Ruff Start Rescue

About Us

Who We Are & How We Do It

We are a foster home-based Non-Profit 501c3, No-Kill dog and cat rescue based in Central Minnesota. We rescue stray, neglected, abandoned, and surrendered dogs and cats as well as ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other critters. We work very hard to place them in new loving homes.

We operate largely through volunteers and donations, relying on social media to stay connected. The more than 600 volunteers working with the rescue transport animals, serve as foster families, coordinate adoptions and much more. Without them and their countless hours of service, Ruff Start Rescue could not exist.


Foster-based by Choice

We do not have a shelter.  We believe a home environment is far more desirable than a shelter or kennel.  We rely exclusively on volunteers to provide foster homes for rescued pets until they find their forever homes.


We Can't Take Every Animal

Because we don’t have a shelter, we can only take a new animal when we have a vacant foster home for the pet to live in while they await their forever home. Sadly, we are not able to assist every animal that crosses our path. There are just too many dogs and cats out there that need help. We promise to do our very best to help find every pet his or her forever home.


What Started Ruff Start Rescue? HOPE!

Hope was brought to Ruff Start Rescue in January 2010.  The pit bull mix was discovered in a shelter in Ohio, sick with heartworm, emaciated and almost out of time.

Azure Davis, president and founder of Ruff Start Rescue, decided she could make a difference. Taking a leap of faith, she told the Ohio shelter she would take Hope as part of a newly developing rescue in Central Minnesota where she grew up.

Azure contacted and arranged ground transportation from Ohio to Illinois, where a volunteer pilot and his wife waited. The couple flew Hope and one other rescue dog right into the Princeton airport, and Ruff Start Rescue was up and running.

Despite her sorry condition, Hope arrived in Minnesota in good spirits.  She was placed into a wonderful foster family who gave her the love and attention she needed and deserved.  The fosters fell in love with Hope and decided to adopt her.

Hope was the first of many thousands of animals rescued by Davis and the Ruff Start Rescue volunteers. By 2017, just seven years after Hope’s rescue, the organization had grown from a handful of volunteers to more than 600, with more than 5,500 animals saved from cruel and unsafe conditions.

Hope was in poor condition when she was discovered in an Ohio shelter, sick from heartworm and running out of time.


(Hope in December 2009 right before she was flown into Minnesota to find her forever home)

Hope Landing

(The landing in Princeton, MN - January 2010)

Thanks to the efforts of Azure Davis (second from right), and several volunteers,
Hope was removed from the shelter and flown to Minnesota where she found her forever family.
​With their love and encouragement, Hope thrived.



  (Hope when she first arrived in Minnesota - January 2010)


(Hope at her forever home - June 2010)


 (Hope at her forever home - June 2010)