the kitten’s mother with no adoption fee.
All animals open for adoption can be found on the Ruff Start Rescue website. There people can find photos that capture the personality of each animal with a brief description. The next step is to complete an adoption application and to then wait for approval. Once approved, the foster caregiver for the animal will contact the person interested in adoption, followed by a visit to meet the animal and spending some time with them to decide if they are compatible. Ruff Start Rescue then conducts a home visit to make sure the potential adoption home is the right place!
All animals are spayed/neutered, have microchips and are up-to-date on all vaccinations and shots.
For the volunteers at Ruff Start Rescue, every animal has a special story. While Katrina waits for her happy ending, there are many other animals who have a story that is just beginning. They need foster homes and, ultimately, adoption.
For more information on fostering, adopting, or volunteering, visit the Ruff Start Rescue website at www.ruffstartrescue.org.
- See more at: http://towncountrynews.com/2013/01/ruff-start/#sthash.81huBEeC.dpuf
Waffles featured on Life With Dogs TV -- Thursday January 9th, 2014
See Article on lifewithdogs.tv's Site»
Chihuahua nearly euthanized now fighting debilitating illness
Little Waffles has been saved from the brink of death, not just once, but twice now! The Chihuahua mix was first rescued from a high-kill shelter in Missouri, where he had been scheduled for euthanasia as an unclaimed stray. He had been found wandering alone on the streets with no place to call his own. After being brought from the streets, he didn’t seem to thrive in the shelter environment-not surprising for a little dog weighing in at just 6 pounds!
Instead of being euthanized, though, he was rescued just in time and brought toRuff Start Rescue, a no-kill animal rescue organization in Central Minnesota. Though the shelter had been a very scary place for him, once he was placed with a loving foster home, he really began to blossom. He came out of his shell and revealed his spunky, playful personality with a love for life.
Unfortunately, Little Waffles was not destined to have an easy time of it. Shortly after arriving, he developed a cough and after more than a week of medical intervention, his health deteriorated rather than improved. He stopped eating, stopped playing, and began to have seizures and symptoms of left side paralysis.
Ruff Start’s emergency vets were mystified as to the cause and the sudden onset of seizures. They suspected a neurological condition with a poor prognosis for recovery. However, these veterinarians are as passionate about saving lives as the rescue workers and they acted swiftly to intervene and stabilize him. No one was going to give up on Little Waffles!
Little Waffles has now been seizure-free for the past 7 days and Ruff Start Rescue is working diligently to get him into the University of Minnesota for additional testing and diagnostics. Once they determine the cause, everyone can work on addressing his medical needs and improving his quality of life. Little Waffles definitely has a great big love for life and is so happy to have been given a second chance.
Everyone hopes that he can live for years in the love of a home environment-something he never knew until now. He definitely has many people fighting for him and showering him with love. He has been everyone’s Christmas miracle and now they hope he will be the miracle for the start of 2014 too!
Town and Country Newspaper: Grant finances feline spay-neuter clinic for low-income residents -- Monday January 6th, 2014
See full article here
Debbie Griffin • Town & Country
A $4,500 grant awarded to Ruff Start Rescue in August makes it possible for low-income residents of Princeton and Milaca to have their pet cat spayed or neutered for $20 during local clinics in 2014.
Jenna Trisko volunteers as a grant coordinator for Ruff Start. She prepared the grant application made to the Best Friends Animal Society and calls the first-time funding a “big deal.” It helps low-income families by reducing the cost of a feline spay or neuter surgery to a fraction of what it normally costs and by reducing the population of unwanted and feral animals.
Registered clinic participants bring their cat to a mobile-surgery unit parked at the Family Pathways Store in Princeton, 605 S. Rum River Dr., on one of six dates: Jan. 27, March 7, April 21, May 19, June 16 and July 11.
Professional veterinarians from the non-profit organization Minnesota Spay and Neuter Assistance Program do the procedures and deliver post-surgical care before the animals return home that same day. MN SNAP strives to “help end the suffering and death of companion animals in Minnesota due to pet overpopulation by providing high-quality, affordable and accessible spay-and-neuter services to those in need.”
MN SNAP guidelines say to bring only healthy animals; kittens should weigh at least two pounds and be older than eight weeks. It also says clinic participants should have the cat in a carrier and be prepared to pay the $20 before their animal is admitted.
Each household may register a maximum of five cats. Trisko said the program goal is to spay or neuter 100 felines.
She explains that qualifying cats must be pets, not feral. Owners of the cats must live in Princeton or Milaca, have a Minnesota-issued identification and meet the criteria for a low-income household.
Those guidelines are available on MN SNAP’s Web site under the ‘pet owners’ tab. They generally say people must show a tax return with a household income under $40,000 or evidence that they participate in one of several needs-based programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, free or reduced-lunch school programs, Social Security disability, Minnesota Care or Medical Assistance, HUD Section 8 housing, WIC, supplemental security income, major VA disability, temporary assistance or state unemployment.
“It’s unbelievable the need that’s there,” she said.
MN SNAP holds about 80 such clinics each year, which Trisko says prevents about 1,400 cats from being born. Workshops and conferences have taught her that the stray-cat population in the Twin Cities is estimated around one million. While the upcoming clinics don’t accept them, MN SNAP offers reduced-cost spay-neuter program for feral cats.
It’s no secret that cats multiply quickly. An unaltered cat can bear three litters per year, with an average litter size of four to six kittens.
Trisko testifies to the truth that most animal-welfare advocates know: Overpopulation leads to healthy animals being put to death.
Shelters and rescue organizations are overwhelmed. She said a shelter in her hometown of St. Cloud has a waiting list 50 animals long.
MN SNAP gives a lit of reasons why spaying or neutering counts as a good thing. It says a spayed or neutered animal strays less, runs a lower risk of developing certain cancers, and has fewer behavioral problems. Spaying or neutering also greatly inhibits cats’ tendencies to spray and mark with urine.
