Heather_votm (3)

Featured Volunteer: Heather Molyneaux

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AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Heather Molyneaux

A word from Heather:

 I have always loved animals. When I left my full time job I began searching for a volunteer position and I knew that I wanted to help rescue dogs. I have been volunteering at AARCS as a Dog Caregiver for 3 years and have loved every minute of it. It’s so rewarding to know that together we are helping so many dogs find a better life. It is also very easy to volunteer for an organization that cares so much about the welfare of each and every animal that comes into the system. The Staff and Volunteers at AARCS are amazing and I am so happy to be part of the team.

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

Our caregivers work tirelessly everyday to ensure top notch care for the dogs staying here at Safe Haven. Heather has been an important part of our Dog Caregiver team for over three years now. In those three years, she has been a part of training hundreds of our new caregivers and has had a hand in caring for thousands of dogs who have come through our shelter doors.No mater how dirty the job, Heather is always willing to step up and help out. She will come in on a whim if a shift is short, even if she has already been in for three shifts that week. Her passion for the animals and dedication to the organization is evident in everything she does. We are so lucky to have her as a part of the AARCS family! Thank you Heather!
Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager



Featured Volunteer: Erin McIlquham

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Photos courtesy of Jane Elizabeth Carter Photography

AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Erin McIlquham

A word from Erin:

Ever since I can remember I have been surrounded by animals, growing up in 4-H we had dogs, cats, horses, sheep, rabbits you name it.  So, after moving to Calgary 5 1/2 years ago, I knew it was inevitable that I would eventually get a dog of my own. Finally in 2014, I was in a position to start looking for a puppy which led me to AARCS. We adopted our dog Duke (AARCS name Zuko) in September 2014 and they were such a great organization to deal with that I knew I wanted to get involved.
I took over the Dog Website Coordinator position last summer and have thoroughly enjoyed being able to see the dogs go from intake at the shelter, through to adoption.  The progress updates from foster homes that I receive for the website are the best. So many dogs are sick, injured, and scared when they come in to the shelter, and being able to see and hear first-hand the progress they are making in their foster homes is heartwarming. It’s great to get that notification that a dog has been adopted, and knowing that I had a small part in getting them to their forever home makes me incredibly happy. Thank you AARCS for giving me this opportunity!

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

Ever wonder who keeps our website looking fabulous and adoptable dogs up-to-date? Our Volunteer of the Month, Erin, is a part of that incredible team!
For a few years now, Erin has been involved with AARCS, but her largest role in the organization came last summer! Over the past year, we have been so fortunate to have Erin working on our website. She is an instrumental part in ensure the dog profiles are kept current and up to date. Erin is efficient and makes quick work of the daily changes we often see on our dog profiles. Always happy and eager to help where she can, Erin is amazing to work with.
Thank you Erin for all you do for the animals AARCS cares for! Your time and dedication has not gone unnoticed and we appreciate all of your hard work!
Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager



Featured Volunteer: Shannon Cunningham

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AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Shannon Cunningham

A word from Shannon:

I started volunteering with AARCS just a little over 3 years ago. I can’t begin to explain how much joy I get from volunteering with this outstanding organization and surrounding myself with such incredible caring people. I had no idea that volunteering with AARCS would make such an impact on my life. I love doing my Dog Caregiver shifts at the shelter, training new volunteers and within the last year, I have also taken on the role as an Adoption Follow Up Coordinator. Between walking dogs, cleaning the messiest poopiest dog runs you can imagine, to giving warm compresses to a dog that has been quilled, and just wants to rest their head on your lap, to sitting with a scared dog and reassuring them that that it’s all gonna be ok, to cleaning some pretty stinky dog crates, and then getting mauled by a litter of puppies who give the sloppiest puppy kisses ever, to sharing my shelter knowledge and passion with new volunteers, to getting the most amazing updates on our adopted dogs. Every moment of it is very special to me. I love seeing the journey these dogs make, from the day they come through the shelter, then go to our incredible foster homes, to getting adopted. It’s so rewarding to receive the most touching updates about the dogs happy new life and that they have now found their “happily ever after”. It gives me a great feeling knowing that the small things I do truly matter to a dog and make a difference within the organization.
For animal lovers like me, animal rescue is the most incredible gratifying volunteer position I could have gotten involved in. It has been a great privilege to be part of the AARCS family. Seeing the devotion and selflessness that my fellow volunteers show each and every day and all the people who work tirelessly for the animals really warms my heart.
I believe whole heartedly in the mission of AARCS. “Changing Lives Through Kindness”. It’s so simple yet it can make such a difference in an animal’s life or a person you may not even know.
~ Be kind always…. Shannon =)

