The Effect of COVID-19 on AARF – Animal Adoption & Rescue Foundation

BY Cortney Bravinder

When you ask people what they like most about Super Bowl Sunday, it’s usually the same answer. Watching the commercials, eating good food, the halftime show, and obviously the football game. Well, if someone were to ask me, I would definitely answer, the PUPPY BOWL! The Puppy Bowl is an annual television program on Animal Planet that mimics an American football game similar to the Super Bowl, using puppies. Shown each year on Super Bowl Sunday, the show consists of footage of a batch of puppies that play inside a model stadium, with commentary on their actions. There’s nothing cuter than watching puppies wrestle with each other and then conk out from exhaustion. Well, you can imagine how excited I was when my mom said we were going to have our very own puppy bowl. I’m sure you’re wondering how we were able to find that many puppies to participate!

We have had the great privilege to foster for AARF for the past five years. It’s the most rewarding experience and I have learned so much during that time. I’ve asked Mitchell Currin, the Executive Director of AARF, to share about the organization, how COVID-19 has impacted them, and what their needs are. Here is what he had to say:

AARF is a no-kill, foster-based animal rescue. We adopt over 900 cats and dogs each year. We are a private, nonprofit organization supported by individual donations, grants, and the fees associated with our adoptions. While we do have some cats in our facility, almost all AARF animals are fostered in the homes of caring volunteers. The foster-based approach is what makes AARF special. Our fosters can provide socialization and nurturing that animals in shelters don’t have access to. We are able to help animals with special needs, pregnant or nursing moms, and newborn kittens and puppies that would face health risks in a traditional shelter environment. When you adopt a dog or cat from AARF, you know that you are getting an animal that has been evaluated in someone’s home with our family and our pets.

We have maintained fairly consistent adoption numbers compared to last year in spite of not being able to host our weekly Saturday adoption fairs and closing our on-site cat adoption facility to the public most of this year. Pets have provided an excellent structure and companionship for families who find their lives limited by school closings and COVID-19 restrictions. We are worried about the impact of facilities that spay and neuter cats and dogs who were closed or limited in their services due to COVID-19. It’s hard to say what that impact will look like in 2021, but we anticipate an uptick in homeless litters of kittens and puppies next year as a result.

AARF provides the veterinary care for the animals we take in, which is our organization’s biggest cost. Any animal adopted from AARF has, at minimum, spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchips, testing, flea, and heartworm preventative. With a perfectly healthy cat or dog, we basically break-even with each adoption. However, as a no-kill organization, we are committed to the best outcome for each animal we take into our program. This means that veterinary costs often exceed what would be considered routine. We make up the gaps with generous donations from folks in our community who care about animals and want to help. The best way to help AARF expand our reach and mission is to open your home to foster and/or adopt with AARF. Fosters are the lifeblood of our organization. Every foster in our program means that our capacity for care increases. By fostering with AARF, you can help countless animals find their forever homes.

If you would like to find out more about AARF, visit their website at


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