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Vicki_Birch (3)

Featured Volunteer: Vicki Birch

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


Photos courtesy of Debby Herold Photography

 

AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Vicki Birch

A word from Vicki:

I have grown up with and loved animals my entire life. We always had a dog in the house and at one point we had budgies, a hamster and so many fish. I always wanted a cat but my dad wasn’t a fan (funny thing is now his best buddy is a cat), so when I moved out of the house the first thing I did was went out and adopted a cat.

I wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember, unfortunately, my grades did not cooperate with this dream. But I always knew I was meant to do something with animals. Fast forward a few years, and in early 2014 we heard about the Milk River dogs. My boss sent an email to all of the staff saying that anyone that wanted to donate to AARCS to help these poor animals, that she would match their donations. She knew at the time that I couldn’t afford to help financially and suggested I look into volunteering, so I did! I filled out the volunteer application that day and heard back in a couple of days. I had my Dog Orientation at the end of February followed close behind by my Cat Orientation at the beginning of March, and that was it. I was hooked! My mom jokes it’s my own little cult, but I’m ok with that. If this is what a cult is then I guess I’m a very active member.

I have now been with AARCS for almost 4 years in all sorts of capacities including but I’m sure not limited to; Dog Caregiver/Shift Leader, Cat Caregiver/Shift Leader, Events, Education, Training, Transport/SNAP, Pet Store laundry etc. Last year I took on the roll of Cat Shelter Coordinator and am loving the interaction that I have with staff and volunteers in this position. Although technically I’m not supposed to have any more pets in my apartment I also started fostering cats last year. I seem to have a soft spot for the cats I affectionately call the defective kitties. Not that they are in anyway defective, but I seem to take the guys with heart conditions, maybe I can relate having grown up with a heart murmur or maybe it’s just because these guys need the extra love that I have to give them. This has of course proven extremely emotional but so worth every second I get to spend with them.

I have a lot of people tell me they don’t know how I do it, how I can go in and see all the animals in the different states that they come to us. But I just tell them and myself that although it’s very emotional I know that we’re here to get them from the terrible situations they were in to the new loving homes they deserved from day 1. It doesn’t mean you don’t go home some days thinking how I can keep doing this, but you just remind yourself of what they came from and where they’re going to. To help them overcome their fears and injuries and go to a loving furever home IS WHY I CONTINUE DOING THIS!!

I like to think that I do this to save the animals because AARCS saved me in a very down time in my life.

So although AARCS says thank you to me for everything I do for the organization, I want to thank AARCS for coming to my rescue when I needed it the most.

 
Thank you
Vicki Birch
AARCS Volunteer

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

We are thrilled to announce our volunteer of the month for November. Meet Vicki Birch.

This coming January, Vicki will be celebrating four years with AARCS. In those four years we have come to know Vicki and she has become a large part of our team, especially part of our ever growing Cat Team! At some point or another, Vicki has been involved with everything from animal care (both cats and dogs), to events and fundraising, to administrative activities and was instrumental in helping us get our new space set up in 2017. She showed up weekend in and weekend out to help out with whatever we were doing. She painted, she helped move furniture and she did it all while sharing that infectious laugh!

Over the years, I’ve watched Vicki and can honestly say she is one of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know. I can’t imagine AARCS without her and we are incredibly fortunate to have her as part of the AARCS family every day! There really are no words to describe what Vicki means to us, and how much we adore her.

Vicki, we truly can not thank you enough for all you do! Thank you for being you, and for saving so many animals over the years!

Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager

 

Kayla Devitt (1)

Featured Volunteer: Kayla Devitt

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


Photos courtesy of Herring Bone Photography

 

AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Kayla Devitt

A word from Kayla:

My road to AARCS is less glamourous then others. In 2016 I was out of work and beginning to feel the toll of countless jobs rejecting me, when I came across the idea of volunteering to help fill the void in my life. Working with rescue animals seemed like an easy fit as there was always a rescue dog in my family growing up. It didn’t take long on the AARCS website for me to realize these were like-minded people. I promptly filled out my application.

