What We Do
AARCS was founded in 2006 by a small group of people who were looking to make a difference in the lives of animals and has grown into a vast network of volunteers, foster homes, and supporters. We now have over 2,000 volunteers across the province with our head office in Calgary and a *new shelter and adoption centre in Edmonton. Our volunteers range in age from young children to seniors all looking to create a more compassionate world for animals.
AARCS began with rescuing and rehoming homeless, abandoned, and surrendered animals and to-date have found new, loving homes for more than 25,000 pets. We knew there would be an endless number of homeless animals if we didn’t strive to end animal homelessness at the root of the issue. We needed to share information and help the public understand the value of responsible pet guardianship through Spay and Neuter Initiatives while providing Assistance Programs to keep pets in their homes whenever possible.
The first of it’s kind for animal rescue in Alberta, AARCS opened AARCS Veterinary Hospital in May of 2017 on-site at our Safe Haven Shelter located in Calgary. Staffed with veterinarians, registered animal health technicians and tech assistants we are helping thousands of homeless animals each and every year get the medical attention they desperately need.
With two operating suites, a dental suite with a dental x-ray, a full-body x-ray machine, and a fully functional laboratory and pharmacy; AARCS can perform almost anything a normal veterinary hospital can do. From broken bones, gunshot wounds, and mange to deadly diseases such as parvovirus AARCS is here to provide the highest quality veterinary care to those most in need.
The facility is designed to help homeless animals and is not open to the public. As a not-for-profit clinic, we are grateful for the support from the veterinary community as a number of volunteer vets and techs and general public volunteers are assisting in the clinic on a daily basis. With the ability to do anything a regular animal hospital can do we are able to treat all kinds of injuries and illnesses in-house. Including:
• Vaccinations & Deworming
• Dental Surgery
• Leg Amputations
• Orthopedic Surgeries
• Broken Bones
• Parvo Treatment
• Gun-shot Wounds
• And much more!
In 2020, AARCS expanded to Edmonton, with a 10,000 square foot shelter and adoption centre dubbed North Haven. This will allow us to help even more animals by providing a space in the North for our rescued animals and an operational hub for our Edmonton volunteers. AARCS has leased property in South Edmonton. Similar to our existing facility in Calgary, we are creating a home in Edmonton for our rescued animals to temporarily lay their heads before moving into foster care, a home-base for our volunteers and a place to collect and store donated supplies for our growing base of foster homes in the area. IN ADDITION, our goal is to house 50-80 adoptable cats and facilitate onsite adoptions.
While shelters are a great tool for helping animals, AARCS’ remains foster-home based as we believe a home is the best environment for adoptable pets to live while we search for a great adoptive family. The shelters are manned by volunteers, supported by staff and are open to our rescued animals 365 days a year.
In 2013, AARCS stepped up during the floods in central Alberta helping rescue hundreds of stranded and displaced pets. Recognizing the huge need for emergency response as it relates to humans and their pets, this challenging event prompted the development of our Disaster Response Program. In 2016 AARCS Rescue Crews were called in to help rescue thousands of stranded pets during the devastating fires in Fort McMurray. In 2019 AARCS, under the newly formed Alberta Animal Disaster Response Team, AARCS responded and assisted over 500 evacuated pets during the wildfires in Wabasca and MD of Opportunity.
Today AARCS continues to help in almost any situation where pets are in need of assistance. We are a community partner specializing in pets and their people. We continue to share information with the public through Humane Education and Outreach while providing community support programs where needs arise.
Every once in a while people ask me how I can foster. “It must be so hard to let them go,” they say. Yes it is hard, but so worth it. I love them all and think about them all of the time. But without people who step up to foster, organizations like AARCS couldn’t help save these animals. So if you ever thought about fostering, now is the time. As it gets colder, AARCS gets more calls of animals in need and the more foster families they have the more animals we can save!” – Kyle Sommerville, AARCS Foster Parent