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AARCS volunteers and staff spent the weekend helping the Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force at their first clinic of the year in Standoff, AB. We are happy to report that 332 spay and neuter surgeries were completed onsite and 43 cats are back in Calgary at AARCS Safe Haven awaiting surgery before going home to their owners. In addition, 59 animals were surrendered and placed in partner rescue groups, including 29 that came into AARCS care. Here is a picture of the AARCS truck after working three 12 hour days in the field rounding up animals for the clinic. Now that’s one dirty truck!
The summer of 2013 came with the worst flooding in Alberta’s history, and AARCS was there to help. Calgary and the surrounding areas of Siksika First Nation and High River were also devastated by the flood waters, with many animals needing rescue. In total AARCS assisted in taking in and housing over 150 animals displaced due to the floods. Further, and above and beyond the direct mandate of our organization, some 20 horses, 4 pigs, a dozen chickens, a turkey, several baby hares, a fawn, and a turtle, were rescued and in some instances transported to sanctuaries.
Our rescue teams stayed in Siksika for 10 full days and made trips back and forth weekly. Teams also spent 12 days in High River assisting by-law with animal rescue in the worst hit areas. We even had to rescue some of our own animals from foster homes that were evacuated. Crews assisted in running a number of herds of horses to higher ground, transporting live stock to accommodating facilities, and arranged for hay and medical supplies to be brought to the area.
Aside from the rescuers on the ground, hundreds of volunteers and supporters rallied behind us working tirelessly to accommodate all the animals in need. Volunteers met rescue crews at 2am to take over managing care of the animals, they and spent hours collecting and sorting donations and screened hundreds of phone calls. Thanks to hundreds of fosters homes who stepped up and took an animal home, we made room for more. Of the hundreds of animals rescued most were returned to families within weeks although some stayed as long as six months. Some however were surrendered to AARCS so that families could concentrate on rebuilding their lives.
Beyond everything they did for the animals, supporters also collected blankets, clothing, and food and brought it to the people affected by the floods. It was an incredible time in Alberta’s history, and one we at AARCS won’t forget anytime soon. The hardship and loss that affected so many was heartbreaking and yet we are happy we were able be there to help.
Today AARCS were recognized by the Alberta Government one of the many Heroes of the Floods. This award is for each and every volunteer and supporter that helped during that difficult time.
We are excited that a number of our awesome board of directors and executive director attended a week long workshop at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah at the end of March as part of their role as leaders of our organization to learn from the one of the best in our industry. They have returned inspired and ready to move forward in our mission and goals with some fantastic new ideas and outlooks that we hope to bring to our local community.
We would like to send a special thanks to these board members and advisors who took the time out of their business schedules, on their own dime, to make this trip to Utah.
We would like to send a special thank you to Four Feet Companion Foundation for providing AARCS with a $4,000 grant in support our TNR (Trap – Neuter – Return) program for cats. Together, we are getting one step closer our mission to end animal homelessness through our spay/neuter initiatives.
AARCS introduces Melissa Zimmerman
What AARCS Has To Say
Melissa started volunteering with AARCS a little over a year ago. In only 13 months, she has managed to dedicate over 375 hours to AARCS. Her time has been spent in a variety of volunteer roles, including dog and cat caregiving, a member of our medical team, events volunteer as well as office administration.
For many months, Melissa was a shift leader for both our cat and dog volunteers, providing training and assistance to our new volunteers. Most recently, she has taken of the role of Dog Shelter Coordinator. In this role, Melissa is responsible for ensuring the dogs at the shelter are taken care of appropriately along with managing a team of approximately 250 dog caregivers and shift leaders.
We always have so much fun when she is around and you will never find her without a smile on her face. Melissa’s dedication to AARCS and to the animals shines through in every thing she does. Thank you Melissa for all you do!! We look forward to working with you for long time to come!
A Few Words From Melissa
I started volunteering with AARCS in January 2013. I got involved through my sister Tami, who is the Dog Adoption Coordinator at AARCS. I have always had a love for animals and growing up we always had dogs.
To this day I am still in awe of the work AARCS does. I’m inspired daily by the staff, volunteers and the animals themselves. There have been some unfortunate cases come through AARCS and it always amazes me how resilient animals are and all they ask for in return is love, which I’m happy to give. I’m so grateful that I get to be a part of their life and their story.
I love volunteering at AARCS. It is so rewarding on many different levels. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to be a part of different areas within AARCS and I’ve learned so much over the last year. The added benefit is I get to work alongside many great volunteers who share the same passion. It is the greatest therapy anyone could ask for.
I look forward to my continued growth and learnings with AARCS…and also more animal cuddles.