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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Education, Educational Services, Human Services

Mission: ARF saves dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters and brings people and animals together to enrich each others lives. ARF strives to create a world where every loving dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion animal, and where children learn to care. Vision ARF was created in 1991 by Tony and Elaine La Russa to address the needs of companion animals. Their vision for ARF is an organization that can not only aid abandoned and homeless animals, but also promote the concept that people's lives can be enhanced by strengthening the bonds between humans and animals. With these intertwined goals as the guiding principles, ARF is known as a national as well as local leader. ARF is growing to meet the demands of the 21st century with the first private adoption and education center in Contra Costa County, California. ARF will continue to respond to the immediate needs of animals who have been neglected, abused or deprived of love to ensure they find high quality homes. At the same time, ARF will embody the vision of a better future-one where animals are respected for the unique role they can and do play in making the world a better place for people to live and where there is a stable and loving home for every pet to complete its natural lifespan.

Programs: ARF's Animal Programs programs continue to grow nationally and prosper. ARF's Mission is to find more homes for abandoned dogs and cats; stop pet over-population before it starts through spay/neuter programs; teach people the joys and responsibilities of animal companions; provide the community with dog training classes and other hands-on seminars; and offer emergency veterinary assistance, donated pet food and supplies to low income families. ARF’s People Connect programs foster the unequaled human/animal bond. Through classes, hands-on activities, interactive educational programs and play, people and pets enrich each others’ lives. ARF’s People Connect programs provide an opportunity for individuals of all ages to experience the unfailing friendship and magic of animals.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 1

This organization seems to have lost its way. I am hoping they decide to change for the better of the animals and those they employee. They are breed discriminatory and do not truly fulfill their mission. They create wordy confusing policies to not allow the better treatment of animals, volunteers, and staff. I heard the foundation was amazing once but I am sad to say it was not while I was there. Rest in paradise to all the pitties that never stood a chance the second they went to ARF.

Donor

Rating: 5

ARF does a complete and thorough job taking care of critters in need. They are a responsible group that enlists the help of many willing volunteers and donors toward the goal of seeing to the proper care and betterment of all kinds of animals that, through no fault of their own, need loving care and new (or temporary) homes. I donated today (11/12/2018) to help with pets unfortunately displaced by the devastating CAMP fire in the Paradise area of northern California. I only wish I could do more; this is my Call to Arms. Many of these four legged survivors, just like their owners, have lost everything that was familiar to them; their people and their homes. The difference between their owners and these animals, is that they are less equipped to deal with, understand or recover from such cataclysmic events. People typically have home insurance and a degree of support from family, neighbors and friends...pets, not so much. Some pets lost their families as well as their homes. Please help if you are able; any donation or other effort is greatly appreciated. ARF is on the front lines in this effort to assist the displaced dogs, cats, et al; the critters will be honestly and eternally grateful. Thank you so much for caring for these innocent victims in this time of great need.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

We have known about ARF for several years, and now fostering for them we have even more respect for the work they do in helping connect dogs and cats with people, as a great addition to their family

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Members of Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation's Pet Hug Pack visit Cal every month. Cal is a very competitive school, and being a student there is stressful. Because spending time with ARF's Pet Hug Pack dogs instantly relieved the stress of school, I went to all of the Pet Hug Pack's visits to Cal while I was a student there. All of the dogs at the Pet Hugs events at Cal were always happy to see me and gave me lots of kisses. My favorite dog from ARF's Pet Hug Pack, the adorable Havanese dog Maddie, looked at me in the eye with a smile and put her paws on my heart to say "I love you", in addition to giving lots of kisses.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Positive environment and excellent people to work with.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer since I retired 4 years ago. But I initially became involved with their mission and activities when they first started and were operating out of a trailer close to where their fabulous animal friendly campus now stands. ARF is the deserves all the highest rankings they receive from donors, clients and volunteers.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a current volunteer at ARF in several capacities ("Shelter Essentials" or washing/folding laundry; "Docent" for birthday parties at the ARF facilities; "Dog Care Partner" which involves talking shelter dogs on their evening potty walks; and "Foster" housing puppies until they were old enough/well enough for adoption. There are so many volunteer opportunities (even more than these!) to help ARF in its mission.

I started volunteering because our lifestyle doesn't currently allow for a dog of our own. I find myself spending more and more time there and I'm always looking forward to my shifts (even hopping out of bed early on a Sunday morning). It's so fulfilling to see how they treat the animals, to participate in a small way with ARF getting the word out to kids and to help with the puppies and the dogs waiting for their new family. This is a well-rounded, forward thinking organization well worth your time.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 2

They get 5 stars for the incredible work they do with animals/pets.

They get 1 star for their lack of kindness towards humans.

