Changing Lives Through Kindness
The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) is a grassroots animal welfare organization with a foundation of compassion and kindness, embodied by its hard-working staff, volunteers, foster homes and supporters. Our goal is to help homeless animals in communities across Alberta and provide community support programs to address the root causes of animal overpopulation and homelessness. Our vision is that together we can enact societal change so that someday we may all witness a Compassionate World for All Animals.
Changing Lives Through Kindness
The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) is a grassroots animal welfare with a foundation of compassion and kindness, embodied by its hard-working staff, volunteers, foster homes and supporters. Our goal is to help homeless animals in communities across Alberta and provide community support programs to address the root causes of animal overpopulation and homelessness. Our vision is that together we can enact societal change so that someday we may all witness a Compassionate World for All Animals.
AARCS is dedicated to honouring Indigenous history and culture and committed to working together in the spirit of friendship, cultivating authentic and respectful relationships with all First Nations.
We acknowledge that AARCS Safe Haven and Veterinary Hospital is located on traditional territories of the Niitsítapi (Blackfoot) and the peoples of Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksiká, Piikáni, Tsúūt’ínà and Stoney Nakoda First Nations (Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley) and that Calgary is home to Métis Nation of Alberta District III. We also acknowledge that AARCS North Haven is located on the Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place, travelling route and home for many Indigenous People including the Nehiyawak/Cree, Tsúût’ina Niitsitapi/Blackfoot Nakota Sioux, Haudenoaunee/Iroquois, Dene Suliñe, Anishinaabe/Ojibway/Salteaux and the Inuk/Inuit.
Compassion is at the core of all our interactions with animals and people. We seek to be open-minded, inclusive and non-judgemental, respecting others in all we do. Compassion forms the foundation of our commitment to public service, meaningful work and our responsibility to help make our communities better places for all to live.
We believe our communities are best served by organizations that work together to make a difference. We believe in cooperation and helping others to achieve a world of kindness for animals and people. We seek to build relationships and networks that help communities address animal welfare.
We are committed to ethical practices, fiscal responsibility and transparency that builds trust in our organization and our people. We strive for, and ask for, honesty in our work in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
We learn from every situation and the people and organizations with which we interact. We contribute to knowledge-building in the animal welfare sector. Together we can meet the needs of animals, individuals and communities.
We are committed to strong stewardship of our resources and to leadership in the area of animal welfare. We believe that the world will be a better place when all creatures are treated with kindness and compassion.
In addition to rescuing animals, AARCS provides numerous community support programs to improve animal welfare in Alberta. This includes facilitating a Pet Food Bank, Spay/Neuter Assistance, TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and Animal Disaster Response. By getting to the root causes of animal homelessness, we can help people and pets in our community live better.
The organization is supported by over 2,000 volunteers and foster parents across Alberta. We pride ourselves as a place where everyone is welcome — a place where individuals, families and businesses can come together to volunteer and give back in an area that is important to them. Whether that be as a caregiver in the shelter, as a foster family, a transport driver or part of our events team, there is something for every animal lover.
AARCS and the people who make up this amazing organization are making a difference every day in the lives of homeless animals, and there really is no greater feeling in the world than to save a life.
A Compassionate World for All Animals
AARCS is a leader in the animal welfare community and Albertans turn to us for help. Over 4,000 animals come through AARCS programs each year. We have an exceptional veterinary medical program coordinated from our in-house veterinary hospital located at AARCS Safe Haven shelter in Calgary. Having a veterinary hospital onsite has given AARCS the ability to help the animals in most dire need of medical attention with onsite surgical suites and the ability to provide life-saving treatment. In addition, we operate an intake shelter and adoption centre in Edmonton. Both facilities are vital to the animal welfare landscape in Alberta. Unlike a traditional shelter, AARCS utilizes a vast network of foster homes across the province allowing us to care for 500 animals on average at any given time throughout the year.
Every day AARCS receives calls about animals in need of
The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta with a second facility and adoption centre in Edmonton, Alberta. We are a federally registered charity run by a volunteer board of directors and incorporated as a society in the province of Alberta.
AARCS was founded in 2006 and is comprised of a network of individuals and families concerned about the welfare of abandoned, abused and re-homed animals in the province of Alberta. Our volunteers range in age from young children to seniors and are all animals lovers who are looking to make a difference.
AARCS initially started with our Rescue, Rehabilitate and Re-home Program. This program entails rescuing animals and placing them in the safety of our foster home network while awaiting suitable placement in permanent adoptive homes. These animals are provided all the necessary veterinary care as well as food, rehabilitation, training, kindness and support.
We further expanded operations to include additional programs, including Spay/Neuter & Disease Prevention Initiative, Trap-Neuter-Return and Animal Disaster Response.
In 2012, AARCS opened our first shelter in Northeast Calgary, which was designed to provide temporary housing, emergency shelter, and quarantine for newly rescued animals. It also provided us with office and meeting space, as well as supply storage.
We soon outgrew our space and in 2016 our veterinary bills exceed $1 million. Therefore in 2017, we renovated and moved to a new (to us) 13,000 sq foot facility in SE Calgary. This doubled our capacity for dog and cat holding, and we outfitted a brand new onsite veterinary hospital designed specifically to help homeless animals. The hospital has two operating suites, one dental suite, including dental X-ray, digital full-body X-ray, incubator, isolation ward and pharmacy. We have on staff four veterinarians, four Registered Veterinary Technologists and two Tech Assistants. We are grateful to the many veterinarians and technologists who also volunteer their time at the facility. Since opening we have also become an accredited teaching facility and welcome student vets, tech and T.A.’s. We have partnered with the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to provide rotations so numerous students can get hands-on learning.
AARCS firmly believes that improving the lives of animals, educating the public about animal care and promoting spay and neutering leads to a happier and healthier society. The communities where AARCS focuses its efforts generally have very limited animal services — sometimes hundreds of kilometres from the nearest veterinary clinic or animal shelter. We collaborate with communities to regain control of their animal population and provide support for struggling families. These initiatives including the facilitation of free pet food, transfer of guardianship services and free spay/neuters and wellness exam.
In 2020, after lengthy strategic planning sessions, AARCS expanded operations to include an additional intake facility in Edmonton Alberta. This 10,000 square foot shelter we named North Haven houses 45 adoption spaces for cats and small animals, plus additional dog and cat housing for newly rescued animals, an isolation ward, office and meeting space as well as storage for food and supplies. With our teams working in remote northern communities, this facility is vital to ensuring once-homeless animals have a temporary place to stay once rescued, and has allowed us to expand our programing.
As a member of the Humane Canada (formally Canadian Federation of Humane Societies), AARCS supports professional standards in the animal welfare industry and collaboration between agencies so that together we can prevent the suffering and cruelty to animals and instill empathy, compassion and appreciation for all living things. Our volunteers are out-and-about in the community regularly, whether it is assisting at spay and neuter clinics, rescuing animals, hosting adopt-a-thons to showcase our adoptable animals, fundraising to support our programs, or visiting with the public at local festivals.
As a registered non-profit, donations are tax-deductible. We are not government funded and rely on the public’s generosity to continue to do this vital work. In 2021 and 2022 we were assessed by Charity Intelligence and received the honoured Top 100 Charities in Canada!
You too can help by partnering with us in our life-saving work so that one day soon we will achieve a Compassionate World for All Animals. Check out our How You Can Contribute page or make a donation today!