I signed up to do my first event, I was a little nervous but after I received the warmest welcome from the other volunteers my jitters completely disappeared. I found myself immersed with talking to people about animals and the great work AARCS does.

When I got home that night I couldn’t stop talking about the animals and the people I had met that day. The rush I got from raising awareness and funds for the wonderful work we do at AARCS was incomparable, I was hooked. Since then I’ve done as many events as I can. The positive atmosphere created by everyone at AARCS is easily the best part of my week.

 

AARCS doesn’t just rescue animals, they rescue people too.

 
Thank you
Kayla Devitt
AARCS Volunteer

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

We are pleased to introduce our Volunteer of the Month for October – Kayla Devitt! We first met Kayla in 2016, and it was no surprise that she was nominated by a fellow volunteer for Volunteer of the Month!

Over the years, Kayla has participated in so many AARCS events and has become a face that many recognize when visiting the AARCS booth! Kayla will gladly take on any task, and has frequently jumped in to help out when needed. On more than one occasion, she has shown up early for her shift, (or stayed well past her scheduled time!) simply to help out and continue raising awareness for AARCS and the homeless animals we help.

Kayla is a joy to have on our team, and we are so grateful for her go-getter attitude and infectious smile! Thank you Kayla for always being there to help, and for your incredible dedication to helping the animals!

Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager

 

Debby

Featured Volunteer: Debby Herold

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


Photos courtesy of The Dog with a Bow Photography

 

AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Debby Herold

A word from Debby:

“I’ve loved all animals my entire life. Rescuing them came early to me when, as a little girl, I’d come home with stray cats and ask my mom, “Can we keep him?” I guess I was convincing because I’ve had cats as pets ever since I was around 10 or 11. We also cared for school animals (guinea pigs, a rabbit, and mice) on weekends and had some pet gerbils. As a child, I wanted to become a veterinarian. That didn’t happen but my love for animals remained. I also developed a lifetime love of photography when my Grade 5 teacher gave our class cheap black and white film cameras and taught us how to develop our photos in a darkroom.

I came upon AARCS a couple of years ago when we were thinking of adopting a second dog. It didn’t pan out, but it planted a seed … I needed to find a meaningful way to help, so in 2017 I emailed Rachel and asked if I could volunteer as a photographer. I was thrilled when she answered yes. Since joining the photography team, we’ve adopted two AARCS cats — Otto and Oliver (formerly Boron and Jumanji). My oldest son and his family have also adopted two AARCS kitties — Aztec and Hugo (formerly Banjo).

 

My work with the photography team has been life-changing and has given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people through AARCS, some of whom I’m fortunate to now call friends. I’m proud to be helping make a difference and changing lives through kindness. I find myself invested in every animal I photograph and my heart is so full being part of a family of volunteers who truly care about them.

I’m humbled and honoured to have been chosen Volunteer of the Month.

 
Thank you
Debby Herold
AARCS Volunteer Photographer

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

Over the past year, we have had the pleasure of getting to know Debby! She has a heart of gold and we have been extremely fortunate that she has shared her love of photography with us.If you peruse through the AARCS website, you will see many photos which Debby has taken for us to showcase some of our amazing adoptable animals. The love and care she shows each one of the animals she photographs is something we admire greatly about Debby. She is always the first to help out in a pinch! One of our fellow volunteers had this to say about her: “She is reliable, dependable, super friendly, accommodating, and of course, mega talented.”

Thank you Debby for the huge part you play in finding so many of these animals forever homes. We truly are grateful for all of your commitment to the animals!

Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager

 

Melissa Brathwaite VOTM

Featured Volunteer: Melissa Brathwaite

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


Photos courtesy of Inga Morozoff Photography

 

AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Melissa Brathwaite

A word from Melissa:

I absolutely love AARCS in every way.  From the moment I first did the orientation I realized there was this feeling of fullness in my heart, a sense of belonging and a feeling of comrodery towards a common goal to save as many lives possible no matter the obstacles.  I am so thankful to be a part of the most amazing group of people I have ever met, who show me daily that we can make such a great difference and there are no limits to what can be achieved.  I never knew before I volunteered and fostered how life changing it could be for us to see these animals blossom into happy healthy successful lives.  I have always loved animals, but now that love and passion makes a difference.  We have been lucky enough as a family to find through fostering for AARCS the most perfect fit of a dog in our home, he helps us with every foster , he helps them to transition and learn in our home.  As well a young cat that brings unending laughter and joy each and every day.  Thank you AARCS for always being the voice of the voiceless and ensuring so many animals have a happily ever after.  Cheers too many more fulfilling years growing with this wonderful organization.
 