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

Our Volunteer of the Month for June is someone who we have been fortunate enough to get to know over the past three years. Shannon, has truly been a blessing to our AARCS Family!
Every week we get to see her here in the shelter working with the dogs sleeping over at Safe Haven. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm are evident when you get the chance to see her teaching a new volunteer the ropes! As some of you may know, AARCS follows up with every adoption. We have a huge team of very dedicated volunteers who send hundreds of emails every month! In addition to spending hours at the shelter every week, Shannon also participates in conducting these monthly follow ups!
Thank you Shannon for the years your have spent with us – we look forward to many more.
Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager


AARCS Donations

Fort McMurray Evacuee Pet Supply Pick-up at AARCS​ – May 15

Pet Supplies in Calgary

Thanks to the overwhelming support of donations from Calgarians, AARCS has pet supplies to give away to Fort McMurray Evacuees with pets. WE ARE OPENING OUR DOORS ON SUNDAY MAY 15TH FROM 12 PM – 4 PM FOR DONATION PICK UP AT OUR SAFE HAVEN SHELTER (Bay G, 3851 21 Street NE, Calgary). We have everything including kibble, beds, crates, toys, leashes, collars, cat litter, litter boxes and more!

If you are unable to pick up the items yourself, please email kim@aarcs.ca as we have volunteers who have offered to do deliveries if needed.

AARCS has pet supplies for Fort McMurray Evacuees in EDMONTON!
Stop by anytime from 10 am – 6 pm at 14422-118 Ave in Edmonton.

AARCS Donations


Featured Volunteer: Janice Leask

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AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Janice Leask

A word from Janice:

I became involved about 7 years ago with various rescue’s and AARCS being one of them. My Love for animals has since brought me joy, laughter and tears through the years. I have 6 cats and 2 dogs whom I have since adopted into my family, some with medical issue’s and old age but could not imagine life without them.
I  behind the scenes search for animals who have lost their way in the city and country,  am part of  a great team  trapping feral cats throughout Alberta for a spay neuter and release program , fostering countless cats and dogs, rearing mama cats and kittens, bottle-feeding orphan kittens, picking up donations, rescuing cats from under decks and bushes and dogs running through traffic. Volunteering at ASNTF clinics when I can , transporting injured animals to veterinarians, and coordinating with other rescues.  I also manage, 25 plus  volunteers, and organizes a off site  shelter for AARCS cats which at times can house up to 40 plus cats.
My focus has and always will be the animals whenever and wherever I can make a difference in their lives. A quote from a friend “Her boundless energy, fierce commitment, hard work, and indomitable spirit are truly awe-inspiring. A true ambassador for an awe-inspiring organization”

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

Janice has been apart of the AARCS for several years and we have been so fortunate to have her as part of the family. As a longstanding volunteer of AARCS and the Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force, she was the easy choice to facilitate the cats being fostered at the ASNTF office. Janice oversees the care and volunteer coverage to care for these cats. Countless hours are spent both at the office and driving many of these cats to and from vet appointments. Janice has also cared for HUNDREDS of cats over the years as fosters in her own home. Moms and babies, bottle feds, pregnant moms, medical cats – you name it, she has done it! Janice is an incredible resource and wealth of knowledge to many of those foster homes, who may just be starting out or have taken on their first pregnant mom!We can not thank Janice enough for all of her hard work and dedication to the cats we are for!

Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager


VOTM - Mary Baker

Featured Volunteer: Mary Baker

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AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Mary Baker

A word from Mary:

I am honoured to be chosen as AARCS’ volunteer of the month. I am so very proud to be part of the wonderful AARCS family. My love of animals began – when I was born! I have always loved animals. I believe whole heartedly that all our animal friends deserve to be treated with love, care, respect, and compassion.

When I retired from teaching in 2014, I knew I wanted to contribute to our community in some kind of volunteer capacity. AARCS is my choice because I see how much this amazing organization cares about the welfare of animals and does everything it can not only to help animals, but educate people.

My work with the AARCS Education team is extremely rewarding. I experience firsthand the impact community outreach has on spreading the message of “changing lives through kindness”. I also love my shifts at the cat shelter, and I am currently fostering a sweet little kitty who is recovering from dental surgery. Every life that is saved brings me joy.

Thank you, AARCS, for making a difference and giving me the opportunity to make a difference, too!

