The list is extensive and hardly
exhaustive: Grover, the three-legged beagle mix, Mozart the Great Dane,
Sterling the Persian cat, T.J. the border collie, Duchess the collie
and Shadz the beagle.
hundreds of other injured dogs and cats, owe their lives to the Animal
Rescue & Relief Foundation of Southwestern Illinois and its
For 10 years,
Animal Rescue & Relief Foundation, or ARRF, has been working hard
to raise enough in donations to help pay for surgeries. Volunteers are
the backbone of the organization, donating their time and their money
to rehab injured animals in their homes and prepare them for adoption.
foundation was formed 10 years ago by Shelley Blumberg, Linda Waltman
and Helga Solych, humane societies typically did not provide veterinary
care for injured animals. It just wasn't in the budget and healthy,
adoptable animals were top priority.
"Back then, an
injured animal had no chance in a shelter or humane society, none at
all. It would either lay there and die or be euthanized," said Linda
Rayho, president of Animal Rescue & Relief Foundation. "When ARRF
was started, our mission was to go in to these facilities and not allow
that to happen. We'd go in to find these animals and take care of them."
shelters and humane societies provide medical care if it is needed, but
the number of injured homeless animals is increasing, and the rescue
foundation is still there to make sure those animals get well enough to
find new homes.
In 2004, the
group nearly doubled the number of animals it helped during previous
years. Last year the organization provided aid to almost 250 animals,
Rayho reported. The numbers of animals needing medical care have
doubled, but the money from donations and fund raising has remained
about the same. The organization operates on about $40,000 a year from
donations and a couple of fund-raising auctions. The money is used to
pay for medical bills for injured strays and for a spay-neuter program
the organization sponsors.
changed a lot in the past 10 years," Rayho said. "People are no longer
just driving by injured animals on the streets, they are picking them
up and taking them to the vet clinics."
Most of the
injured animals that come to rescue foundation have been hit by cars,
percent of the animals aided by the organization are found by good
Samaritans and dropped off at veterinary hospitals. The other half come
from area shelters and humane societies, Rayho said.
organization does not have a facility and does not take in just stray
animals, it only provides care for injured animals and it absolutely
depends on volunteers and foster homes for animals.
"Right now we
are really short on licensed foster homes," Rayho said. "We have a lot
of people who would love to be foster homes, but they already have
three or four pets of their own, and they are really limited on they
number of animals they can have in a home. It's difficult to find homes
that qualify, and when we do, we keep them for about two years before
they max out because they fall in love with the foster animals and
adopt them. It's been a real challenge to get the foster homes
information about Animal Rescue & Relief Foundation or to learn how
to volunteer, call 624-1223.