Featured Volunteer: Kim Jeannotte

Not only will Kim attend events with her fosters and spread the word about AARCS, but she is also our Dog Shelter Coordinator.

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AARCS introduces Kim Jeannotte

Kim is truly a wonderful person, who we have the pleasure of working so closely with, as she dedicates so much of her free time to AARCS. As an amazing foster home, she has not shied away from taking on 2 of our mange dogs, who are awaiting their furever home.

Not only will Kim attend events with her fosters and spread the word about AARCS, but she is also our Dog Shelter Coordinator. She spends hours each week setting up new volunteers who want to work with the dogs, providing them with available orientation dates and getting them started! Dog shelter volunteers also need updates on what is going on, so all updates are provided through Kim, almost daily. She does all this for the shelter, but she also spends time IN the shelter working alongside volunteers.

Her professional experience has also helped AARCS. In addition to the countless hours she spends in the shelter, Kim spends more helping out with the organizations financials.

Thank you Kim, for your countless hours spent working for the animals. Words can not express how thankful we are to have you as part of the AARCS family. Keep up the truly amazing work!

Featured Volunteer: The Landmark Family

“When you see these dogs and pups and everything they have gone through to make it to your home, there is no way we could turn them away.”

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AARCS introduces The Landmark Family

“Candace, Justin and family, have been an amazing addition to AARCS Family. Well over a year ago, after they adopted an AARCS dog, we were lucky enough to have them come on board as a foster home. This is where their journey with AARCS begins. Since then, they have had a steady stream of fosters through their home. They have a hard time saying ‘no’, having everything from adult dogs, to puppies, to medical cases. We can always count on The Landmark family to open up their home to a dog in need. They are dependable, and are always looking out for our furry little friends.

Thank you Candace and Justin for always being up for a challenge and for teaching your children to be the next generation of animal rescuers!! We are proud to have you on our team!

A Few Words from our Volunteer

Our family has been a crazy busy foster home for AARCS since January 2012! When my husband and myself tell people that we have 4 young children, 2 dogs of our own AND multiple fosters they look at us like we have completely lost our minds and always ask “How do you do it?” My response has always been “You just do! You make it work! If we don’t help them, who will?”

When you see these dogs and pups and everything they have gone through to make it to your home, there is no way we could turn them away.

I remember when we got the call to pick up our first 2 fosters. They were 5 week old pups and we had absolutely no idea of what to expect. When I saw how sweet and adorable they were, I thought to myself that this must be some kind of mistake. How could there be sweet little puppies like this, be out there in the dead of winter, without people tripping over eachother to call them their own? I remember looking on Kijiji when we welcomed our first dog Daisy into our family, people were charging hundreds, if not thousands, for puppies, puppies just like these! At the time we brought Daisy home we had no idea about AARCS or any of the rescues, and that is why we believe it is so important to get the word out about rescue dogs. It just completely boggled my mind that these little darlings were in fact, rescues. Time proved to me that this wasn’t a mistake but was in fact the reality. Puppy after puppy, loving adult dog after adult dog, these are the little souls we are saving. Without the many dedicated teams of volunteers through AARCS, these beautiful creatures would never get a chance to shine, never get a chance to cuddle on your lap or play with a child and never get a chance to be a valuable member of your family. That is why we volunteer with AARCS.

Featured Volunteer: Hannah Willey

“It became very clear what a wonderful organization AARCS is – dedicated and friendly people who are great fun to work with as well the fantastic work they do with the cats and dogs.”

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AARCS introduces Hannah Willey

Dedicated, sweet, funny, big heart…those are only a few words we can use to describe Hannah. She is lovely to be around and always has a smile on her face.

Since the opening of the shelter in late 2012, Hannah has been a huge asset to the AARCS family. She manages the medical records and gets foster homes set up for the next vaccines and deworming. This is a huge task to take on with the ever increasing numbers of dogs coming in to AARCS care.

In addition to coordinating medical clinics, Hannah also assists on the financial side of things, issuing tax receipts. With the amazing amount of donations AARCS receives, this as well is no small task. You will also find Hannah helping out at many of AARCS events.

Hannah, we know that we keep you constantly busy, but want you to know how lucky we are to have you on our team!! Thank you for your time, dedication and support!