I personally think their strict policies around volunteers, and their lack of personalization with humans left me feeling not valued as a volunteer and donor.

I would adopt from them but I would not work or volunteer for them ever again.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Tony La Russa's ARF since I retired 7 years ago and I always say that I get so much more back from the experience than I give! When I walk through the front doors of Tony La Russa's ARF, I feel such a boost of HOPE! No cages for these cherished animals - they have condos with windows and beds and toys! I always stop by the condos and tell the cats and dogs that even if they don't have a "forever home" yet, they are loved and cherished by the staff and volunteers who visit and care for them each day.

When I donate money or goods to the ARF Thrift Store, I feel confident that they will make good use of whatever I give. Their "hearts" are with the animals. Their Emergency Medical Fund is a blessing to people who cannot afford medical care for pets. My next door neighbor was out of work and her dog needed dental care desperately. I told her about EMF and they took care of the dental care so he didn't have to suffer a sore mouth anymore.

They provide spay and neuter services for many who cannot afford to pay.

As a volunteer, I am treated with respect and as a valued member of the *team".

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a volunteer at ARF. I knew this organization was special from the moment I walked through the door. You can feel the energy and the commitment to pets and to people in the community. They know their mission and adhere to it with laser focus. I'm amazed that everyone with whom I come in contact with at the dog park when exercising my pets knows ARF and speaks highly of the organization. In fact, many of the dogs that come to the park were adopted from ARF!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love working at ARF. Whenever I see a dog or cat find a "forever" home with a person or family , I get a little teary eyed. These animals were close to being euthanized at another shelter and we gave them another chance to live a happy life and to "rescue" a special family. You can't get much better than that! Knowing that our dogs and cats will stay with us until they get adopted always makes me feel good.
It's so rewarding volunteering at ARF.
ARF also does a lot to educate children and adults about the responsibilities of being a companion to your pet.
Some of our special dogs and cats visit hospitals, nursing homes, etc. to bring joy to people who could use a bit of comfort.
IT'S AWESOME BEING A PART OF THIS GREAT ORGANIZATION!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a recent volunteer to ARF and am not yet able to describe ways in which I have made a difference. What I would like to communicate is how impressed I am with ARF's professional and well organized organization. I recently completed my volunteer training and, since that day, I have not stopped singing ARF's praises. I am so proud that there is a program in the Bay Area that is able to save so many dogs and cats from being euthanized each week! And so much more. The volunteer opportunities are limitless and the need is ongoing. I only hope that ARF will be a big part of my future and I will be able to help all of the wonderful dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. I love them all!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at ARF when I was rescued by my dog, pit bull/labrador mix, Emma. She came along when I was at a low point n my life and she lifted me up and gave me a reason to love again. I found such joy in being her guardian, I wanted to bring that joy to others. I found ARF and began volunteering as a greeter, tablet, dog walker and now an adoption counselor. It's immensely gratifying to watch an animal and family connect with each other. I believe that every human being deserves a home, food, and an animal companion. ARF has allowed me to live my values and bring joy to adopters and animals alike.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A Saturday in June I went to Shadeland's Antique Show and ARF was there with their van. I saw this black and white 3 year old cat and feel in love with her. By Wednesday Kelly was still in my dreams I just could not get her out of my mind so down I went to ARF, hoping she was still available and she was. The staff was wonderful, took a lot of time with me never made me feel hurried in any way. You could really tell that the staff and volunteers loved their jobs and loved these animals. Each of the kitty condo's were clean and each had the regular things plus toys. Treats were also available plus more toys. Volunteers were in numerous condo's playing with the cats and kittens. Each cat had a complete history and their social skills listed so you knew if the feline you liked would blend in with you and the best part was you were able to set down on the floor and play with the cat or kittens to see how they were around you. Kelly and I bonded immediately and she has trained me well already. She is my constant companion when I am in the house and has made this senior very happy.. ARF is just plain wonderful. Sarah

Client Served

Rating: 5

ARF is a class act and a responsible organization providing animals with loving homes. ARF helped me find the perfect cat for me in June, and we love her so much! ARF is very responsible with its donations and has a tireless force of volunteers and employees who make their mission happen.

Jim_67

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

While living in the San Francisco Bay area I because aware of the ARF foundation and its great work. Tony La Russa has gotten it so right. The foundation is the best at what they do, and they do so much for so many. Not only for animals, they also teach and educate everyone about animals and their care and treatment. From the poor, lost, and neglected puppy to the beaten and abused cat, from the uneducated and ignorant child to the negligent pet owner who doesn't care about those who cannot fight back, they have a program or will take action. They are the best at what they are and do. They world is a much better place for having Tony La Russa and his staff in it.

