RUFF Tales Rescue

Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Silent Auction for The Hermitage Cat Shelter!

October 15-31, 2020 | Learn More →

Bid on 99+ awesome prizes, including a South African Photo Safari for Two!

All proceeds benefit needy cats and kittens in Southern Arizona.

About RUFF Tales Rescue

RUFF Tales Rescue in Chelmsford, Massachusetts is a non-profit, 100% volunteer-run and foster-based dog rescue. They rescue abandoned, abused, and neglected dogs from states with significant overpopulation issues and redirect them to stable, loving, forever homes.

Everything they’re able to accomplish is due to the devotion and unwavering support of volunteers. There are numerous ways to show your support and volunteer for RUFF Tales Rescue:

  • Application processing
  • Home visits
  • Event volunteer
  • Transport
  • Fundraising
  • Graphic design
  • Photography

Considering adoption from RUFF Tales Rescue? Keep reading for more information on the adoption process and associated fees.

Contact Info

119 Drum Hill Road
(508) 657-4102

Hours of Operation

By appointment

Adoption Process

RUFF Tales Rescue believes in changing the world four paws at a time! Their adoption process is simple:

  1. Browse their website to view all dogs available for adoption.
  2. If you see one you'd like to meet, complete an adoption application. You’ll need to provide two personal references, a veterinarian reference, whether you've had pets within the last 10 years, and contact information for either you landlord or homeowner's association (if applicable). ​All your current dogs and cats must be spayed/neutered and up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. Please allow up to 24 hours for a response.
  3. Wait for your application to be reviewed by an adoption coordinator.
  4. If your references checked out, next up is scheduling a home visit with one of the volunteers.
  5. After the home visit, their adoptions team will approve your application or ask follow-up questions​.
  6. If approved, schedule a meet-and-greet between your family (four-legged members included) and the dog you’re interested in.
  7. Ready to make things official? Finalize the adoption by completing the paperwork and paying the adoption fee.
  8. Enjoy the companionship of your new best friend!

Adoption Fees

Adoption fees at RUFF Tales Rescue are as follows:

  • Puppies: $400
  • Adults: $400


  • Current and retired military: 10% off​
  • Seniors for Seniors (70+ adopting a dog 7+ years old): 10% off

Your adoption fee covers spay/neuter surgery, up-to-date vaccinations, heartworm testing (if old enough), flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, deworming, and microchipping.

This fee also helps offset the costs associated with transport to New England, including state-mandated quarantining and health certificates. Though the $400 fee seems large, it just barely covers the cost of finding a home for a healthy dog, and many of the dogs have rescued by RUFF Tales have pre-existing medical conditions, such as heartworm, which cost hundreds more.

If you have any questions about the adoption process or associated fees, contact RUFF Tales Rescue directly.

Adoption Process & Fees

Our writing team is hard at work researching this shelter's adoption process and fees, so this page will be updated soon!

In the meantime, below you'll find some nice-to-know info that applies to nearly every animal shelter, humane society, and rescue.

But first...

Do You Have Everything Your New Shelter Pet Needs?

Check out the Checklist, now →

Give your new best friend the life and love they deserve.

Why Rescue A Shelter Dog?

Because shelter dogs are full of love!

Is it because they know you saved them and love you harder for it?

I can't say for certain, but yes.

Jokes aside, there are three things all shelter dogs need to thrive in their new home:

  1. Love
  2. Patient
  3. Training

Older shelter dogs, generally 1+ years old, may have experienced a lot of trauma, which often results in one of 8 common behavioral issues:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Aggression toward people & pets
  3. Resource guarding
  4. Destructive behavior
  5. Housetraining regression
  6. Poor social skills
  7. Leash reactivity & barrier-related aggression
  8. Constant whining

These issues are correctable! Your dog isn't broken, they're just damaged. You can fix them with enough love, patience, and a good training plan.

Animal Shelter vs Humane Society vs Rescue: What's the Difference?

You can learn a lot about an animal welfare organization just by looking at their name.

Animal Shelters

  • Most Animal Shelters are city or county-run organizations, often operated by the local Animal Control department, that manage strays and handle owner surrenders.
  • They usually have kennel facilities you can visit to adopt animals, and they usually have less stringent adoption requirements, lower adoption fees, and same-day adoptions (because their goal is to get animals out of the shelter).
  • Unfortunately, they usually know very little about each animal, including their true personalities and any behavioral problems.

Humane Societies

  • Most Humane Societies are non-profit organizations, many of which are no-kill shelters.
  • Some (but not all) are affiliated with The Humane Society of the United States.
  • They exist to improve animal welfare in the local community and often partner with city or county-run Animal Shelters that often euthanize animals due to capacity restraints.
  • They usually have kennel facilities, sometimes at multiple locations, and usually offer other services to the community such as low-cost spay/neuter clinics, community education programs, and more.
  • They may also have some animals in foster care.
  • There's a lot of variation in process and fees among Humane Societies, but they usually have really good websites that detail everything for you.


  • Most Rescues are foster-based organizations that don't have physical facilities.
  • They usually have websites and contact emails, but not all of them have phone numbers.
  • Because they don't have a physical facility, you need to view animals in their foster network online, usually on their website but sometimes on their member pages on either PetFinder or Adopt-a-Pet.
  • If you see an animal you'd like to meet, contact the rescue using the process listed on their website or via email. They'll help you through the application process and set up a time for you to meet the animal at the foster's home.
  • Adopting from a rescue generally is the most expensive option here and takes the longest, but you get an animal that's been cared for in a loving home environment and their foster can tell you a lot about their personality.

6 Tips to Improve Your Adoption Experience

Adoption processes vary drastically from organization to organization, but here are some general tips that apply in most instances. Note that we'll use the term "shelters" here for simplicity but it includes all types of rescue organizations.

  1. See an animal online that you'd like to meet? Call the shelter before your visit to make sure the animal is still available. This especially applies for puppies, which are adopted out quickly.
  2. Usually, you'll need to get some paperwork in order: a photo ID, vaccination/medical records for any pets you currently have, possibly your vet's contact info and a couple of personal references, and (for renters) proof you're allowed to have a pet (copy of your lease or your landlord's contact info).
  3. If you need to provide contact info for your vet, let your vet know ahead of time. Otherwise, they may not release your information.
  4. Many shelters require your current dogs to meet adoptive dogs. Your current dogs need to be up-to-date on vaccinations.
  5. Some shelters require you to schedule a home visit to ensure a suitable living environment for the new animal.
  6. Adoption fees may seem excessive, but they're actually amazing values. Truthfully, caring for a pet is expensive. Most adoption fees include required medical care to get the animal ready for their new home including (but not limited to) spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, general vet exams, flea/tick treatment, deworming, heartworm testing/treatment for dogs, and feline leukemia and feline AIDS testing/treatment for cats. In general, your adoption fee is less than the cost of this care, so you're saving money in addition to your new animal's life!

If you have any questions about adopting an animal (what you'll need, what to expect, etc.) feel free to contact the PetLists team!

For more information about what's included in your adoption fee, or any other questions about the adoption process, reach out to
RUFF Tales Rescue
directly using the contact info above.

Other Shelters in


Curious about other shelters? Here's 6 more. You can also browse all
animal shelters in

You can also go back to our listing of all 50 states to find shelters elsewhere in the US.
All information on this page is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge. If you spot an error, please contact us using our contact form.
Note: Hours of operation and other information on this page are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.