The Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader for its unique, dual mission of People Rescuing Animals … Animals Rescuing People®. With 47,000 adoptions and counting, we also strengthen the human-animal bond through life-changing programs for children, seniors, Veterans, and under-resourced community members.
ARF was founded in 1991 in donated office space with a small team of driven volunteers who worked tirelessly to save 157 dogs and cats during our first year. It wasn’t long before the board of directors realized that of equal importance to rescuing animals was the remarkable role they play in people’s lives. Our dual mission of People Rescuing Animals … Animals Rescuing People® was born.
Humane education programs began a couple of years later to ingrain an early love of animals in school-aged children. Therapy animals and other programs introduced animals’ unconditional love and acceptance to seniors, veterans, at-risk youth, and more people in need. Programs to help low-income pet guardians keep their beloved pets in homes and out of shelters soon followed.
View our annual report, audited financials, animal statistics, and more.
Despite humble beginnings, the construction of our Walnut Creek, California headquarters — a 37,700-square-foot animal care facility and community center — was completed in 2003. This critical milestone was the realization of a long-held dream: an animal shelter that felt more like a lifesaving resort. The homey condos set the standards for housing shelter guests in the animal welfare industry.
Our team continues to grow and expand lifesaving efforts — from evacuating animals impacted by natural disasters to an expansive foster family network to developing innovative safety net programs designed to support struggling pet guardians and keep pets out of shelters. In 2021 we added a new 7,900-square-foot Pets and Vets Training Center, an expanded 4,900-square-foot animal care wing and veterinary clinic to better serve veterans and rescue more animals, and a solar array for greater operational efficiency.
Our organization is a renowned local leader and national model in the animal welfare community. Thanks to supporters like you, we have found families for more than 47,000 dogs and cats, performed more than 56,000 spay and neuter surgeries to combat pet overpopulation, and graduated 59 rescue-turned-service dogs with their Veteran handlers.
Our mission of People Rescuing Animals … Animals Rescuing People® drives innovative programs that bring people and animals together to enrich each other’s lives. Our vision is to serve as a local and national model of a better future — one where pets are respected for the unique role they play in making the world a better place for people to live, and one where there is a stable and loving home for every pet to complete their natural lifespan.