Animal Rescue Foundation of Alberta (ARF)
Our Story Why We Exist
It started in 1992, when Calgary chiropractor Dr. Laurie Flavin saw a need, and began placing stray and abandoned dogs from Calgary Animal Services into suitable homes. By 1994, she was known as the “Dog Lady.” After being approached by the Animal Control Officer of the Siksika Nation, Laurie became aware of the huge dog and cat over-population problem in Alberta’s First Nations communities and decided to take on the enormous task of rescuing those dogs and cats and finding homes for them.
Once she started, it became apparent that one person alone could not handle the influx of dogs and cats, so Laurie, along with the help of two friends, decided to form a charitable organization and in July 1995, the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) of Alberta was formed.
A volunteer's story...
First, I would like to thank you for the amazing experience of being a foster home. It is by far the most rewarding volunteer opportunity that I’ve had.
It isn’t always easy, but being able to be such a big part of finding a dog their forever home is more than worth it. We have been fostering with ARF for almost two years now and we’ve helped about 20 dogs and puppies on their way to their forever homes.
But of course the biggest thing we are thankful for is that without ARF we never would have met our two amazing dogs Echo (husky) and Bailey. Echo started out with us as a foster and he struggled with separation anxiety and reactivity towards other dogs. I am happy to report that with a huge amount of support from ARF, working with Dogma Training and a lot of perseverance and patience Echo is now a perfect gentleman out on walks and is more than content hanging out at home alone.
Bailey came to us at about six weeks old when we decided to try our hand at being a holding home for puppies until they are old enough to go to individual foster homes. Unfortunately, our stone cold hearts were no match for her wrinkly face or puppy antics and we formally adopted her as soon as she was eight weeks old. She has been the perfect puppy (knock on wood) and she continues to impress us every day. Together with our cat they make a great team showing our foster dogs the ropes and helping them to gain confidence.
Thank you ARF for everything you do and continue to do. We look forward to many more years fostering and volunteering with ARF.
- Chloe, Braden, Echo, Bailey and Atticus (The Cat)
Our Impact What We Do
Founded in 1995, ARF's mission is to rescue stray and unwanted dogs and cats from First Nations and rural areas and place them in loving, permanent homes while providing programs to reduce pet over-population. ARF is one of the most long-standing animal rescue groups in the community and is recognized as a well-run, fiscally responsible charity. ARF's high rate of success is measured by low numbers of returned animals as a result of good pet/owner matches.
ARF is a no-kill rescue and our philosophy is to to foster the humane, compassionate and respectful treatment of all dogs and cats. Each year, ARF works to rescue countless stray and abandoned dogs and cats in order to give them a second chance. These animals have faced many hardships ranging from hunger, disease, abuse, and freezing temperatures to encounters with predators and vehicles. Once rescued, ARF animals are placed in loving, caring foster homes where they await adoption. In addition to warmth and love, they also receive the veterinary care and medical assistance they need to grow strong and live a healthy life. Since animals have little ability to choose their owners, we must act in their best interests. Some of the ways we do this are by:
- Placing animals for adoption in loving, caring, stable and lifelong homes
- Arranging temporary foster homes, including providing medical interventions to animals in need of serious medical care
- Vaccinating, de-worming, and spaying/neutering animals prior to adoption
- Providing spay/neuter and educational programs to residents of First Nations communities
- Practicing and promoting reward-based training techniques for dogs
ARF ensures that the animal's welfare is considered first and our volunteers have considerable experience in the humane treatment of animals. We do not operate an animal shelter; instead, we house all rescued animals in foster homes who have the capability and understanding to rehabilitate animals with positive social experiences with people and other animals. By providing food and medical care in these temporary homes, we are able to take the time to find the right match between our dogs and cats and their prospective adoptive families. ARF also provides training for both pets and their new forever homes. You can visit with our adoptable dogs and cats at various events throughout the year.
Sweet Cava and her puppies were rescued in July of last year. They arrived in ARFs hands in rough shape and their future looked bleak. But, with the dedicated, selfless and loving volunteers on which ARF’s foundation is built, Cava and her puppies survived. I cannot convey to you in this language how grateful I am to these dedicated volunteers. Their love was constant.
Amazingly, Cava is filled with love and intelligence. She is very patient with all the humans she meets and we are working on other species – namely dogs, squirrels, and bunnies!
I have lived in the same home since 1969 and have had five other dogs but not one of them demonstrated the love for my neighbours that Cava has done daily while living with us.