MN SNAP points out that spay or neuter surgery eliminates heat cycles and is safer for the animal that pregnancy and birthing a litter.
Rescuers keep working
The Princeton-based non-profit Ruff Start Rescue helps animals through a network of volunteers who give dogs and cats a foster home until the organization finds them a ‘forever home.’ It functions on a no-kill philosophy and relies solely on donations and fundraising such as promotional calendars and an online wine-buying program.
It began in 2010 with the story of a now-local dog named Hope, afflicted with heartworm and scheduled to die in an Ohio shelter. Azure Davis, now director of Ruff Start, gave Hope a chance; in return, the dog inspired her to keep working and rescue more animals.
The organization has grown to offer foster, rescue and pet-education services.
One of Ruff Start’s volunteer coordinators, Beth Sullivan, began working with the organization last year providing a foster home for dogs. She also supports volunteers by helping them get what they need, such as pet sitter during the holidays, a home visit or animal transport.
She thinks the low-income spay-neuter clinic for cats is a good thing, saying, “There’s always overcrowding for cats.”
She explains that Ruff Start doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar structure other than each volunteer’s home. It has a Web site, and its supporters work together to find an animal shelter on a case-by-case basis. About 200 of Ruff Start’s 420 volunteers open their home to foster dogs, cats or both.
She says foster owners also help socialize the animal to be a good canine or feline citizen. Some of the animals have a literal ‘rough start’ and don’t know how to behave.
Non-fostering volunteers do everything from transporting animals and presenting educational programs at area schools to helping with administrative or fundraising tasks. The organization’s Web site showcases animals that need a permanent home and communicates about other needs and events.
Ruff Start always welcomes more volunteers or donations to help with its work. For example in 2012, it used $96,000 to rescue 450 animals.
“It’s a good organization,” said Sullivan, “it’s a lot of very motivated people and good teamwork.”
Register for the 2014 Princeton clinics by visiting its MN SNAP’s Web site, HYPERLINK “http://www.mnsnap.org” www.mnsnap.org, or by calling 612-720-8236. To ask questions about the clinic, contact Ruff Start at phone number 763-355-3981 or e-mail address HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the local organization at its Web site, HYPERLINK “http://www.ruffstartrescue.org” www.ruffstartrescue.org.
- See more at: http://towncountrynews.com/2014/01/grant-finances-feline-spay-neuter-clinic-low-income-residents/#sthash.OrlmAtmT.dpuf
Coffee with Kare : Howlidazzle 2013 on December 14 -- Thursday December 5th, 2013
KARE 11 Article Here
PRINCETON, Minn.--Ruff Start Rescue hosts Howlidazzle 2013 on Saturday, December 14 at the American Legion Post 57 in Chaska from 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Ruff Start Rescue is an organization that serves animals whose lives are at risk and educates communities on animal safety and owner responsibility.
The Howlidazzle is an event that is fun for the whole family. Come to get your picture taken with Santa, participate in the silent auction and learn about pet adoption and fostering opportunities.
For more information visit
Ruff Start Rescue
Rachael Ray Show: Heroic Pooch Saves a Child's Life -- Monday November 25th, 2013
They say dog is man’s best friend, and no one proves that more than this adorable pit bull TaterTot! This rescue dog made fast friends with its adoptive family and ended up saving their young boy’s life!
See Ruff Start's TaterTot on rachaelrayshow.com »
Examiner.com: Pit bull puppy, saved from death row, returns favor, saves child's life -- Tuesday October 8th, 2013
FULL STORY HERE
Shortly after a 10-month-old pit bull puppy, named "TatorTot," was rescued from death row at the Minneapolis, Minn., Animal Care and Control facility, he returned the favor and saved the life of a child, reported Monday's My Fox 9 News.
TatorTot skirted his own death when Ruff Start Rescuepulled him from the animal control facility; the pup went into foster care and in late Sept., he was transferred to another family, going home with Christi Smith, in what was supposed to be a foster situation.
On the night of Oct. 2, TatorTot did something which secured him a permanent place in the family's home - he saved Smith's four-year-old son's life.
Smith recounted the young dog's heroics in her ownWordPress blog, describing how TatorTot alerted her to the child's serious medical condition, not long after the boy was put to bed for the night:
Before I knew it TatorTot was running back and forth between my son and I, barking and whining, I told him to knock it off of course and tried to get him to come lay down with me. Finally after a few minutes I go to check on my son. He was completely unconscious, but not like any other passed out child.
TatorTot was still barking and whining and licking my son’s face, any other child for surely would have woken up from this! Even when I was trying wake him up he didn’t move or flinch.
The little boy was rushed to a hospital where doctors diagnosed him with dangerously low glucose levels.
TatorTot saved the child's life and Smith knew only one way to repay the incredible, life-saving favor...give the pup a permanent home with her family.
I owe EVERYTHING to this wonderful dog! He saved me from the most heart breaking pain any mother could feel, I could have lost my son! And MY PIT BULL saved him!
How do you honestly repay a dog for saving a life and saving your own heart break? I knew that night lying in the hospital that the only I could do (besides spoil the crap out of him) was to adopt him!
TatorTot now has his very own Facebook page - click here to access.
If you would like to continue receiving the latest dog related news, tips and advice, please click the "Subscribe" icon which is located at the top of this column.
Twin Cities Pioneer Press: TatorTot the pit bull alerts mom to suffering son -- Tuesday October 8th, 2013
SEE FULL STORY HERE
Peyton Anderson and his pal, TatorTot. (Courtesy of Anderson-Smith family: Angela Boone Photography)
In the span of six months, TatorTot the pit bull has gone from doggie death-row inmate to viral Internet sensation.
The dog morphed from homeless pup to canine hero this week after a Twin Cities woman credited the dog with saving her 4-year-old son's life.
