About the Spirit and Philosophy
That Moves Us
and Will Hopefully Move You:
Nature in the raw is pretty cruel.
With most species, humans included, nature's plan seems to be the reproduction of large numbers of individuals, most of whom lead lives competing for limited food and shelter and trying to stay alive and out of the clutches of predators while a tiny elite, for one reason or other, thrives.
One of our philosophers described life for most as "cruel, solitary, brutish, and short."
On the other hand, life isn't necessarily all cruel.
Many of us have learned to get along and over the many years of our history as humans, we have developed several successful civilizations where large numbers of us enjoy the prospects of long life, love, joy, abundant food, and the enjoyment of music, theater, literature, interesting life, security, and leisure.
Along the way, we have domesticated certain other mammals and have developed warm and intricate relationships with them.
I believe that God has made a covenant with us as humans to love us and guide us through this vale of tears.
We might argue about the nature of this guidance, but all religions seem to agree that we are guided to love one another as we love ourselves. To do onto others as we would have them do unto us.
Well, I think we as humans have a similar covenant with the animals...especially those animals that we have taken into our homes as companions and friends. We are honor bound to care for and love these creatures.
Just as most of us wouldn't stand idly by in the presence of cruelty to children , we at our shelter, can't just do nothing in the presence of neglect and cruelty to our area's cats and dogs.
There's something special about our relationship as humans with pets and other animals. Most of us...all over the world...have at least some warm and wonderful feelings for pets that depend on us for food, shelter, discipline, and love.
We hope to make a small dent in our area in caring for those pets that don't have anyone willing to care for them. We hope to find them new homes.
Please help us.
How The Animal Rescue Fund Came to Be and About Our Success So Far
We have been loving, caring for, and finding homes for stray pets on a more casual basis for over 18 years...ever since I started veterinary practice at the FoxNest Veterinary Hospital.
We have also participated over the years in our county's low cost neuter and spay programs and rabies clinics. And we do extremely low cost neutering and spaying for the Concerned Citizens for Animals feral cat catch and release program.
I've spayed or neutered well over 2000 pets and feral cats for these charities. The funding for all this in the past has come from generous clients, The Oconee County Humane Society, a lot of volunteer work from our staff, and most of all, directly out of the profits of the FoxNest Veterinary Hospital.
The FoxNest Veterinary Hospital is an incredibly busy place...often similar to television's ER...in the hectic pace with which we deal with veterinary medical problems and injuries. But we always made time to also deal with the many pets left on our door step or which we took in as charity cases. Once the word got out that we were soft touches for animals in trouble, we were inundated with abandoned pets and hardship cases.
We considered making our efforts on behalf of strays an official, registered charity several times in the past but each time got too busy to follow up with all the paperwork, confusion, and fees involved. And besides...each of our efforts toward publicity usually resulted not in successful fund raising or finding of new homes but rather in more unwanted pets being left for care!
Truth be told, many times I was tempted to refuse any more stray work; our budget, time, tolerance for irresponsible pet owners, and facilities were bursting at the seams.
Finally, in the Fall of 2000, mostly due to the motivation of Sunny Hamill (animal lover and businesswoman) and Bonnie Chait (our clinic manager, head veterinary technician, and the person who, along with our staff, does 99% of the day after day animal care for our strays) and I finally went through the slow process of:
Registering as a Non-Profit Corporation with the State of South Carolina. Our official incorporated name is The Animal Rescue Fund of South Carolina.
We opened up a separate bank account at The Seneca National Bank, whose owner, Davis Arnette and his wife Mary have become major sponsors and boosters of our program.
We registered with the SC State Attorney to legally solicit donations from the public.
It took a year, but we registered with the Federal IRS so that people and corporations who donate to our cause can deduct those contributions from their taxes.
I started a massive veterinary informational website (AnimalPetDoctor.com ) in hopes of generating a large audience interested in animal welfare and our shelter program.
All commissions made from banner ad sales on this site will go the shelter.
We created this site all about our shelter including pictures of our pets needing homes.
Our AnimalPetDoctor site is now popping up on search engines and getting a fair number of "hits", so hopefully soon, this will produce a lot of interest and some income.
A group of animal lovers calling themselves Friends of ARF (F.A.R.F.) have started their own separate fund-raising group to support our cause and have, in fact, been our biggest contributors so far. Every year they plan a variety of events, do all the work and publicity to promote the events, and then donate the proceeds to ARF.
In the meantime, we have been busy building, painting, and decorating our areas for the strays, making signs, and taking care of and finding homes for more and more pets.
Our local newspaper, The Seneca Tribune has started doing a weekly "Pet of the Week" picture and column which is helping a lot.
Several people have volunteered to help walk and socialize our strays.
Attorney and Accountant Virginia Vaugn has volunteered to do our accounting and legal work. Mary and Davis Arnette started making and selling fund-raising bandannas for our shelter in memory of their loved pet "Sparky" who has become our mascot.
Mary Mungal is working on getting us grant money, and like many others quietly works in the background doing what needs to be done.
One especially notable person who prefers to help us quietly with large donations of money and time is Spanish Professor Joanie Hurley.
Thanks so much to all these people and The Friends of ARF who helped us get our fledging shelter off the ground.
Things are moving along on a roll and soon we hope to have a super successful, financially stable program involving a large part of the community, greatly reducing the number of pets euthanized in our local shelters, and greatly increasing the level of care of our local pet owning public.
Thank you to all who have helped so far.
As for our actual success at finding homes: We generally are able to place about 325-350 dogs and cats back into loving homes. For such a small shelter, that's a great success rate, and it's all thanks to the efforts of staff, generous supporters, and volunteers!
And as a vet, I often get to see the people and pet that we have adopted out on a regular basis, giving me a good feeling that our efforts are worth it.
If you'd like to learn a bit more about what it's like to run a no-kill, non-profit shelter, please take a look at my page about the challenges of running a shelter.
Once again, thank you everyone, for your support!
--- Dr. Roger Ross