When Angie Adams and her family started fostering a rescue border collie mix named Dax — whom they would eventually adopt — in 2018, her future as Adams’ running pal looked bleak. Dax had a broken leg at the time and the family thought it might need to be amputated.
Four years later, Dax still has his leg and Adams has his running buddy.
“He could run forever, but because of his old leg injury, I try not to run him more than 3 miles. He does the shortest runs with me,” said Adams, from Mound, Minnesota, who now lives in Two Harbors “He would definitely run until his leg was really sore, so we have to be careful what kind of exercise he does.”
Adams and her family fostered and adopted Dax through Ruff Start Rescue, an animal rescue organization based in Princeton, Minnesota. In addition to dogs, Ruff Start Rescue also rescues cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits and “other critters,” according to its website.
Adams is one of approximately 175 charity runners competing in Grandma’s Marathon weekend races. She raises money for Ruff Start Rescue by running the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.
“I love running. For me, it’s really a form of self-care,” said Adams, a University of Minnesota Duluth graduate and licensed professional clinical counselor who opened her own practice – North Shore Mental Health Services – in Duluth “Working in mental health, I have to make sure I take care of myself. For me, it’s a great time for me to be outside and process my own thoughts and feelings and help me feel strong. And an excuse to be outside, for sure.
After playing football and on the running track growing up, Adams said she got into cross-country running in 2008. It was then that she ran the Bjorklund for the first time. . She’s run the half marathon on Grandma’s weekend between 6 and 7 times now, she said, but has only done the full marathon once.
“I don’t think my body is built for the full. I won’t do it again,” said Adams, who has also run half marathons in Stillwater and Fargo, but the Bjorklund is her go-to race every year. “Nothing beats the crowds and the views here. It’s also where I live, so it’s nice and convenient.
In addition to Dax, who is now 5, Adams has two other dogs – a 13-year-old border collie mix named Rudy and a newly adopted 8-month-old pinscher/dachshund mix named Lulu.
Like Dax, Lulu came to Adams as a foster family from Ruff Start Rescue, although the family did not plan to foster the adoption of Lulu, who was a stray from the Houston area. Adams began fostering puppies for Ruff Start Rescue in January, and she is currently on her seventh foster dog since then.
“I kind of hit the ground running. I always wanted to be a foster parent,” said Adams, who with her husband has two children, ages 5 and 8. “I was waiting for my children to grow up a little so that they could have more free time, and that they could be a little more useful with that. The time had come. I worked more from home last year, so it worked out pretty well.
Adams and her family have fostered puppies, which typically stay with the family for 1-3 weeks before being adopted. Ruff Start Rescue posts animals in need of fostering online, and families choose the animals that best match their circumstances.
Adams must travel from Two Harbors to Princeton to pick up the dogs, however, Ruff Start Rescue provides foster families with bedding, toys, food, medicine, and any other supplies the animal needs, as needed. ensuring that foster care is not a financial burden on families. , Adams said.
“I really, really appreciate the support they give to their foster families,” Adams said. “Communication is excellent. He feels super supportive. There are Facebook groups that really allow you to keep in touch with other host families. If you have any questions, someone is always available. It was really good to wade through this uncharted territory. Knowing that if something happened, I felt like people were going to catch me if I fell. That’s what I really love about Ruff Start.
Many animals entrusted to Ruff Start Rescue come from Texas. Some come from shelters in Louisiana. They also welcome pets from all over Minnesota. Adams has fostered dogs on reservations in South Dakota.
Meaghan Dubbs, transport partnership specialist at Ruff Start Rescue, said the organization works with nearly 30 shelters and 12 rescue partners. Two buses per month bring a total of 50 to 65 dogs from Houston to Minnesota per month. Dogs stay with foster families in Texas for 2-4 weeks before being transported to ensure they are healthy and ready to travel.
Animals are posted in advance on the Ruff Start Rescue website. Dubbs said the hope is that all are adopted or encouraged to adopt ahead of time, but if not, they will go to foster homes. Ruff Start Rescue does not house any dogs in Princeton.
Dubbs said there are always more animals than foster families or forever homes.
“I probably get calls for thousands of animals every week,” said Dubbs, who works primarily with animals in Texas. “We refuse a lot because we just don’t have the capacity to take all the animals.”
Adams said if people are considering raising animals, now is a great time to play that role as the pandemic slows. Many people decide pets are too much, and other foster families have quit due to busy schedules.
Adopting dogs triggers a range of emotions, but it’s a cool feeling to send best friends to new families, Adams said.
“It’s hard. It’s frustrating. It’s beautiful. It’s fun,” Adams said. “It’s heartbreaking to let the animal go to its new home, but it’s also so comforting in same time because you know you have created this opportunity for him to enter a house. It’s so mixed emotions, but I found it so rewarding to be that safe place during these dogs’ journey.