"He is Peyton's guardian angel," says Christi Smith, 28, of Brooklyn Park.
TatorTot's story begins last May, in a kennel at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control. Back then, he was a puppy called Gator.
"Oftentimes, when the animal's time is up, their photo is posted on the Friends of MACC's Facebook page," says Missy Johnson, intake manager for Ruff Start Rescue. "At the time, we were one of the few rescues authorized to pull pit bulls -- or dogs that look like pit bulls -- from MACC.
"We were down in Iowa, at a puppy mill auction, when we got an email from the placement coordinator," Johnson says. "Someone saw on the Facebook page that Gator was going to die. They wanted to apply to be a foster for us, so we were able to pull him before he was euthanized."
Unfortunately, that foster family didn't work out. By September, the pit bull pup needed to find another home.
"Gator is looking for a foster home," Ruff Start Rescue posted on its Facebook page Sept. 7. "He would benefit greatly from a family that has time to help him grow out of his puppy tendencies. He needs somebody that can spend more time with him. He's a 9-month-old pit bull/lab mix, approximately 50 pounds. Loves dogs, cats, kids, playing, snuggling. He's just a big ol' puppy that needs a little extra help with housetraining. If you're not an approved foster, please submit an application on our website today to be approved. http://www.ruffstartrescue.org."
Christi Smith was already an approved foster for Ruff Start Rescue, but she wasn't so sure about taking on this dog.
"They had emailed me, asking me to take him," Smith says. "But I thought he would be too high-energy for us; I thought our house would be too mellow for him and that he'd end up going stir crazy."
She said no.
Then, about a month later, a different dog caught Smith's eye.
"I saw another dog on the (Friends of) MACC website, a cream/fawn pit bull called Greyson, but Ruff Start told me they were not taking any more bully breeds until they found a foster for Gator," Smith says. "So, I decided I would foster Gator."
Her goal was to help the dog find a forever home -- not hers, though.
"I have an understanding of the breed, so I figured I'd work with him and get him adopted fairly quickly," Smith says.
She picked up the dog Sept. 28 and renamed him TatorTot.
"He was super rambunctious, he didn't want to sit still, and was all over the place," Smith says. "I took him to the dog park and let him run around. When I brought him back home, that's when he mellowed out. By that evening, I already had a feeling I wanted to keep him."
She wasn't certain, though.
"I thought, 'You know, I haven't really seen his personality come out,' " Smith says. "I thought, 'I'll wait a bit before I decide.' "
Then, on the fourth night, TatorTot acted up again.
"I put my son to bed at about 8:30 in the evening," Smith says. "He woke up between 12 and 1:30 to ask for something to drink. He was acting weird -- really out of it. I chalked it up to being deliriously tired. I wasn't too concerned."
TatorTot was concerned, though.
"After putting Peyton back to bed, not even 20 minutes later, TatorTot began running back and forth from Peyton to me," Smith says. "He was barking and acting like something was wrong. I was like, 'What, didn't you get enough exercise today? Come lay down, it's bedtime.'
"He didn't let up.
"Finally, I went to check on my son. He was barely breathing. TatorTot was on his bed, barking and pawing at him, licking his face. Any normal child would have woken up. He wasn't waking up."
By now, Smith was alarmed -- terrified -- that she couldn't rouse her son.
"I scooped him up and put him in the car and raced to the ER," Smith says. "They had to give him a shot of something -- I think it was adrenaline -- to wake him up. They also ran a bunch of tests, which is when they discovered that he had super low glucose levels. They thought he could be diabetic."
Although TatorTot is just a puppy, he may have the natural instinct to be a diabetic-alert dog. According to the Diabetic Alert Dogs of America: "Diabetic Alert Dogs are trained to alert diabetic owners in advance of low (hypoglycemia) or high (hyperglycemia) blood sugar events before they become dangerous, so their owners can take steps to return their blood sugar to normal, such as using glucose sweets or taking insulin. A Diabetic Alert Dog is specifically trained to react to the chemical change produced by blood sugar highs and lows."
Tests have since ruled out diabetes as the cause for Peyton's low glucose levels, Smith says; he has a follow-up appointment with a neurologist Monday for more testing.
Smith knows one thing for sure, though: She believes TatorTot saved her son's life.
"Peyton's levels were so low that he could have had a seizure, or fallen into a coma, or even died," Smith says. "Medical alert dogs are not uncommon, but they usually have to undergo training. With TatorTot, I just got extremely lucky and blessed that he knew something was wrong."
Smith is now certain she's going to adopt TatorTot.
"I am never going to let this dog go," she says. "I owe him for the rest of his life. He saved me from the worst heartbreak a human can experience on this Earth; he saved me the heartbreak of losing Peyton."
Fittingly, October is Pit Bull Awareness Month. Smith and others in the local rescue community are using this opportunity to share TatorTot's story: He has his own Facebook page now. He has also been featured on KMSP-TV, and he's had a special portrait session with local rescue advocate Angela Boone of Angela Boone Photography.
"This is a great opportunity to share a positive story about a pit bull," Boone says.
It's also a chance -- the rescue community hopes -- to help more death-row dogs at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control as well as the rescues that are trying to save them.
"People just don't realize how many great dogs are euthanized locally," Boone says. "The public needs to get involved and help great family dogs like Tator."
"Could you let people know we are in desperate need of more foster families for these dogs?" Johnson asks.
To learn more, visit the Friends of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control page on Facebook orhttp://www.minneapolismn.gov/animals/adopt/rescue-programs.
In this case, though, TatorTot got his happy ending.
"It's just amazing how it worked out," Johnson says. "Like it was meant to be."