Masha R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After teaching children for 37 years I retired and I turned my attention to my number one volunteer destination - Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation! Working with the ARF team is so rewarding. Everyone on the ARF team is dedicated to providing the best care and to finding the best homes for each of its dogs and cats! The spirit of ARF is one of hope, love, and commitment. If you are thinking of joining the ARF volunteer team now over 500 volunteers, your days will be full of joy! Masha Rosenthal

Client Served

Rating: 5

Before going into ARF, I was living alone and just going to school full time and working part time. My mom showed me a picture of this cat online that they had and my heart just melted. When I went into the shelter, I was not only treated with respect, but was surprised to see a clean environment for both humans and animals. The animals were not in cages and had plenty of room to move around since there was at most two animals to a certain space. I was also surprised to see that a questionnaire was required to even see an animal and a personal "assistant" was assigned to me to show me the animals. Adopting Sunday(my new cat) was an easy process and I was even given a free bag of food. Not only was my experience fantastic here, I found a new friend that was perfect for me.

Donor

Rating: 5

As an animal lover, I first became acquainted with ARF while living in Southern CA. I learned of their great work and began contributing to the organization and have continued to do so for the last 18 years. They have a dedicated staff who do everything possible to help animals find their forever homes. They have been one of the few groups that I've continuously supported.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I started contributing to ARF when I lived in CA and have continued to do so even though I'm now back on the East Coast. They are a wonderful organization of compassionate people who care very much about animals and are doing all they can to make sure that every animal in their care finds a forever home. I highly recommend them both to those looking to adopt and those looking for a reliable organization to donate to.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past summer I was an Animal Care intern with ARF, spending my days with the wonderful kitty residents. To put it simply, the organization is amazing! There was a great give and take feeling: a balance between me contributing to the cats' welfare and the cats teaching me how to be patient and compassionate with their different personalities. The staff and volunteers are fun, upbeat, and dynamic, willing to lend a hand in any way they can. The genuine concern for the animals in their care comes across easily, and it was an honor being a part of the organization. Great animals and great people!

Karen124

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for almost 2 years, I'm proud to be associated with such a caring organization. The superb animal care is demonstrated by the excellent attention-to-detail training it provides to the volunteers -- from shelter essentials to cat care partner training, etc. Everyone involved knows the goal: to provide the best animal care possible until they find their forever homes. Great job ARF!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Arf was amazing in helping me adopt my dog syrah. The facilities are clean & you can tell the staff sally care for their animals. The foggy manners class I took there was also well run & informative.

Sally31

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at ARF for many many years. I know from personal experience that ARF works from the heart while taking care of animals and matching them with the best home possible. I "fostered" a kitten named Snickerdoodle. She was a health-challenged kitty. She could not walk and her head bobbled. I fell in love with Snickers from the first second I saw her. She had severe pneumonia and I was told that she would not live more than 3 years (this pronouncement was by a vet, not by ARF personnel.) I was what ARF calls a "foster failure." I knew all along that we were not going to give her back and they knew me well enough that they trusted me! We adopted Snickers 11 years ago and she is still here. I live in Oregon now but am forever grateful to ARF that they entrusted this little girl in our care. When choosing my role, I could not decide which category I fall in. I have been a volunteer, a client served and a donor. I love ARF and I love their mission!

Steffanie P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The people at ARF are very patient and caring. They take good care of the people,e looking to provide for ever homes.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization. It is extremely well run and organized. Everyone at ARF treats visitors, and volunteers alike as important people.I feel very blessed to be an ARF volunteer!

Lydia6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Tony La Russa's ARF is doing fantastic work, serving the community and saving helpless animals from abuse and abandonment.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ARF is AMAZING! We adopted our dog Saddie from them last week and had the best experience possible. Their adoption counselor sat down with us, answered all our questions and helped us find the right dog for our family. I could not recommend them more highly! They take incredible care of the animals that are with them and seem to do everything they can to find them not just a home, but the right home!

Client Served

Rating: 5

There aren't enough superlatives to describe ARF, their mission, their staff and the volunteers. I have adopted two amazing cats from ARF and they blended into my family seemlessly and they are forever etched into my heart and memories ... I would love to adopt every animal if I could, but I know they have an amazing temporary home until their new parents come along. Wine and Whiskers is one of the things I look forward to every year!!