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

We are pleased to announce our Volunteer of the Month, for the Month of March, Introducing Mary! Mary had been a part of the AARCS team since 2014, and has been active in many different areas, primarily participating in Education events and as part of our Cat Caregiver team.
As an experienced Cat Caregiver, Mary plays a huge part not only in the care of the cats while on shift, but also helps in the development and training of new volunteers!
In addition to that, Mary has been an amazing asset to our Education and Outreach Program. This program is is essential to delivering the message to youth on the importance of caring for animals!
We would like to thank Mary for all the time she has invested into the organization and the animals we care for! Thank you Mary!
Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager


Featured Volunteer: Kim McLeish

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AARCS Featured Volunteer: Kim McLeish, Cat Foster Home Coordinator

Over the course of the past 15 years or so, I have been involved with a few different rescue groups, in many different roles.  But they were more of the “grass roots” variety, with a small number of animals and essentially one or two people doing almost everything.  When I joined AARCS, at first I felt very much like a country girl coming to the big city for the first time.  Everything was so structured and organized, with just an astonishing number of volunteers – not to mention an actual shelter that could house incoming animals!  Amazing!
When I first came to the cat program, we had about 100 cats at any given time.  In the two years I have been here, I have proudly watched the cat program blossom into a force to be reckoned with, now often accommodating up to 400 cats at a time!   Sometimes I sit back and just shake my head in wonder at everything we have all achieved together.   I am so glad to have this fulfilling role, which is such a huge part of my life.  My world has been graced simply by knowing and caring for so many of these incredible animals and my heart has been so enriched by meeting so many caring, heartwarming people here!






Featured Volunteer: Jean Ellis

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AARCS Featured Volunteer: Jean Ellis

After working for more years than I care to mention, I knew when I retired I’d have to do something to keep myself busy. Volunteering has always been a part of my life, both through organizing and participating in fundraising events, so I knew this was something I definitely wanted the pursue further in my retirement.  One of the best things I did was contact AARCS to see how I could help the organization through volunteering. Having two cats of my own, I knew the role of cat care volunteer was custom made for me.  I’ve met so many wonderful people since joining the AARCS family and the people I’ve worked with during my regular Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning shifts has been named the “dream team” by one of the volunteers and she actually named a litter of kittens after us. I have a special place in my heart for the Safe Haven cats and have to admit there are a few that have really tugged at my heart strings. I can’t bring them all home, but I enjoy giving them as much love as possible during my brief time with them at the shelter.

Volunteering at AARCS has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. To see so many cats leave Safe Haven for loving homes is amazing and I’m living in a constant state of “warm fuzzies”.

Jean Volunteer 2



Featured Volunteer: Karen Middleton

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AARCS Featured Volunteer: Karen Middleton, Cat Shelter Coordinator

In the Fall of 2013 I was feeling the need to start volunteering in animal rescue again, after taking a long hiatus from volunteering of any kind.  I had been heavily involved with another great local rescue group for several years and really missed it.  I had heard great things about AARCS (all true!!) and Safe Haven is close to my house so I decided to give it a try – the rest is history!
In my previous rescue days I was focused solely on dogs, so this time I wanted to devote myself to working with cats.  I have five cats of my own and love them dearly, so it’s been a real pleasure to care for cats of all ages, shapes and sizes.  Last Fall I started fostering cats with minor medical issues (mostly those recovering from Upper Respiratory Virus) and we adopted our first foster, Minx.
I find my time at AARCS is a great balance to my career as a petroleum landman – it gets me out of the office and allows me to put my leadership and organizational skills to good use in a way that gives something back to the community.  I have met many wonderful people during my time at AARCS and made some great new friends.  Rescue people are the most devoted, committed group of individuals I’ve had the honour to work with!
Through my association with AARCS I began volunteering with the Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force and was privileged to work at several clinics last year and at a few this year so far.  It’s hard work but extremely rewarding and AARCS is a big part of the clinics’ successes.
My husband Wayne, while not an “official” cat caregiver, enjoys volunteering at the shelter when his busy work schedule permits so it’s something that we can do together – kind of a middle-aged couple’s version of Date Night!
I look forward to being a part of AARCS’s growth as an organization and can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!


Karen Middleton - VOM August





Featured Volunteer: Anna Thompson

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AARCS introduces Anna Thompson

What AARCS Has To Say

This beautiful soul, is Anna. For those of you who have had the opportunity to meet her, you know that Anna has a heart of gold. For MANY years, Anna has dedicated her life to AARCS and the furry ones we save, not only as a valued and integral part of the Rescue Team, but also as a board member. Over the years, Anna has put tens of thousands of kilometres in rescuing animals, often accompanied by her mom, Vi, who you may have seen on the AARCS Facebook Page.
In addition to her already busy schedule on the road, Anna has been the AARCS Treasurer for many years. Board Meetings, endless amount of paperwork, bills and everything in between, Anna handled it! While she has recently stepped away from that role, we can not thank her enough for the endless hours she invested.
Words can simply not express how much we LOVE Anna. She is always such a joy to have around and chat with! Anna, thank you so much for everything you have done for AARCS and the animals! We love you!!!