Animal Sheltering Magazine Article: Service with a smile -- Tuesday October 1st, 2013
See Sept/Oct Magazine here
Service with a Smile
Improving your organization with customer-smart skills
Laura MacLean (right), a fosterer for Anjellicle Cats Rescue, chats with a couple interested in her foster kitten. Lisa Douglas/Anjellicle Cats Rescue
by Abby Volin
n 2011, an Ohio-based pet blogger was awarded a grant of $1,000 that she could give to a rescue group of her choice. She’d heard good things about one local group, and sent an email to its executive director.
She never heard back.
After several unreturned emails and phone calls, she gave up and chose another local organization, which promptly responded and invited her over for a tour. Not only did this second rescue group receive the sorely needed funds, but the blogger later featured the group on her site, giving it even more publicity.
One thousand dollars—that’s what poor customer service cost the first organization. How much is it costing you? In donations? Discouraged volunteers? Lost adoptions?
Customer service matters. As rescuers, it’s easy to forget that in order to help our organizations grow and be able to place more animals, we have to take care of people, too. With more than 10,000 animal welfare organizations in the U.S. and Canada, we’re competing with other groups for donor dollars, for publicity, for adopters. But one thing that can make an organization stand out from the crowd is great customer service. Your reputation is one of your organization’s most important assets. It can get you get more donations, more volunteers, more foster homes, and more adoptions—or it can do the opposite. And while the animals can’t always tell the full story, the people can—and boy, do they talk.
Retooling Our Thinking
Micah Solomon, a best-selling business author who’s written extensively about customer service in the digital age, advises that improving your customers’ experience is “the No. 1 way to build a bigger, more successful and sustainable business. … The customer experience is the one thing you can control and use to reliably build the profitability of your business.”
Good service isn’t limited to adopters—you need to be available to your volunteers as well. Here Azure Davis (right), founder and president of Ruff Start Rescue, talks to one of the group’s foster parents about the dog in her care. Zimmerman Today
As nonprofits, we don’t always think in terms of “profitability.” But we should, and we should seek to run our rescues like businesses. Just imagine that your “profits” are successful adoptions, more donations, and more community support, and “profitability” takes on a whole new meaning!
When most rescue groups think about “customers,” their thoughts go directly to the animals in their care. But as Jan Elster, author of Animal Friendly – Customer Smart: People Skills for Animal Shelters (shelterskills.com), explains, the animals are really our beneficiaries, not our customers. If you want your rescue group to be there for the long haul, you have to start applying good customer skills to the people your organization encounters.
Elster explains that it’s not the traditional approach to customer service that animal welfare groups should be pursuing. We’re not selling scarves, after all, and in our world, sometimes, the customer may be wrong.
“Customer service has the feeling behind it that the customer is always right, that we need to do everything to make the customer feel that they are superior, etc., etc. And I don’t believe that,” Elster says. Instead, she advocates working “customer smart,” which allows us to manage the interaction so that it’s positive. “Meaning,” she adds, “we can get our business done without anyone flying off the handle.”
So how can we control interactions with customers to our advantage? Elster recommends making people feel three things during an interaction:
- Welcome. Let people know that you’re really happy they’ve come to (or contacted) your organization. Setting the initial tone will lessen any anxiety, and set you up for a positive interaction.
- Important. Let the person you’re interacting with know that they have your undivided attention. Don’t answer your cell phone if it rings, take off your sunglasses, and actively listen.
- Comfortable. There are two kinds of comfort—psychological (meaning you put the customer at ease, and don’t make them feel like you’re judging them) and physical (meaning you sit in a quiet, comfortable area, and offer them a glass of water if possible).
Elster notes that being able to encourage these feelings in people isn’t an easy feat and takes strong interpersonal skills. It will take some practice, so try out different methods until you find one that works for you.
Email, however, is a completely different beast. Words can more easily be misconstrued when people don’t have the same contextual clues—such as tone or facial expressions—to decipher their meaning. Elster advises being extra-gentle when writing emails by avoiding saying anything that you wouldn’t want to say face-to-face, and minding your sarcasm.
And if you do end up in a tense situation, Elster warns not to talk back—as much as you might want to—“because then you have two egos in battle, and each needs to escalate to beat the other one.” And that one interaction gone sour can ruin your organization’s reputation.
The Right Stuff
Kathryn Willis, director of Anjellicle Cats Rescue in New York City, has experienced the impact of having good people on staff to implement strong customer service practices. A few years ago, the group did around 50 adoptions a year. In 2012, it did more than 900. Now it receives applications to foster and adopt every day, along with donations from around the globe.
Willis credits this growth, in large part, to finding the right combination of people who agree on how to run the rescue, which has helped the group build a good reputation. “People know about us,” Willis says. “They know who we are, that we take a lot of cats, and that we’re doing great work. Our volunteers, our fosterers tell their friends. Word-of-mouth is really important.”
She notes that it took the rescue a couple of years to find the current staff who are aware of the benefits of good customer service practices and are mindful to use them. Willis recommends hiring people who act professional and aren’t easily upset. Those who want to make people happy, rarely get ruffled, and show patience and empathy are likely to be great representatives. You also want to ensure that staff are confident and passionate about the group’s mission. She recommends steering clear of people who appear unpredictable, angry, or don’t have a background of dealing with a diverse range of people and the many issues they may bring to the table.
Good customer service has been key to the longevity of Good Mews Animal Foundation, a cage-free cat shelter in Marietta, Ga., that’s been around 25 years. The organization’s facility is a bit difficult to find, explains Nancy Riley, community outreach chair. To compensate, Good Mews has to rely on word-of-mouth. “Being a nonprofit organization … we rely completely on our donors for our existence. … We have some loyal and faithful donors, and we absolutely treat them like they’re part of our community.”
In fact, she says, “There are a lot of people that we get checks from or that join our monthly giving program who probably have never been to our shelter, but they’ve heard about us and they support our cause and they see that we’re doing a good job.”
There are countless ways you can employ good customer service in your organization. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Be responsive. One of the top complaints people seem to have about rescue groups is that they never hear back from them. There are few things more frustrating than reaching out with a question or applying to adopt and feeling like your communication has fallen into a void. Failing to respond quickly to inquiries costs rescue groups adopters, volunteers, and donations.