A Few Words from our Volunteer

I started volunteering with AARCS in August 2012 when I heard they needed someone to help with medical admin for the dogs. I had done some of this in the past and, as family circumstances meant I couldn’t regularly help in the shelter, I thought this was something I could do in the evenings or whenever I had 5 minutes spare to hit the computer! It became very clear what a wonderful organization AARCS is – dedicated and friendly people who are great fun to work with as well the fantastic work they do with the cats and dogs. I get my ‘fix’ of hands-on dealing with the animals when I get to help out at the odd event and never fail to fall in love with all of the animals! In my role on the medical side, I love to hear when those animals have gone to loving homes. Volunteering with AARCS is so rewarding in whatever capacity and however often you are able to do it!

Featured Volunteer: Charlene and Deanna

The atmosphere at Safe Haven is truly special – there is nothing better than arriving at Safe Haven and being greeted by the excitement and wagging tails of the dogs and cats.

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AARCS introduces Charlene and Deanna

Time and time again, Charlene and Deanna have shown us their dedication to AARCS. They both spend a large amount of time from their weekends, at Safe Haven, taking care of the furry faces that happen to be there.

With the official opening of Safe Haven last year, Charlene and Deanna have been instrumental in getting things going and ensuring things are running smoothly. With both being part of our Shift Leader Team, they have trained and been a resource for a large number of our new volunteers coming in to work with the dogs at Safe Haven. Whether you catch them at the shelter or working an event, you will never catch them without a smile on their face.

These two ladies are so full of life and a passion for the cause, that we consider ourselves very lucky to have them as part of the AARCS family.

Thank you Charlene and Deanna for all of your time spent making a difference in the lives of these animals!

A Few Words from our Volunteer

I remember clearly the first day I heard about AARCS. There was posting on my company’s intranet regarding a dog named Tasha who had a fractured pelvis due to suspected abuse. That story resonated with me as my husband and I had recently rescued a yellow lab who we suspected had also been abused. I had always wanted to do more to help rescued animals and AARCS has provided both Deanna and I with a wonderful opportunity to do so. We started volunteering at AARCS events and helping one of the most amazing foster mom’s (Rita) with walking her momma dog, Haven. It was not long before we found ourselves fostering Haven. Our lab Baxter fell in love with Haven and sure enough she became a permanent member of our family. And soon after Haven came a kitten named Miss Hank, who Deanna was originally transporting for AARCS. Hank captured Deanna and her husband’s hearts and now is surrounded by her senior siamese siblings ;) We will always be grateful to AARCS for bringing Haven and Hank into our lives. It was truly meant to be!

Those that know Deanna and I are not surprised by our commitment to helping animals. A “normal routine” for us on holidays is to spend our evenings feeding and comforting stray animals, whether it be searching temples in Thailand for stray dogs or walking the beach at night in Oahu to feed feral cats (our husbands may pretend that they are just coming to ensure we are safe but we know they love it as much as we do :) Our love of animals was definitely inherited from our wonderful dad who taught us to care for animals and treat them as a member of our family.

We feel very lucky to have been welcomed into the AARCS “family”. To be surrounded by people who are passionate about animals and demonstrate that commitment each and every day is a blessing. The atmosphere at Safe Haven is truly special – there is nothing better than arriving at Safe Haven and being greeted by the excitement and wagging tails of the dogs and cats. To anyone who is considering fostering or volunteering we both would strongly encourage doing so – AARCS is an organization that is really making a difference and being a part of that is a wonderful journey. Plus who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by puppies and kittens :)

Featured Volunteer: Linda Van Dyke

I applaud the rescue teams that go out and bring these animals in and tirelessly give their time to all the other projects in and out of the field. I feel very lucky to be a part of something so fulfilling.

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AARCS introduces Linda Van Dyke

If you frequent the shelter, chances are you have run into Linda. She is one special lady, who we have the pleasure of seeing frequently. Linda’s commitment to AARCS and to the animals is inspiring.

Linda has been an instrumental part of our Barn Buddies program. Many of the cats that are taken into this program, are feral. Where most people would shy away from these cats, Linda takes them into her home and wins their trust. In addition to being our Barn Buddies foster home, she also takes on lots of our animals who have a medical need. Most recently, she has cared for Mr. Big who came to us with a fractured pelvis and required FHO surgery. If those hours spent were not enough, Linda helped out tremendously last summer, when we were on the hunt For Trinity. There have also been many events, that Linda has attended as a volunteer, often with her fosters in tow.

We are so happy that Linda has chosen AARCS to spend her time with. We look forward to many more years with her. Thank you Linda, for your dedication and hard work.

A Few Words from our Volunteer

About one and a half years ago I LIKED the AARCS Facebook page. The feeds started to come in and one particular day the posting was of the Dump Dogs. Browsing through the pictures, tears just started flowing. From that point forward there were only two things to do – make sure my dogs were up to date with their shots and apply to become a foster home.