Thank you
Melissa B.
AARCS Volunteer and Foster Home

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

We are so grateful to have Melissa as part of the AARCS Family. Over the years, she has been involved in a number of areas, including fostering a number of dogs and cats, being a part of our Cat Caregiver team here in the shelter, and assisting with planning large AARCS fundraising initiatives.
In addition to that, both her and her husband have been incredibly involved in assisting us with the completion of our new building. They have both spent countless hours putting their professional painting skills to use (which we are incredibly thankful for as green paint is very unforgiving!).
Melissa, thank you so much for always keeping a smile on your face and for staying positive, even when the situation is less than ideal. Thank you for all of the love you have shown to each and every animal who has crossed your path.
Keep up the great work!
Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager

 

Featured Volunteer: Jordyn Troyer

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


Photos courtesy of K:10 Photography

 

AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Jordyn Troyer

A word from Jordyn:

I joined AARCS about 4 years ago to work with cats and dogs as a caregiver. Since then I have had the opportunity to work in other areas such as adopted animal follow ups and event planning. Most recently, I have taken on the role of Cat Caregiver Training Coordinator and have had the opportunity to help design and implement protocols on how volunteers care for and handle shelter cats.
Volunteering with AARCS inspires me to live by the mantra “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” When life feels overwhelmingly negative, I remember that I am surrounded by a group of volunteers at AARCS who truly care; together, we change lives through kindness.
Jordyn Troyer
AARCS Volunteer

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

Jordyn has been with us for almost four years. Over those four years she has been involved in a number of areas throughout the organization. Jordyn started off as a Cat and Dog Caregiver, and volunteering at events. Over the years, her role has evolved and she now currently oversees the training for all of our new Cat Caregivers! In addition to that, she also sits on our events committee assisting with planning our large fundraising events.
We are so fortunate to have Jordyn as part of the team. She is dedicated to each and every animal in AARCS care! Thank you Jordyn for all of the passion and dedication you bring to the AARCS family!
Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager

 

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Featured Volunteer: Jane Carter

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


 

AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Jane Carter

A word from Jane:

I have loved animals, all animals my entire life! I grew up with a dog, then adopted my first fur baby once living out on my own. It’s been multiple fur babies ever since!

Now that my two daughters are out living in the world, they have also adopted their own fur babies. When our family is together, it can be hectic as there are 7 canines running around the house, of various sizes! (the feline fur baby is at home at my eldest’s house)

Since photography is a passion of mine, I took courses at U. of Calgary, and MRU. Once completed, I started up a home photography business. Volunteering at AARCS, as one of their photographers (and there are so many awesome ones!) was one of the first decisions I made! A few of the family fur babies were adopted through AARCS, so I knew of the great work they did, what they stood for, and their benefit and commitment to the Calgary and Area communities. I wanted to be a part of that, in whatever small way I was able.

I am honored and proud, to be a volunteer of AARCS.

Jane Carter
AARCS Volunteer Photographer

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

For the last two years, we have been so fortunate to have Jane as part of our amazing team of photographers!
You will often find Jane at Safe Haven, typically once a week, to photograph the cats who are currently being housed here in the shelter. Jane has also traveled out to many foster homes to get the perfect snapshots to help the adoptable animals put their best paw forward!
If you get the chance to see her working with the animals, her passion and dedication are hard to ignore. Thank you Jane for sharing your talent with AARCS and helping so many animals find their adoptive homes!
Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager

 

Heather_votm (3)

Featured Volunteer: Heather Molyneaux

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


 

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

 

ErinDSC_9355

Featured Volunteer: Erin McIlquham

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers


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