As the adoptions committee chair of Good Mews, Michelle Kirkham holds herself to a high standard: She responds to all adoption email inquiries within five hours of receiving them, often faster. She thinks it’s good customer service to answer right away; it prevents potential adopters from getting frustrated and turning elsewhere to find a new pet.
Willis agrees. “I think that the first and foremost thing you need to do is to acknowledge someone immediately. … Regardless of what anyone is asking you about, whether it’s a cat or your policy or your application, you need to acknowledge them and say, ‘Hi, thank you for your inquiry, this is how we do it or this is what we would need from you to adopt a cat to you.’”
While an immediate response simply isn’t feasible for most people, it’s a good idea to have a policy to respond to all emails and phone calls within 24 hours—even if the initial response is simply a friendly, professionally worded automatic reply. This means that whoever serves as the organization’s initial point of contact must be able to respond quickly. Kirkham says she sits at a computer all day, so it’s easier for her to pull off her herculean feat.
Multiple representatives at Anjellicle Cats Rescue have access to the group’s main email account so that inquiries get a fast response. They mark each email as “answered” or “in progress” to ensure that more than one person isn’t responding to the same query. And responding can be a team effort. If someone doesn’t know the answer to a question, Willis explains, “we acknowledge the inquiry, and let the individual know that we’re looking into it. Then the emails are forwarded to three to four different people, and we figure out the best response as quickly as possible.”
Azure Davis, president of Ruff Start Rescue in Princeton, Minn., has set up an automatic response that provides everyone who contacts her with the email address for every department within the group (veterinary, adoption, fostering, surrender). The automatic reply also instructs the sender to respond with an email with the subject line “Urgent” if it requires immediate attention. Davis also tries to give people an idea of when they should anticipate her response, which helps manage their expectations. With a full-time job in addition to her rescue work, she receives more than 200 emails a day, and says that without an automatic response system, she would lose her mind.
And remember that responsiveness isn’t just for adopters. I’ll never forget a cat adoption event I attended where a woman charged in with a dog. She was fostering for another rescue group, but hadn’t been able to get ahold of a single person to let them know that the dog was sick and needed immediate medical attention. She had no idea what to do, and no one from the organization was helping her. What are the chances that she’ll foster for them again? Or recommend the organization to her friends?
Provide accurate information. Riley notes that Good Mews takes a lot of pride in the descriptions its volunteers write about the cats. “Michelle spends time really getting to know these cats, so that she can write an accurate description of their personalities. … We try to make our descriptions as accurate as possible. So if it’s a shy cat, or if it’s a cat that needs to be in a house on its own, or if it’s a cat that tends to be a little cranky sometimes, we tell it like it is. To me, that’s important that the adopter knows exactly what they’re getting.”
Providing accurate information also means making “self-service” easy for your customers. They’ll want to know as much information as possible about your rescue group before they decide whether to get involved, either as an adopter, a fosterer, a volunteer, or a donor. Having detailed, current information on your website can help them get an idea of what you’re about—and it can save you time, too, since many people will look online for information before calling. Is your adoption process clearly outlined on the website? Do you have an FAQ section that explains your mission, who you are, where your animals come from (without bashing the source—your partnering shelters are customers, too!), where you’re located, and other basic information that adopters, donors, and volunteers may need?
Get to know your customers and listen. When people come to a Good Mews adoption event, they’re met by a greeter who’s there strictly to welcome people, make them feel comfortable, and gather information about what they’re looking for while showing them around, says Riley. The greeter finds out if they’re looking for a kitten, an older cat, a playmate for a current pet at home, or just there to browse. Once armed with that information, the greeter hands the person off to an adoption counselor, who then takes a closer look at which cats might work for this potential adopter. Even if you don’t have a bricks-and-mortar facility, having friendly greeters at adoption events to help people feel less lost can go a long way toward winning them over.
Stay calm and professional. No organization is immune to its share of ornery customers. It’s how you deal with these people that can set your rescue group apart.
Kirkham notes that the adoption counselors at Good Mews Animal Foundation are specifically trained to handle situations where the customer is upset. First and foremost, she recommends, apologize to the person. Just saying you’re sorry can have a profound effect. If someone is upset because of a policy, the adoption counselor will explain that policy and why the rescue group believes it’s in the best interest of the cats. If it’s a situation where the organization won’t adopt to the person, depending on the reasons for the denial, counselors may recommend other places, such as the local animal care and control agency, where the person might still adopt a rescued pet, instead of driving them toward a puppy mill or breeder. But, Kirkham says, the adoptions counselors will never be rude or dismissive.
Willis agrees that an apology will often assuage an angry customer. When something falls through the cracks, she says, “Someone from the organization will tell the person, ‘I’m sorry that no one got back to you about this, but I’m going to check with someone.’ Most people realize that we are an all-volunteer organization, and that we do have jobs and that we can’t be on top of everything 24 hours per day, but we try, and usually people can understand that.”
Be accessible. Remember that your work is about forging relationships with your adopters, fosterers, volunteers, and donors. Riley notes that when people walk into her organization’s facility for an adoption event, “We’ve got places where people can sit and let the cats jump in their laps, or go in the kitten room and play with the kittens. So we try to make it as interactive and comfortable an experience as possible.” By making it fun and welcoming, people feel part of the Good Mews family from the beginning.
Say thank you. While all donors are thanked, Good Mews Animal Foundation goes the extra mile for larger donations. Riley says that for donations of more than $150, the organization sends a handwritten note on a nice card. She believes that practice helps personalize the experience and lets donors know their donation is appreciated.
And volunteers—the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization—also need to feel the love! There are a million other things people can do with their time, and they choose to give it to your organization, free of charge. As Willis notes, “The important thing is to thank everybody all the time for anything they do. People need to be acknowledged. It’s the one thing that you can give them that money can’t buy.”