For all those who are associated with ARF – we extend our heartfelt thanks and financial support. With organizations like ARF, dogs like Cava can experience a loving forever home. Thank you.
Sincerely, Eileen (forever home).
To further ARF’s mission, a permanent triage facility is required (PAD for PAWS) to both increase capacity and to provide emergency care to unwanted animals (pregnant moms like Cava) that are difficult to place immediately in foster homes (pre-adoption).
Our Programs How We Do It
Astrid was rescued on January 7th, 2014 at 3 months old. We received a call about an injured puppy and went out to see how we could help her. It is likely her injuries were due to an attack by another animal. She had several injuries to her back legs and immediately received surgery on puncture wounds.
After more than a month of recovery, Astrid’s leg just wasn’t healing the way it should, so we brought her to a specialist to see if there were any other underlying conditions that needed treatment. After x-rays and close examination, we found out that Astrid also has a torn cruciate ligament in her back leg. Due to some muscle atrophy around the injury site, it seems like this injury was one that occurred previous to the attack.
Astrid faced TPLO surgery – a very intensive, precise surgery performed by an orthopedic surgeon and she required 16 weeks of recovery and additional physiotherapy. ARF is committed to the long term and does everything it can to help a dog or cat once rescued. Astrid’s vet bills were over $6000 and these costs were paid for by ARF, thanks to our generous donors. ARF is a registered charity, staffed almost entirely by volunteers, and reliant on donations.
"She is doing well after the surgeries on her leg and it only really bothers her when it is very cold outside. She can keep up to the horses when they are galloping around the field! She has become a great friend to our kids and loves to snuggle and play with them or her 2 big sisters."
Emily (forever home)
Astrid's story is not unique and ARF makes sure all rescued dogs and cats get the best care, from rescue to adoption. ARF further provides training for both the adoptive parents and animals so they can form successful, solid relationships.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Donate: We have many expenses, one of the most critical being veterinary care. All donations are very gratefully accepted, and a tax receipt will be issued for any donation of $20 or more.
Pad for Paws: Funds raised for the Pad for Paws Campaign will be put towards the acquisition of a permanent facility for ARF. This facility will be used to temporarily house sick or injured animals and offer refuge for nursing mothers, as well as provide a headquarters for ARF. To date, we have raised $520,000 and our goal is $1 million.
Volunteer: ARF is proud to be run almost entirely by volunteers! Volunteers make ARF successful and they have a direct impact on the number of animals that we can rescue. Not only does volunteering have a meaningful impact on our community, but it also has a meaningful and positive impact on you! Some of the benefits of volunteering include:
- learning/developing new skills
- being part of your community
- a greater sense of achievement
- boosting your career options
- finding new interests/hobbies
- having new experiences/meeting new people
Be a Foster Home: We are always in need of committed foster parents who are able to give a rescued dog or cat a temporary home and get him started on his way. Most of our animals have never been inside a home before and have not always been treated very well; therefore, they need some basic training and lots of love. Our amazing foster homes care for an animal and attend to all of its needs, including:
- vet appointments (if needed)
- feeding, walking and training
- having potential adopters in your home to meet your foster
- making the final decision on who adopts your foster
- and in the case of a dog, visiting the potential adopters home to see if their yard is secure and bringing him to PetSmart some weekends to meet potential adopters
Please Note: All foster homes must be in the Calgary area. All food and medical care is provided.
Host an Event: Help us rescue stray and unwanted dogs and cats by hosting an event or raising money for ARF! By hosting your own event, registering your birthday party or other celebration and collecting donations you are positively impacting our rescue efforts in an almost effortless way. If your event will primarily consist of attendees who are not familiar with ARF and the work we do, just email our Donor Relations Team and we will make sure you receive brochures on our various programs for your guests.
ARF's Wish List: In-Kind Donations (Supplies):
In-kind donations of supplies may be dropped of during our weekly showings, or pick-up can be arranged by calling 403-243-1910. We even welcome donated gift cards to use for purchasing needed items. We are in need of the following items:
- X-Pens/Puppy Pens
- Unopened Bags of Premium (Dry) Puppy Food
- Canned cat/kitten food (no canned fish for people, please)
- Chewies (pressed rawhides, Dentabones, pigs ears, hooves – but please, no “knots”)
- Easy Walk Harnesses, various sizes (PetSmart)
- Clay-based clumping cat litter
- Litterboxes & scoops
- Cat trees
- Scratching posts & pads
- Cat toys
- Nail scissors
- Brushes: Cat Metal Slicker Brushes (Walmart)
- Paper Towel