Some family and friends say to me `if you didn’t have so many animals you could travel, do this or that’. What they fail to understand is that having my animals (five dogs, six cats, plus fosters) fills my life with more happiness than most of them will ever know.

Last September long weekend I enlisted as an `Unofficial’ shelter volunteer. Knowing that AARCS had taken in an emergency pack of dogs and volunteers might be hard to find on the last long weekend I asked if I could be of help. (And yes, of course, I wanted to see the dogs!). I still volunteer on occasion and I get to play with the animals!

After the first year of fostering dogs, and loving every minute of it, I added fostering of barn cats. Jessica O’Hare was instrumental and inspirational in getting me set up. I decided to use my spare bedroom which previously was known as the only pet free room in my house! As a few Barn Buddies have now been placed, I find great satisfaction in knowing they also will have a safe and warm place to live.

I applaud the rescue teams that go out and bring these animals in and tirelessly give their time to all the other projects in and out of the field. I feel very lucky to be a part of something so fulfilling. I highly recommend fostering or any volunteer position.

Featured Volunteer: Petula and Lorne Ruyter

We have been a volunteering at AARCS for only a couple of years, and already our experiences here have been nothing short of inspiring and life-changing.

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AARCS introduces Petula and Lorne Ruyter

Lorne and Petula are two of the most amazing volunteers that we have the pleasure of working and we so grateful to have them as part of the AARCS family. They helped make our dream of opening a shelter a reality. Without hesitation, they donated time, money and building materials. Lorne’s knowledge and connections in the construction business were instrumental in getting this project off the ground. In addition, he still comes on a regular basis to assist with repairs, garbage removal, etc. If that wasn’t enough, Lorne’s company, Detailed Drywall has loaned out additional warehouse space for excess dog/cat food and together with his wife Petula they also coordinate our Dog House Program. Managing a team of volunteers they have built over 40 insulated dogs houses so the animals out in rural communities can have a warm place to sleep during the cold Alberta winters. Many of their weekends have been spent hammering away and delivering houses.

On top of all of their volunteer time, they also foster needy dogs in their home. They are currently fostering Ladie a long term foster who requires extra care. Ladie came to AARCS as a feral dog, but that didn’t stop them from opening their home and their hearts to her. Their compassion and dedication to helping animals is nothing short of extraordinary. Thank you Lorne and Petula for everything you do and for being on this journey with us – every step of the way.

A Few Words from our Volunteer

We have been a volunteering at AARCS for only a couple of years, and already our experiences here have been nothing short of inspiring and life-changing. We have met so many kind hearted and wonderful people through AARCS. We are both very passionate about animals, both growing up with dogs we could not imagine ours life without my animals.

I can not explain why someone should volunteer with a simply sentences. This is not because it so hard to extract the benefit from it, but rather because it is hard to cover everything positive you could gain.

Our involvement started with participating with AARCS events, to fostering to helping at Safe Haven and now Dog House coordinators and we love it.

Featured Volunteer: Theresa Swain

There began my journey that would show me a whole new world and introduce me to a passionate group of people who are all interested in the welfare of animals.

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AARCS introduces Theresa Swain

AARCS is fortunate enough to have a network of some pretty stellar photographers who spend hours each week with our foster homes, just to get the right shot, to showcase how amazing our animals are. Theresa is part of this group of amazing people. She spends so much of her free time in foster homes, taking pictures of our adoptables – both dogs and cats.

Many of us have seen her “in the zone” and how amazing she is with the animals. Theresa has a kind spirit, that wins over even the most timid dog. It amazes us how she can get the perfect shot every time, even from the ones who don’t even like the camera!! Her passion for rescue stretches far and wide, assisting other rescue groups as well, helping out where ever she can, whenever she can.

Her tireless hours spent away from home (sorry Boyd!), has not gone un-noticed. Theresa, we are so lucky to have you working with us and part of the ever-growing AARCS family. Thank you for all your time and dedication, we hope that you will continue to volunteer your time and talents with us!

A Few Words from our Volunteer

I have always loved dogs and have always been a sensitive person. 15 years ago I came across a display at a pet convention regarding animal rescue, and saw a tattered photo album of before and after photos (mostly Polaroids) of dogs that had been rescued ~ I was hooked! I had to know more, I had to help. There began my journey that would show me a whole new world and introduce me to a passionate group of people who are all interested in the welfare of animals. I had no idea that so many animals are lost and abandoned, neglected and forgotten, some right outside our city limits.