Anjellicle Cats Rescue throws a big party every year, inviting all its fosterers and volunteers. “We try to make it a fun evening for everyone,” Willis says. “We always try to tell them how much we appreciate them.”
Think about your organization’s customer service practices and what you can do to improve. The payoff will be immediate and will help improve nearly every aspect of your rescue group, from adoptions to volunteer recruitment to fundraising. As Willis notes, “Good customer service practices took our organization from a good one, and made it into a great one.”
For more information on providing good customer service, check out the resources atanimalsheltering.org.
Abby Volin is the rescue group coordinator for The HSUS. A longtime rescuer, volunteer, and pet foster parent, she has also served as director of a cat facility for a rescue group in New York City.
Pages 49-53 is the article Ruff Start Rescue is featured in.
Town and Country Newspaper: Parachuting for Paws Fundraiser -- Monday September 2nd, 2013
See Full Story Here
Thomas A. Kvamme • Town & Country
MILACA – Taking advantage of a gorgeous afternoon, after poor weather previously, the Parachuting for Paws fundraising event was held on Aug. 11 at the Milaca Airport.
Taking to the air to raise funds for Ruff Start Rescue, organizers were able to raise more than $500.
Five individuals, including Bonnie Lightfoot, Ryan Aule, Scott Webeck, Kayla Boerma and Eric Allen, strapped on the tandem parachutes and experienced an afternoon of skydiving.
Two others, Steven Swanson and Nicholas Nikolov, are rescheduling jumps and also contributed to the effort.
Skydive Minnesota, a professional skydiving company based in Milaca, supported the event by discounting the cost of the jump, along with donating a portion paid by each participant.
Organizers of Parachuting for Paws said everyone had a blast and most would like to go again.
To learn more about the organization, visit http://www.ruffstartrescue.org.
- See more at: http://towncountrynews.com/2013/09/ruff-start-rescue-raises-500-event/#sthash.0BXXDpZw.dpuf
KARE 11: Volunteer pilot gives homeless dogs new chance at life -- Friday July 5th, 2013
See full video segment here
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Three dogs in desperate need of a home have a better chance at adoption.
Turtle, Piper and Jilly were flown in to Eden Prairie for a shelter in Kentucky where they most likely would have been put down.
Two non-profit organizations, Ruff Start Rescue and Pilots n Paws, helped make this happen and the volunteer pilot who flew them says they were well-behaved guests.
"The dogs were really good, they just curled up," said pilot Laura Herman. "The two beagles were in a crate and Jilly was in back and harnessed. THey went to sleep, they were great."
The dogs that arrived are part of a group of eight that came to Ruff Start Rescue in Princeton over the past few weeks. They will soon be up for adoption.
Town and Country Newspaper: Top dog in Coborn’s Land -- Tuesday July 2nd, 2013
Full Story Here
By Joel Stottrup • For the Town & Country
Who’s the Top Dog in Coborn’s Country? Taz of Princeton.
Azure Davis, of Princeton, center, is flanked by Mary Kruck, assistant manager of Coborn’s in Princeton, and Ron Engh, the store manager on June 17. That is when Kruck and Engh presented a check to Davis for her dog Taz, below, being judged Top Dog in Coborn’s Top Dog and Coolest Cat contest.
Contest entrants submitted dog and cat photos to Coborn’s 38 plus stores and Coborns awarded owners of the winning dog and cat each $500 cash for themself, and another $500 for their favorite charity. Davis, who founded Ruff Start Rescue and is its president, chose Ruff Start as her charity recipient. Taz is an old English bulldog, nearly 13 years old. The Coolest Cat winner lives in Pierz and is named Cleo.
Davis talked about both Taz and Ruff Start Rescue. She said the $500 in personal prize money is handy because it costs her $1,500 in vet bills each year to maintaining Taz. Ruff Start, which Davis founded in march 2010, now has about 300 volunteers and about 150 foster homes for dogs or cats that need homes. Eighty percent of the animals that Ruff Start takes in are dogs and the rest are cats, Davis says. “We’re getting more cats and also more cat foster homes,” she added. “Now is the toughest time (regarding the number of cats being their having kittens now).”
Ruff Start has applied for a grant for spaying and neutering feral cats, and continues strong in finding homes for unwanted dogs. Not long ago Ruff Start began a project of taking in dogs brought up from Oklahoma who would likely otherwise have been euthanized. The dogs are brought to the Ruff Start building on First Street at 10 a.m. the third Saturday of each month and people with foster homes for the dogs wait to take them in.
- See more at: http://towncountrynews.com/2013/07/top-dog-in-coborns-land/#sthash.SSIPZawk.dpuf
Town and Country Newspaper: Scruffy and Roscoe on live-saving mission -- Friday June 28th, 2013
See full article here
By Jeffrey Hage
Pilot Brian Mulrooney, a volunteer with the animal rescue organization Pilots n Paws, sits behind the controls of his M20-J aircraft with his travelling companion Roscoe before leaving an airport in Bloomington, Ill. Thursday morning for Princeton.
- See more at: http://towncountrynews.com/2013/06/scruffy-and-roscoe-on-live-saving-mission/#sthash.wxMRQRcQ.dpuf
Town & Country
The wet nose of Roscoe was pressed against the glass of Brian Mulrooney’s 1981 M20-J aircraft as it landed Thursday afternoon at the Princeton airport.
Roscoe jumped into the seat of the small plane earlier Thursday morning at an airport in Bloomington, Ill.
In a carrier in the back of the plane was Scruffy, a terrier too
Three-year-old terrier Scruffy appeared to be in a happy disposition at the Princeton Municipal Airport Thursday, June 27, after arriving in Princeton from an overcrowded shelter in Kentucky.
Jeffrey Hage / Town & Country
small and excited to be loose in Mulrooney’s plane during the flight to Princeton.
