After fostering for multiple organizations within the Houston area, I can honestly say I've found a great fit with AARF, Houston. Their passion, dedication, and loyalty to their dogs and foster parents goes above and beyond. In fostering with them I've found a true community of likeminded individuals that are like family.
Each foster situation I've had with AARF has had a different set of circumstances, but thanks to the amazing directors, all have had the best possible outcomes. When I was feeling overwhelmed or confused they were there to immediately answer any questions and even went to so far on occasion as to come to my house and walk through things with me.
One thing I really love is the high standards they set for their fosters, expecting them to step up and do their part as well. While they're willing to be there to handhold, and the other fosters are always available for advice as well, they make sure that we have the best of the best working with the organization.
I highly recommend AARF Houston as a place to adopt, donate, volunteer, or foster for!!
I fostered for this group 1 time and it was a nightmare dealing with 1 parivulgar board member and the person that makes the decisions. Because of her I will only foster for 1 group. I've fostered a minimum of 40+ dogs for Cypress Lucky Mutt Rescue in the last 2 years with zero problems vs fostering 1 time with AARF. I know many more who will not fosterling for AARF due to this board members treatment and unprofessional behavior.
I have had 3 horrific experiences with AARF, specifically with 2 Board Members (1 is also a Director and she is the worst of the 2).
1. They placed a dog with Parvo into my home. I am new to rescue, so when they told me that the dog was ready for pickup from the vet, I naively assumed that he could get integrated into my home. Later, I checked out their vet's reputation. It is horrible, with many users blasting the vet. At my own expense and trouble (they NEVER offered help or assistance), I had to have all of my other dogs checked for Parvo and have my home cleaned. They provided zero assistance or guidance; I had to turn to my vet to make sure nothing worse happened.
2. I accepted a mom dog + her puppies to provide weekend relief for another foster. I learned from that foster that she had only volunteered for a certain time, only to have the dogs "indefinitely". That foster's husband basically could not take it any longer, so I volunteered for the weekend. I was told that the next volunteer would be ready after the long (3-day weekend due to a holiday) weekend. I was called the day before my time was up, to be told by the Director that the foster had "backed out". Later, I found out that the next foster in line was so insulted by the Director's abrasive personality that she dropped out. But more on my personal experience in this case.
The mom + puppies were destroying the room where I had placed them (a very large master bathroom with direct access to my enclosed back yard). In spite of letting her out in the back yard many times a day and providing toys and chews (chews for the mom because puppies cannot take chews), they were still chewing up my woodwork. I notified the Director with photo evidence, and she told me that she did not care about my home and only cared about the dogs! She was callous, offensive and abrasive in asserting that she could care less about me and my troubles with their fosters.
I called the other board member, and she told me to "dump the family in the streets" as AARF was too full!!! In other words, I was out of luck for them to honor the agreement with me, they had no back-up plans, they were clearly at capacity while still accepting dogs (I was still on their private FB page and witnessed this first hand) and that board member was clearly trying to "shock me" into keeping the dogs indefinitely by recommending the worst possible thing for the mom + puppies.
It was then that I realized how truly horrible AARF is!!!
When I then told the Director in a follow-up call after that "shocker" from the Board Member that I would turn the animals over to their vet (in other words, they would not be allowed to violate my agreement with them and "dump" dogs on me), then the real fireworks started! The Director made tons of false accusations about me, threatened me with legal action, pestered me on FB and my cell phone, and turned into a "lunatic". I have kept all email evidence of her behavior, and my children witnessed her insane, bullying behavior. One, in particular, is a "tactic" that I learned from other fosters that this Director uses quite frequently: she "threatened" to come to my home, "accompanied". See my next horrible experience with this Director.
Once I networked with other dissatisfied AARF volunteers, I learned that this is a common technique used by the Director of AARF. I saw a clear pattern to the Director's abusive behavior, so I did drop mom + puppies off at their vet's. But this was not enough for the Director as she then insisted that I drop off 2 puppies that my daughter and her fiancee had already adopted from AARF (I have the email where we were told that we were approved for the adoption). In other words, she was acting in a vindictive manner because I held her to her agreement that the sheltering of the mom + puppies was temporary. I did not dump the dogs in the street as the board member told me to do that one sad evening, and I did not turn them into a kill shelter. I basically said, "enough is enough" and turned them over to the group's vet.
The Director kept up the vindictive behavior, and I consulted with the police as to how I should respond. I did exactly as the police recommended and did not engage with her. I kept the police # in my phone and instructed my children to call 911 if she tried to come to our home and disturb our peace. I found out that I had never signed a foster agreement with AARF, but nonetheless asked my other awesome, wonderful rescue group if they would arrange a group-to-group transfer. That awesome leader even said she would turn over all adoption $ I provided to AARF. My goal was simply to get rid of the nutty Director and continue to provide a warm, loving home for our puppies! Today, I am happy to report that the puppies are no longer "puppies", but happy dogs thoroughly integrated into my daughter and her fiancee's wonderful lives as pre-med students at a large, recognized university. They are both in the M.D. program, take their loving dogs on walks, to the vet's, to the pet store, and love them like crazy!!! The Director, out of her vindictive nature, would have thrown them back into the overcrowded AARF situation (one volunteer who had come to our home told me that they crate these poor dogs and "stack them"!). And if the other Board Member got a hold of them, she probably would have thrown them into the streets!
The Director falsely reported on her private FB thread later that she had successfully gotten our puppies back. It is my impression that she is more concerned with presenting a false portrayal of herself as some type of "heroine" rather than truly caring about the dogs she is supposedly serving.
3. I received a lot of support from ex-AARF fosters/volunteers who were also abused by the Director of AARF. This helped me tremendously during the harassment and abuse I was receiving from the Director (bear in mind, I have ALL evidence, textual and otherwise). So when I became aware of another poor foster being abused, I reached out to him to help.
What I witnessed first hand in this situation was the following:
-- the Director bullied and harassed this individual to give up a dog that he had been approved for adoption due to an accusation against his partner
-- the Director falsely claimed that she would go to his home "accompanied" and pursue legal action against him (same idle threats I received); we later confirmed that the police station she claimed to be sitting at was closed at the time of her false threats
-- the individual who adopted the dog at their adoption event correctly observed that he cannot possibly be responsible for everyone adhering to AARF's policies; however, he had convinced his partner to comply but the Director did not care to listen
-- the Director knows to keep on the public street (she refused to enter his home to get the dog) and to use false, bullying behavior to force a person to turn over their pet
-- the individual I supported in this experience has become a personal friend; he is a wonderful, loving pet owner and I would trust my own pets in his care; I have seen his and his partner's pets, and they are treated with love and respect
My advice is to NEVER get involved with AARF. I would rate them LOWER than 1 star if possible. I think they are the worst rescue group I have ever had the misfortune to come into contact with.