Eventually, around 2003, volunteering at various events and spay/neuter clinics turned into taking photographs of adoptable dogs. Along the way my husband Boyd and I acquired a rescue dog, Rudy (aka our foster failure)! This past year I joined HeARTs Speak, a group of artists using their talents and time to help animals in need. I was able to expand my services to include more rescue groups, and I was thrilled to be asked to help AARCS. I’ve managed to combine my two favourite things, animal rescue and photography. I’m looking forward to many more years of helping in this way.

There is much left to do. I urge everyone who is interested in helping to try fostering, donating time, supplies or money, spread the word, spay/neuter, adopt not shop, educate the public, and above all have compassion for those that have no voice.

Featured Volunteer: Alyssa Hatfield

I know taking the chance of working with AARCS by volunteering and fostering; I can help to change the way people think, one canine at the time.

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AARCS introduces Alyssa Hatfield

Alyssa has been so dedicated to AARCS since the minute we met her. We have been so lucky that she has taken on the huge task of dealing with all of our inventory and donations.She has been dedicated to being organized and is constantly thinking of new ways we can improve! You can usually find her at the Shelter on Sunday, sorting away like crazy!! If that wasn’t enough for her to deal with, Alyssa is also one of our very dedicated foster homes, spending the time and effort to make them feel like part of the family. You can even find her at the odd event here and there!

There is not enough words to describe how thankful we are to have Alyssa on our team. Her passion for the cause and for helping out in any way she can is inspiring. Thank you for all you do, and all the time you invest into AARCS! Alyssa, you are truly an amazing person, and we look forward to spending many years with you!

A Few Words from our Volunteer

In November of 2011 walking to Wal-Mart, my fiance Cameron and I stumbled across the “AARCS” table at the entrance. This minute changed my life forever. There were many volunteers there to tell us about what AARCS was all about and how I could go about to change a rescued dog’s life. That night we went home and applied to become foster parents, I applied to become a general volunteer; I read every single rescue story and profile on the site and cried my eyes out. It took about a week to receive a call regarding our first foster pup Karma. We had Karma through until just after the new year and once we had heard about the finalization of her adopted, boy did my heart explode with love! From that moment on we’ve tried to foster and help animals at every chance we get.

In September of 2012 Safe Haven had it’s grand opening and I applied for Inventory/Donations Organization Coordinator or Assistant.. all fell through and I became the assistant not too long after applying. In October I received an e-mail from the inventory lead stating that she was passing me her position. Boy was I freaked out and excited at the same time! Honestly, I more than just love AARCS, the animals, and all the volunteers. I spend wayyy too much time at Safe Haven creating and organizing the shelter’s inventory but I enjoy every minute of it. I’ve always been taught when given a chance to help change the world or just one thing; take that chance and run with it. I for sure have because I know taking the chance of working with AARCS by volunteering and fostering; I can help to change the way people think, one canine at the time.

Featured Volunteer: Rachel Howard

From fostering to event participation, to being the Dog Rescue Community Relations Coordinator, to being the temporary Volunteer Coordinator, I have loved every minute of my time with AARCS.

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AARCS introduces Rachel Howard

Rachel always happy, smiling and bubbly. Her energy for life and commitment to helping others shines through when you speak to her on the phone or have a chance to meet with her in person.

She is committed to helping the animals and is a huge part of AARCS’s family.

Rachel really stepped up when the volunteer coordinating position needed to be filled immediately, a position that requires a lot of time, effort and organization. She never complains and puts in endless hours of work helping with the volunteers, fostering, rescue transfers and events. She is a go-getter, who with little direction, picked up and carried on managing the over 500 volunteers. She is reliable, organized and has a willingness to do whatever it takes to help take AARCS to the next level.

Thank you Rachel (and her husband) for helping us, help the animals. Your time and effort has not gone unnoticed and we hope that you will continue to volunteer and support AARCS for many years to come.

A Few Words from our Volunteer

Much to my parents dismay, I had a thing for bringing cats home when I was younger. “But dad! he looked at me!!” Believe it or not, that actually worked once upon a time! I think they secretly loved having these kitties around. I loved my cats, but I knew I was also destined to be in the company if a dog as well! Years later, my now husband, said we were getting a puppy! Jasper, the love of my life (other then my hubby if course!). he was my first dog, my first rescue – some one had left him in a dumpster with his brother. When we bought our first house, I knew he needed a friend. This is where my AARCS journey begins. Like so many others before me, I got involved by simply looking for another addition to the family. Days later, Emma had stolen our hearts, moved into our house and settled in. In the following weeks, I found myself on the website daily. I begged and pleaded to my reluctant and unconvinced husband that we should be a foster home! That Christmas, I opened up a box from him. To my surprise, it was a filled out foster application.