The flight was the first leg of a journey toward better lives for Roscoe and Scruffy, who earlier in the day were housed in an over-crowded animal shelter in Kentucky.
It was a good flight, Mulrooney said, with Scruffy resting peacefully in his carrier and Roscoe looking out the window of the plane from high up in the sky.
“He was looking out the window trying to figure out what those big white things were,” Mulrooney said, referring to the clouds.
The dogs began their day at the Taylor County Animal Shelter in Campbellsville, Ky. Volunteer drivers picked up the dogs and drove them from Campbellsville to the airport in Bloomington, Ill., said Azure Davis, president of Princeton-based Ruff Start Rescue.
The animal shelter has long been the target of an investigation into severe animal abuse, the brutal killing of dogs and cats, botched euthanasia and animals being buried alive, according to WAVE television news in Campbellsville. In April, the animal shelter was closed to the public and became a holding shelter where animals are kept only until they are transferred out to shelters or animal rescue groups.
The Taylor County shelter is now under new management, but that the facility is overflowing with animals, Davis said.
“This leaves only one option for the confused and scared animals being held there: one by one, they are euthanized for space to make room for more,” Davis said.
Volunteers at the Taylor County shelter reached out to Ruff Start Rescue for help in placing some of their dogs. That’s how Roscoe and Scruffy came to Princeton.
The Kentucky shelter enlisted the help of volunteer pilots from the organization Pilots n Paws to help get the two dogs to Princeton. That’s where Mulrooney and his 1981 Mooney J (M20-J) come into the picture.
Mulrooney, of Wayzata, is a pilot for Delta Airlines. He owns the M20-J and calls the Crystal Airport his home base.
Mulrooney just recently began flying for Pilots n Paws. Thursday’s flight with Roscoe and Scruffy was his fifth rescue flight. His goal is to run a rescue mission about once a month.
Upon landing at the Princeton Municipal Airport, Mulrooney took Roscoe from his seat and handed the carrier in the back to Davis. Scruffy, 3 years old, was then removed from his carrier and given to a Ruff Start volunteer.
The two dogs were immediately taken for a walk and given some water. They then waited at the airport with the Ruff Start staff, waiting for foster families to arrive to take the dogs off to their new homes.
In all, seven dogs, including Roscoe and Scruffy, are coming to Princeton and Ruff Start Rescue from Campbellsville, Davis said.
Terriers Gremlin and Fuzzi arrived by ground transportation from Campbellsville on Sunday, June 23. Bunny and Turtle, 5-month-old brother and sister beagles, are set to arrive next week along with a 6-month-old female blue heeler named Jilly.
- See more at: http://towncountrynews.com/2013/06/scruffy-and-roscoe-on-live-saving-mission/#sthash.wxMRQRcQ.dpuf
Animal rescue group calls for closure of Shakopee pet store -- Tuesday June 18th, 2013
SHAKOPEE, Minn - Members of a Minnesota animal rescue group are calling for the closure of the Eagle Pet Center, a downtown Shakopee pet store. The Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley says it receives a high number of complaints on the business every month.
Tania Richter, of Ruff Start Rescue, also owns a downtown Shakopee business, and has been concerned about the conditions inside for years.
"I've had customers come into my store and children crying because of the conditions of the animals," said Richter. "I would say the conditions are inhumane and horrific as bad as you are picturing it in your mind, it is far worse."
She posted photos on a Facebook page, which has 2,000 likes.
She fears the animals are in greater danger this week, with a lack of air conditioning in the summer heat. Owner Ed Dressen acknowledges that he turns off the air conditioning to save money, but he says the animals are still in good conditions.
Richter sees it another way, as she looked into the cages of cats, birds, rabbits and rats.
"The rat cages are extremely overcrowded they are covered in feces, and the fish tanks are so thick with algae you can see there are barely fish in these tanks," said Richter.
The Animal Humane Society says they've issue repeated requests to improve conditions, but it's all they can do.
"He is either unable or unwilling to comply but by the same token the conditions we have observed also do not rise to what I think would be a standard of criminal intervention," said Keith Streff, a senior humane investigator. He says public attention could put pressure on the owner.
"Hopefully this will change his attitude or he will go out of business, both of which are in our favor," said Streff.
The City of Shakopee says they have no code that requires the owner to clean up the store. The state board of Animal Health tells KARE 11 they have no way to inspect it either.
Richter says a voice is all she can offer.
"Animals can't speak for themselves it's our job as compassionate human beings to step in," said Richter. "How do we have a system in place that protects animals in situations like this?"
See full article here >> http://www.kare11.com/story/local/2013/07/18/3843137/
Princeton Union Eagle: Parade results announced -- Friday June 14th, 2013
The results are in! The winners of the Rum River Festival parade have been announced.
Drum roll please………
BANDS: CLASS A
3rd St. Francis
BANDS CLASS AA
2nd- Champlin Park
BANDS: CLASS AAA
3rd- 728 Cadets (rogers, elk river, zimmerman)
BEST THEME FLOAT: Caseys General Store South
OUTSTANDING COMMERCIAL ENTRY: Reynolds Balloon
FAVORITE YOUTH GROUP: Cub Scout Pack 16
BEST ANIMAL ENTRY: Ruff Start Rescue
PEOPLE’S CHOICE, MOST ENTERTAINING: Caley House Assisted Living
MOST CREATIVE CHAMBER UNIT: AmericInn
FAVORITE TRACTOR UNIT: Anderson Farms
BEST ROYALTY THEME: St. Paul Park Heritage Days Royalty
Maple Grove Magazine: Ruff Stuff Rescue and Maple Grove PetSmart -- Wednesday May 1st, 2013
Dogs and cats get a chance for a new beginning every third Saturday at PetSmart.
Michelle Schumack visits with Wesley, who is looking for a new home along with other dogs who hope to follow in the footsteps of a particular cat named Hairball.
