Animal Rescue Corps Celebrating Five Years of Saving Lives and Inspiring Compassion
Wow! That went fast! We’ve been on the road for 5 years in nearly all corners of North America, ending the suffering of thousands and preventing the suffering of countless others. I promised YOU – our small staff, volunteers, donors, sponsors, placement partners, supporters, and, most importantly, the animals – an organization that defines compassion in action. Together, we are making good on that promise every day. We continue to dismantle the puppy mill industry and the end is in sight. We are breaking the chains and emptying the cages that imprison the innocent. We remain committed to carrying out justice and serving communities that have no other resource. And this compassion that we have collectively shown the world, well it’s contagious and it’s spreading!
My 25-yearlong career protecting animals throughout the world has provided me a wealth of knowledge and experience in all things animal rescue. But, 20 years into it, I identified a specific resource that communities needed. It was time to create an organization that bridged the gap between compassionate communities that wanted to address cruelty cases that were beyond their means to address on their own and the responsible, hard-working organizations who would continue the animals’ emotional and physical rehabilitation and ultimately find them loving homes.
So, on November 7th, 2010, in a borrowed room in the MGM building in Los Angeles California, we signed our articles of incorporation and Animal Rescue Corps was born. We spent the next few months securing our non-profit status, creating our business plan, strategizing, and building our small network of volunteers and supporters from the ground up. On 1-11-11, we introduced ARC to the world! Just two months later, we were on scene of our first rescue operation emptying cages at a puppy mill in Warren County, Tennessee, and we have not stopped since.
ARC remains a small operation with a big mission! With only three full-time staff, our rescue operations are 99% ran by trained volunteers, it was designed that way. ARC’s volunteers are driven solely by compassion, each having found a strong desire to end suffering. I had been formulating this vision for years, so there was no question about what ARC’s mission would be or how we would carry out that mission. Animal Rescue Corps’ mission is to end animal suffering through direct and compassionate action, and to inspire the highest ethical standards of humanity towards animals. We collectively carry out this mission in three ways:
Intentionally designed to work closely with government institutions, law enforcement agencies, and other animal protection organizations, Animal Rescue Corps primarily conducts large-scale rescue operations of animals who fall victim to abuse and natural disaster. We work within the legal system to affect lasting change from the inside out. While advocating for stronger laws and stiffer punishments, we use the existing laws and legal system to the best possible advantage, often successfully establishing cases and getting results on situations that have gone unresolved for years! Secondarily, we combat cruelty by inspiring compassion and educating the public on the issues with our Educate2End campaign, PSAs, and other media. We also offer training through our Basic Animal Rescue Course (BARC), and provide humane education in classroom settings from elementary to high schools. Lastly, we have created a program to offer assessments to animal shelters and sanctuaries where the administration, volunteers, and community have a strong desire to elevate their practices, policies, and protocol to the highest of standards through our Animal Shelter Assessment Program (ASAP).
In the months we spent laying the foundation of this organization, we knew we needed a name and logo that was as strong and recognizable as the organization we wished to create. Clearly, two words had to be in the name – “animal” and “rescue” – but we had to come up with a third word that would add meaning by describing the team we were building. We looked to the example of other great and well-established organizations and the choice became clear: “corps”. Signifying an army or large body of engaged people, it was perfect, and forever we would be Animal Rescue Corps.
Designing the logo was a fun and collaborative process amongst the team. It was important to create a logo rich with symbolism. Several simple guiding ideas resulted in the logo which we love, and we’ve heard a few of you do too. The simple but strong colors of navy, white, and yellow are common among rescue and service organization. The triangle housing the “corps” references: 1) the rescue triangle with three points representing “persecutor, victim, and rescuer”, and 2) the triangle whose points represent “rescue, recover, rehome”; with both applying equally to our work. The most distinctive feature of our logo, the wings, had a very specific meaning to us – freedom. Our imaginative supporters have ascribed another meaning that we did not even see coming, but we are always honored to be called the animal’s angels. Our acronym, ARC, reminds me of an applicable quote from one my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” And our tagline, “Compassion in Action”, well that requires no explanation!
Our humble beginnings came with personal sacrifice. Our commitment to the work and our belief in this organization is so strong that for most of the first year, our small founding staff served as unpaid volunteers. We put everything into this promise of compassion and asked our loved ones to join us in this commitment. In order to fulfill the promise, we have done whatever was needed: borrowed vehicles, slept on floors, used garages and basements to store our equipment. There have been periods of personal and professional stress for me and others, changes in location and lifestyle, missing many holidays and special occasions with friends and family, but together, we have carried on through the challenging times because of our commitment to the animals who need us is unwavering.
Our belief has been and continues to be that if we let our actions speak, if we show what is possible by working together and putting our compassion into action, then we will not fail and others will join. We have seen this to be true and we are growing and improving every day. ARC’s staff remains small but we have recruited and trained thousands of volunteers. We have conducted six Basic Animal Rescue Course trainings throughout North America and provided half-day sessions at several conferences and seminars. We have successfully funded and carried out more than 50 life-saving rescue operations. We have conducted multiple shelter assessments and have presented in dozens of schools, inspiring compassion in countless children to ensure a kinder, more compassionate society of the future.
While we have a long way to go in building a more financially sustainable organization, we are succeeding! Largely in part to those who have generously funded our rescue operations and to our ARC Angels, our monthly contributors, we simply could not do this without you. Whether you are one of the ARC board or staff members, a community liaison, a volunteer, a placement partner, a financial contributor, or you support us in other ways – YOU are the Corps. We have ended cycles of abuse and saved thousands of lives over the past 5 years, promising each of those individuals that they will live a life filled with compassion and love because of your investment in compassion.
Needless to say, I am immensely proud of what we have created and accomplished together thus far. I am eternally grateful for and awed by your compassion and dedication. You inspire me to persevere, to stop at nothing until they suffer no more. I am deeply grateful that you have joined me in this mission. To be called upon to save animals and give the gift of compassion is a great privilege. On behalf of the animals that benefit from your acts of compassion, I thank you and ask that you continue to stand with Animal Rescue Corps for the next five years and beyond.
With much respect and gratitude,
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