Fostering has been one of the greatest adventures. Every time we get a new one, I’m convinced I won’t be able to let them go. And every time I cry when they leave. But every time I remember why we do this. One that we have not been able to let go of is Charlie. She came in with a shotgun wound and was our first medical case. We had joked about keeping her, and that after everything we had been through with her, she was home. I knew she wasn’t going anywhere when my husband let her sleep on the bed one night. Then the next, and every night after that. She has only filled our life with more love and joy. At any one time, we have 6 animals in our care – our now 3 dogs and cat, and 2 fosters. It’s not easy all the time, but it is more then worth it when you know they are happy, warm, fed and loved.

My love for AARCS, and my involvement, has only continued to snowball. From fostering to event participation, to being the Dog Rescue Community Relations Coordinator, to being the temporary Volunteer Coordinator, I have loved every minute of my time with AARCS. I am so lucky to have had these experiences with a group of inspiring and wonderful people who I have come to know, and am so blessed to call my friends. I am also lucky, that this has turned into a family affair! My always wonderful parents, have donated food and are always asking me how things are going at AARCS. I was also so lucky to have a husband who supports every venture I take with AARCS. My endless time on the phone, emailing, at the shelter or asking if we can “take just one more!”, he is still my number one supporter.

If you have ever thought about getting involved, you will not regret your decision to get involved in this organization. I look forward to more years to come with AARCS, working along side some of the most amazing people I know!

Featured Volunteer: Marsha Pizarro

It brings tears to my eyes, remembering how he was, and where he is now. I never thought that I could foster a dog, but Kodak is now my inspiration to keep going, in helping one at a time.

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AARCS introduces Marsha Pizarro

A little over a year ago, AARCS came up with a new initiative to have all the animals that come into our care be professionally photographed. This is how AARCS met Marsha. She was a new photographer and had a passion for animals just like all of us at AARCS. We had no idea how fortunate we would be.

Marsha, as I’m sure you have seen from her photos, has the amazing ability to catch, in a photograph, the feeling you can see in an animal’s eyes.

Since starting with AARCS just over a year ago, Marsha has photographed over 100 animals for us and has helped us adopt out just as many by helping us showcase them on our site with great profile photos.

Her selfless, can do attitude makes her an integral part of our volunteer network. She will take on any challenge we hand her way and always does it with a smile.

Marsha, we are so fortunate to have you as part of AARCS family. Thank you for your hard work and endless hours of dedication to helping our cause.

A Few Words from our Volunteer

I started volunteering for AARCS just a little over a year ago, and it had been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had just put up a website, and another volunteer from AARCS contacted me about possibly photographing some rescue dogs to better their chances of finding a home. I jumped at the chance – my family had to put up with me for a few weeks when that was all I could talk about. The first time I photographed for AARCS was at an adopt-a-thon in Airdrie, and I was very nervous as I had no idea what to expect. After that, I couldn’t imagine not continuing on with them.

Each dog or cat that I meet, each story that I hear about how they got there, just pushes me to keep going. There is nothing more rewarding than helping in the process of giving an animal a second chance at happiness. To this day, I can tell you the names of every single dog and cat I have photographed, as each of them holds a special place in my heart.

On one aarcs session, I was asked to photograph Clarissa von Stetten’s foster dogs. She had told me that there was a parvo puppy in quarantine that also needed photos, and when I met this little puppy I was in love. What did Clarissa say? “Want to foster her?” I don’t think I even thought about it before blurting out yes! Everytime one of the fosters gets adopted, I tell my husband no more – as it was just to hard to let them go. This only lasts about a couple of weeks until I see the next dog that needs a home. We have only fostered a few dogs, but its so rewarding to see the difference love can make in a dogs life. My own dog Daisy, has been the biggest help to me with fostering. She always shows the new dog the ropes. The most amazing dog that I have come across, is my last foster Donemto, aka Kodak. When we picked him up we could barely get him in the kennel, and it was almost impossible to get him out when arriving at our home. I had to keep a leash on him at all times, or I would never be able to get near him. Slowly but surely, he came around. In the five months that we had him, he blossomed into the most loving, goofy, and loyal dog I have known. It brings tears to my eyes, remembering how he was, and where he is now. I never thought that I could foster a dog, but Kodak is now my inspiration to keep going, in helping one at a time.

I have met some of the most amazing people through AARCS, who are such an inspiration to me. I never realized before how much work and dedication goes on behind the scenes, but couldn’t be possible without all of these selfless individuals. I am honored to even be a part of AARCS, and I look forward to many years to come with them.