Charitable Choices: Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society

This week, our featured charity is the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, a grassroots animal welfare centre in Calgary.

Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.

Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society is a leader in the animal welfare community that Albertans turn to for help. 3,500 animals come through AARCS programs each year. With an exceptional veterinary medical program coordinated from their 3,000 square foot, in-house veterinary hospital located at AARCS Safe Haven shelter in Calgary they are providing once homeless animals a second chance. In addition to rescuing animals, AARCS provides numerous community support programs to improve animal welfare in Alberta. This includes facilitating a Pet Food Bank, Dog House Program, Spay/Neuter Assistance, TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), Humane Education and Animal Disaster Response.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Every day Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society receive calls about animals in need of help – from broken bones, gunshot wounds, embedded porcupine quills, and mange to deadly diseases such as parvovirus. AARCS strives to ensure that these animals receive the medical care they need, along with a chance to recover in a loving foster home. AARCS Safe Haven shelter and on-site veterinary hospital provides emergency medical care and new beginning for each rescued animal on their journey to forever, adoptive homes. AARCS has 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. Though community support programs, AARCS strives to get to the root causes of animal homelessness by helping people and pets in the community.

When did you start/join it?

AARCS was founded in 2005 and I personally have been involved since 2006. I started as a volunteer and foster parent. Although with our amazing supporters we continued to grow the organization so we could help more animals. In 2010 I quit my job to become Executive Director and have been in this position for the past nine years.

What made you want to get involved?

Although we may not see them on the streets in our towns and cities, but Alberta has a large homeless pet population. I wanted to help save animals so I starting fostering one dog at a time. Since I joined we have rescued over 15,000 animals.

What was the situation like when you started?

Animal homelessness and cruelty against animals impacts not just the animals, but people too. The formidable quest to end animal suffering is compounded by the sheer number of animals in our communities. 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. We collaborate with communities to regain control of their animal population. These initiatives including facilitation of free pet food, free spay/neuters and education programs.

How has it changed since?

The quest to end animal suffering continues. We have seen an increase in people looking to adopt a family pet over purchasing from a breeder and fewer pet stores are selling animals.

What more needs to be done?

We encourage all people looking to add a pet to their family to consider adoption and like Bob Barker always says, “Please spay and neuter your pets.”

How can our readers help?

AARCS is always looking for volunteers and foster homes to join the organization. Our shelter is located in SE calgary and we’re always looking for people to come volunteer to help care for the cats and dogs. Like all non-profits AARCS runs on the generosity of public. Donations are welcome at our shelter or monetary donations can be made online at As a registered charity tax receipts are provided.

Do you have any events coming up?

Our biggest fundraising event of the year is coming up in September. We hope to raise $60,000. We will be locking up members of the public in AARCS dog kennels (fur friends too!) and they will only be released once they have raised the pre-set amount of money to be bailed! The family-fun event will have a street festival, kids area, food trucks, adoptable animals on site and more! Stay tuned! More information can be found on our website.

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