Assistance Programs


AARCS mission for the Pet Food Assistance Program is to ensure all dogs and cats are receiving basic food needs for a healthy, sustainable life.

AARCS distributes several hundred thousand pounds of pet food each and every year. This number is constantly growing as we grow as an organization. First, we need to provide food to our 250+ foster homes for all of the foster animals they care for until they move on to their forever homes.

AARCS Pet Food Assistance Program has several facets within the organization with regard to food distribution. One area of the program is to provide pet food to the communities where we rescue and to which we provide support in other areas, such as spay and neuter assistance. Part of the Pet Food Program is also for low-income families or families that have found themselves in difficult times.

In order for AARCS to receive the amount of food necessary to sustain our Pet Food Assistance Program and feed all these animals, we receive donations from pet stores, pet food distributors as well the general public. We even take all open bags, so remember you can donate that bag of food your pet didn’t like or when you need to change brands.

Our Pet Food Program works in conjunction with our Humane Education Program as well as our Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP). To be eligible for our Pet Food Assistance Program is that ALL ANIMALS in the home MUST BE spayed and or neutered. Additionally, to ensure we are able to help as many families as possible, each home may apply to receive assistance, a maximum of four times in a 12 month period.

Pet Food Assistance Request


AARCS is an animal welfare agency who believes in compassion and kindness. During the COVID19 crisis we understand that some members of the community will need assistance with their pets. Our goal is to ensure that pets remain in their homes and are making available emergency foster care and pet supply assistance to help our most vulnerable community members. We will try, within the organization’s capacity and ability, to assist our community during this time. Each person’s situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Before requesting assistance please ensure that you have exhausted all other avenues including friends, family, neighbours available to you during this time. Capacity and funding for this program are very limited.
It’s important to note that this program required a referral.

  • Homeless and moving into an emergency, temporary housing facility that does not allow pets (requires written (email) referral from social worker, health authority or housing organization)
  • COVID19 positive and going into hospital and do not have friends or family to care for animals (with referral)
  • COVID19 positive staying at home, but caregivers cannot take care of my animals (allergies)
  • I’m am low income and in need of pet supplies
  • Cats, dogs, and some small animals (ie rabbits, hamsters)
  • We do not have the ability to assist with ferrets, reptiles, birds, insects, or livestock but will do our best to refer to other organizations who may be able to assist


    We are not accepting any walk-ins to the shelter and the building is locked. PLEASE DO NOT SHOW UP AT OUR SHELTER AS YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY.


    AARCS Dog House Program helps provide animals living outside with insulated, durable, year-round shelter.  Throughout the years, AARCS has delivered approximately 200 dog houses to animals without adequate protection from the elements.

    Many of the animals helped through our Dog House Program have little or nothing to protect them from harsh weather.  They have nothing to keep them safe and dry during rainstorms, frigid temperatures, howling winds and Alberta’s long winter.  Our dog houses are built so the floor remains dry during even the wettest weather.  They are insulated and are delivered filled with straw and / or wool blankets.

    To help AARCS continue their efforts to keep dogs warm and continue the AARCS Dog House Program we need your help.  Please consider making monetary donations, donations of building supplies or by volunteering your time to help build the dog houses.


    Surrendering an animal should be the last resort for any pet guardian. Here are some recommendations prior to surrendering your animal to a rescue or humane society.

    • Behavioural issues –get advice from a trainer and have a health exam done by your veterinarian. Many behavioural issues (such as peeing outside the litter box) are often undiagnosed medical issues.
    • Housing – find pet friendly housing can be difficult, but there are options available.
    • Financial – if you are not able to afford medical treatments, spay/neuter or food please consider pet insurance, ask about payment plans or apply for assistance through the following
      • ABVMA Assistance Program
      • Medical Assistance Programs such as Tails of Help or Petcard.
      • Food Bank
      • Meow Foundations SNIP Program
      • City of Calgary No-Cost Spay Neuter

    AARCS mandate is to rescue stray and abandoned animals where animal services are limited.  In some circumstances we will accept surrendered animals, but there is no guarantee we will take them and you may be put on a waitlist until space becomes available.

    • If you purchased your pet from a breeder, your first contact should be to them to see if they will take them back. A responsible breeder will assist you with any issue or help with re-homing of your pet.
    • Ask friends or family to help
    • Advertise in newspaper, online, at local stores, but be responsible and ensure your pet is spay or neutered prior to rehoming him/her and screen potential families thoroughly.

    Should AARCS be in a position to accept your pet, a surrender fee between $50-$100 is required. This fee helps us cover the costs of medical treatments, spay/neuter and housing and caring for your pet.

    To inquire about surrendering a pet to AARCS please submit a request a surrender below:

    Dogs – Dog Surrender Contact

    Cats – Cat Surrender Request Form

    1. Help end the cycle of pet homelessness and prevent an unwanted litter – a donation of $200 will pay for one dog to be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and de-wormed.  Your donation will prevent the birth of endless numbers of unwanted litters.
    2. Never buy a dog from a pet store, this only promotes irresponsible breeding and often supports puppy mills. Adopt – Don’t Shop! AARCS fully supports the efforts of Albertans Against Puppy Mills to end the sale of live animals in pet stores in Calgary.
    3. Spay/Neuter ALL of your animals and encourage everyone you know to do the same!

    Give a Donation to AARCS

    AARCS is a non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of the public to help cover the costs of all 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 costs, but to further develop our programs and initiatives.

    *Donations of $20.00 or more are eligible for a tax receipt.