Brandi’s Story

You think after 10+ years involved in animal rescue you would start seeing each animal as a number, dog number 50, cat number 385, the brown and black dog or the long haired orange cat. This however is not the case, each animal has its story, has its past and has a name.

Brandi has a story. I might not know the beginning of her life story but I know the second part of her story, the part where she was given an opportunity to be happy and treated with kindness and love. She is a dog that will always have a place in my heart. When you meet her, Im sure she will leave the same imprint in your heart she has mine.
I was driving the country side roads returning a truck load full of dogs during a spay and neuter clinic to their various guardians when Brandi crossed my path. I saw her in a field, walking slowly with her belly extended. I knew she was old, but why was her belly so large? I figured she was either pregnant or had a severe uterine infection.
After getting her surrendered due to her body condition, we loaded her up in our vehicle and drove her to Calgary where she would be assessed by one of our vets. It was determined quickly she has a large mass in her abdomen. Likely the size of a small football.
Instinctively the reaction from the veterinarian was to humanely euthanize her, end her life from any future of possible suffering. I don’t blame the veterinarian, in all honesty it is likely what we would have done in some cases like her. Yet for some reason it didn’t feel right. I knew deep down she was not ready to leave. She had life in her , it was clear in simply looking her in the eyes. Sadly I have held many animals who have been put to rest as medical intervention was no longer an option or in the animals best interest. I’ve held numerous animals whose bodies were so weak and ailed that the only kind thing to do was to let them go t. Brandi however was not yet ready. She was not in pain nor did she lose the will to live.
I offered to take her to the park for the day. I figured if today was the day she was going to be put down I wanted her to have at least one day where she got to eat anything and everything. I didn’t want her last day be the stresses of the long drive and an unfamiliar environment, so I loaded up my van with sardines, stinky dog food and cat kibble “dog can resist cat kibble”.
When I arrived at the clinic she came walking out with her tail wagging. I looked at her, she looked at me, and it was immediate that I knew today was not the day to say goodbye to Brandi. She jumped into the back seat of the van and we took off to the park. The entire trip she stood up in the back and sneakily ate the loose kibbles that were hiding in all the floor crevices of my van. When we arrived to the park, she jumped out of the van and began our was together, which ended up as 2 hour power walk.
I cancelled her appointment to be euthanized that afternoon and scheduled it for later in the day. This time it would be where a veterinarian came out to my place where hopefully she would have felt more relaxed. As time went on the more and more I knew I couldn’t go through with it. I called friends, my support group, the ones I call when I need advice. I phoned Deanna and told her she needed to meet me at the park right away. She needed to come meet Brandi and see first hand how amazing this girl is and how she needs to be given a new life in a home where she could be spoiled rotten, with knowing that perhaps it would only be for 1 week, perhaps several months, only time would tell.
Deanna headed over right away, and within moments of seeing the joy in Brandi’s face agreed 100 percent that we needed to hold off and look at other options. We sat the three of us in the van, Brandi between the two of us eating Deanna’s fries while we tried coming up with a plan. Both Deanna and I were leaving town that week or else we would have taken her to either one of our homes. The shelter was full, and we worried about an old girl like herself being in a kennel, as she was likely never confined her entire life.
Kim and Heather from Dawg Tired! That is who we need to call! Deanna dialled their number put them on speaker and explained the situation with Brandi. With only a few words in and without hesitation they agreed to take Brandi on as a permanent foster.
We all sat in the van crying as Kim shed a tear over the phone and Brandi continued to eat her fries. She had no idea what just took place, but both Deanna and I knew she just had won the lottery.
Her life now is extraordinaire. She lives the life any dog would want. She gets to run, snuggle, eat raw food and ride shotgun in Heather’s truck everyday. We know she will be loved every remaining day of her life. It might be one week, it may be 3 months, but for Brandi it is time for her to live.
I am forever grateful to AARCS for taking Brandi under their wing and of course Heather and Kim for giving Brandi such a wonderful life. Brandi you amaze me in the joy you bring to those who meet you. Thank you for coming into my life and thank you for reminding me why is it so important for groups like AARCS to continue the work they do.
RJ Bailot




Feline Adoption Fees Waived For June 2014


AARCS had so much success at our Caturday adoption event last weekend that we’ve decided to waive adoption fees for cats over 6 months old for the remainder of the month!  For the rest of June, you can adopt any of our loveable juvenile or adult kitties for a minimum donation of $25!   Please help spread the word!

AARCS - Cat Poker



Featured Volunteer: Heather Belsher

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers

AARCS introduces Heather Belsher

What AARCS Has To Say

AARCS would like introduce you all to Heather Belsher, this month’s featured volunteer!

If you ever have the chance to meet Heather, she is truly one of the most wonderful people out there. She is always ready for a challenge and truly dedicated to the animals.

Heather plays a very integral role at AARCS. Initially starting out as an event volunteer about 2 years ago, she quickly became one of our go-to people if we were in a bind. Heather always stepped up and helped out where she could. Last year when the role of the Events Coordinator became open, Heather quickly threw her name in the hat.

Over the last year, Heather has helped out tremendously and has significantly increased the impact of AARCS events.

Thank you Heather for being amazing!



Best of Calgary 2014

AARCS voted as Top 3 Local Non Profits!

For the last seventeen years, Fast Forward Weekly has conducted a readers poll on the Best of Calgary. This year AARCS placed in the top three for best local non profits, along with Youth Central and The Mustard Seed. Check out the rest of the list here.


We have Blinds!!

A huge shout out to Andrea Sinclair and Tammy Pfiefer for the purchase and installation of new blinds for our new Bay! It was getting awfully hot in there and the cats will be much more comfortable now! As well, they installed the remaining laminate flooring in the upstairs area leading to the cat room. Thank you so much! We love our volunteers!




We have TILE!

A big thank you to David and Lucas from City Tile for donating 250 sq. feet of tile for our new cat space, and to Tara Lachance and Trevor Moore for spending their weekend installing it for us!!








June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month and AARCS is celebrating by hosting a cat adoption event on Saturday June 14th from 11am-2pm. Come on down to Bay F, 3851 21 Street NE and pick the ‘Purrfect’ feline to complete your family! All cats over 6 months of age are available for adoption with only a minimum $25 donation.






AARCS’ Hero Monthly Giving Program

Pup - Be my hero slider

Become an AARCS Hero

through our Monthly Giving Program!

Your donation will go straight to helping the thousands of animals going through our shelter, rescue missions, adoption programs, and outreach programs. AARCS is a non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of the public to help cover the costs of our expenses, the majority being veterinary care for our animals. While we have the manpower, drive and ambition, financial support is essential to cultivate and maintain not only the basic services, but to further develop our programs and initiatives.

Give the Gift that keeps on Giving by Becoming a Monthly Donor:
Sign up for any monthly amount, $20, $50, $100 directly from your bank account or credit card.  It may not seem like a lot, but this reliable and steady monthly donation helps maintain our programs and ultimately help more animals.

It’s easy to donate and make every dollar count! A tax receipt and thank you card will be mailed out at the end of each year.