Hairball the kitten is crazy, playful and loves people. With hair poking out of his ears like an old man, he was the perfect cat for her family, says Carrie Smith of Otsego. She found him after researching diligently on Ruff Start Rescue’s website, a small nonprofit animal rescue facility in Princeton; Smith made her way to the local Maple Grove PetSmart to adopt him. Every third Saturday of the month, Kathryn Smith, the adoption day event manager, brings cats and dogs from area pounds and shelters to the Maple Grove PetSmart. “The experience was great,” says Carrie Smith. “Ruff Start Rescue was great about answering all of our questions. They were so patient, and super-nice.” Their first pet, Hairball, now nestles in bed each night with Smith’s daughter.
River and Smokey -- Tuesday April 16th, 2013
KARE 11's Video
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- If you want to know the true definition of friendship, look no further than River and Smokey.
The two German Sheperds are best friends, raised together since they were puppies.
Now in their old age, they're literally each other's eyes and ears. The two need each other to navigate the world.
"Smokey will follow the sound of River's breathing, and River will come back and check on Smokey to make sure he gets out," said Tara Boals, a foster with Ruff Start Rescue. "He doesn't even like to go out to the bathroom without his brother!"
Now they need someone to help them stay together. Their previous owner was forced to sell his house and forced to give up "his boys."
Tara, a foster with Ruff Start Rescue, took the dogs in and made a promise to the man.
"They will not leave here without each other," she told him. "If they have to stay here forever, until they are no longer with us, then that's what's going to happen. But I want them to go somewhere where they can be together."
Because of Smokey's blindness, the dogs need a quieter home with no stairs.
"Everything is about what he can smell right now, and he gets startled easily if there's loud noises," said Tara.
She prays there's a family out there who will take these boys in, even with all of their special needs.
"All they want is a place to sleep, and someone to love them, and some food," she said. "It's pretty simple."
USA Today: Blind dog and deaf dog are best friends and brothers -- Monday April 15th, 2013
FULL SEGMENT HERE
A blind dog and his deaf brother are in foster care in Bloomington, Minnesota, after their owner was forced to give them up when he sold his house. The dogs were raised together and are each other's eyes and ears.
Town and Country Newspaper: Blind dog sees with its heart - Todd -- Monday February 18th, 2013
Full Story Here
Todd is pictured here at the Jessica Danielson home where the Danielsons are providing foster care. Todd, a blind blue heeler, was rescued after being found wandering down a cold county road on a very cold day in January.
By Jeff Hage Town & Country editor
Todd was visibly scared and confused.
The blue heeler could hear Ruff Start Rescue’s animal impound representative Jessica Danielson as she performed her weekly animal assessment.
Danielson knew because Todd was wagging his tail in response to
Todd, at about 40 pounds, is pictured with Daisy, a 60-pound Irish wolf hound mix, at his foster home.
But a closer look at Todd revealed he couldn’t see Danielson. Todd was blind.
Todd is part of an increasing population of animals passing through Ruff Start Rescue. He is a special needs dog. Not only that, at 12 years old, Todd is a senior dog, said Azure Davis, director and founder of Ruff Start Rescue.
Todd looks extremely sad lying on the cold, concrete floor at the animal impound in Princeton. The dog was brought here after being found wandering down a county road at the end of January. This is where foster care provider Jessica Danielson first saw Todd.
Todd’s story began on Monday, Jan. 28, one of the coldest days of the new year.
Todd had been wandering down a county road and a passerby in a vehicle called the dog into the Mille Lacs County dispatch center.
An animal control officer, contracted by the county’s land services department, located Todd and brought him to the impound facility located at the Princeton Vet Clinic and placed on a five-day stray hold.
But something sad happened along the way, Davis said.
Nobody came looking for Todd and his five-day hold expired. Ruff Start took responsibility for Todd and placed him in foster care at Danielson’s home.
Todd’s owners eventually contacted the impound facility and were then referred to Ruff Start Rescue. They said Todd was 12 years old and has always been an outside dog and has always been blind. Ruff Start officials learned that Todd was about two miles from home when he was picked up by the county animal control officer.
“That is a long ways to travel in the frigid weather on that Monday! I’m not sure how he even survived,” Davis said.
After talking with a Ruff Start official, Todd’s owners learned that they would have to go through some hoops to get their dog back. They agreed that Todd was in a better place with Ruff Start Rescue and surrendered their dog.
“Now we are on a mission to find Todd a special needs home where he can live out his life,” Davis said.
For a 12-year-old, Todd is doing great, Davis said.
At about noon on Friday, Feb. 8, Todd was outside the Danielson home rolling in the snow.
“He just loves that,” Jessica Danielson said.
“Todd is such a sweetie,” Danielson said. “He rubs up against you and curls up in my lap, which is crazy because he’s like a 40-pound dog.”
The dog is very affectionate and when it goes outside it doesn’t leave Danielson’s side.
“But as soon as I say ‘Todders, I’m right here’, he does a little bounce,” Danielson said.
Danielson, currently has seven dogs — four of her own and three foster dogs. She has become kind of an expert on blind dogs. Her dog Carson is blind. Carson came from a puppy mill and has no eyes because they were destroyed by a bacterial infection. His eyelids were sutured shut, Danielson said. She also has provided foster care to another blind dog like Todd.
Danielson says she loves blind dogs.
“They are no different than dogs that have eyes,” she said. “They play and run with you when they become comfortable with their surroundings.”
And when a blind dog gets to the point where it trusts you, it’s an amazing feeling, Danielson said.
“You’re not losing out by having a blind dog. You’re gaining,” she said.
“It’s a great, great, great thing,” Danielson said.
The story of Todd’s rescue is a wonderful one, Davis said.
“We are just glad that someone called animal control because otherwise Todd more than likely wouldn’t be with us and would have frozen to death in the cold,” she said.
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