liaf

Donor

Rating: 5

ARF is a world class rescue foundation. They truly care about the animals and believe with all their heart in their mission to save animals in shelters and to give them every opportunity to be adopted. I have donated materials and money to ARF knowing they will be put to good use. I plan to keep supporting ARF in their mission.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering at Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation! Being there on a weekly basis, I see how much the staff and other volunteers love the animals, and want what is best for them. Everyone goes above and beyond to ensure enrichment and comfort for the animals, and provide the best resources and counselors for the ultimate goal...a forever home! What a wonderful charity!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cant reccomend ARF enough. I have 2 of the best dogs. I love them so much. The councelers there really help you to find the best fit. I do agree that people should only adopt. So the puppy mills will go out of business. Arf is a wonderful foundation... Thats for saving me!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I retired 8 years go, I looked for an organization that would help both animals and people. ARF was it! In addition to caring for the animals and keeping a very clean facility, ARF works very hard at matching the cats and dogs with the adopters, educating the public on the need for preventing overpopulation, educating children through camp ARF and parties, volunteering staff time for free spay and neuter days, assisting low-income clients with medical needs provided with funds from their thrift store, visiting hospitals and other facilities with their "pet hug pack", and providing many other services. Over the years, I've met so many conscientious and hard working volunteers and staff members who really care about both the animals and the public, as well as each other. And lastly, I'm impressed with how often Tony La Russa is around the facility. When there he is friendly to everyone and definitely conveys his appreciation for all that is being done.

2 Dana21

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

ARF was a vision created from an absolute love and neverending concern for the welfare of animals, by two of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. After years of caring for animals and finding them homes, Tony and Elaine LaRussa realized that Contra Costa County was over burdened by unwanted and lost animals in an overcrowded pound, whos only solution due to lack of funds, was to comtrol their population through euthanazia. I remember them being so surprised that there wasn't with a non profit, or privately funded alternative that would give so many wonderful animals an opportunity to find a new life with a new caring family. They recognized the need for grief counseling after the loss of a pet, and spay and neutering these animals for their own protection. They worked tirelessly to raise money to give the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF a home, and finally in the early 1990s it became a reality, pairing up responsible dog and cat lovers with their future new family members. I have had many many friends and clients who happily adopted a new family member from ARF and as a local delivery driver I have been able to watch the happy families bond with their new four legged friends.ARF is an extended family. Your association with them doesn't end when you adopt. It's just the beginning. I have seen many foundations throughout the years in my carrier, but never have I seen such a passion not only from Tony and Elaine, but genuinely from ever member of its volunteer staff, extending to the amazing people that qualify and choose to add these precious souls to their lives. ARF fever touches everyone envolved. I can't tell you how happy I feel every time they showcase a new adopted family and pet on their website. It's as if we all stand up and clap that another life hasn't gone to waste...but is instead enriching children's lives and teaching them to be kind, gentle and empathetic, and keeping the elderly company. I just can't say enough about this non profit organization. I can't even imagine how much of their own money they've put into this, but I can tell you that Tony is so beloved and so kind that people in the entertainment industry gladly volunteer their time and performances to raise money and awareness to help this man with this most important of causes. If you love animals and want to help you need to know that your money will be used to change lives. There is no greater gift than saving a life, and there is no greater lesson from God than teaching us how to love unconditionally. That's what animals do for a hug and some food. I'm so proud to know these people and so proud of them that they've changed so many lives. Animals have friends in ARF. Go on down and feel the energy there. It won't take but a minute to understand.

Donor

Rating: 5

ARF saves lives, both animals and humans. They are so much more than an animal rescue (although they do an exceptional job at that.) They rescue people also, through their educational programs and community outreach. The organization is first rate and seems to wisely use the resources that are donated. I'm a HUGE fan, and continue to support them even though I no longer live in the area.

Cheri6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ARF is so much more that an animal rescue foundation. ARF rescues and improves the lives of people too. Originally I hesitated volunteering at ARF, I though the didn't need me because they seemed to have so much going on and such huge fund drives. But, I gave them a chance and realized I wasted a lot of years on a misperception. The volunteer training is superb. The message is clear that the animals come first, but the volunteers are a close second and treated so. That they will save as many as they can each week. They will do all that is possible to match the right animal to the right family or person, so the animal will never have to go through this again. ARF also believes strongly in educating children and adults. ARF has such a beautiful heart, because it is run by beautiful people that care so much about animals and people.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WOW!!! ARF is the BEST! They have an extraordinary staff, the grounds and facilities are natural and perfect for the purposes... and their services are beyond beautiful. The special treatment they offer applies to people, visitors, volunteers, and clients, as I can attest, from having seen ARF in action in all of these aspects of service. They are an organization to be trusted, a model surely to be replicated--internationally, for certain. Thank you to the staff. Kudos to Dorothy McDougall at Reception/Coordination and Dr. Heather Coburn, who has helped our pets in so many delicate and dedicated ways. "Trust is the coin of the realm." ARF deserves all kinds of donations, assistance, support and volunteer assistance. Well done! Sue LInnig, Concord, California