The Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) of Tony La Russa is an award-winning, nationally recognized pioneer with its special mission of saving people from animals … rescuing people ®. ARF was founded in 1991 and has rescued over 43,000 cats and dogs. ARF raises pets in our culture, strengthens relations, and strengthens the bond between humans and animals.
ARF is a privately funded 501(c)(3 ) non-profit organization, based in Walnut Creek, California, sponsored by donors in all 50 states and worldwide. For the 13th consecutive year, ARF received the highest possible ranking-four stars-from Charity Navigator in 2020.
The inspiration for ARF came in a televised baseball match between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees on May 7, 1990. A stray tortoiseshell cat looking for food took a wrong turn in the middle of an inning and amidst applause from fans, and unexpectedly found herself on the playing field.
Trapped in the vast Oakland Coliseum and terrified by the crowd’s roar, the frenzied cat squeezed across the ground, jumping desperately for some means of escape and eluding the players and umpires who were trying to catch her. She was panicked and unable to find a way out, and slinked to the infield, exhausted by her ordeal. Tony La Russa, the Oakland Athletics manager at the time, gently coaxed her into the A’s dugout, where she would spend the remainder of the game in safe confines.
In the East Bay section of the San Francisco Bay Area, Tony and his wife Elaine, a life-long animal lover, learned there was no single no-kill shelter and that the little cat would definitely be euthanized. They took her under their wing and exhausted every lead, trying to find a safe haven for her. Named after Oakland A’s team owner, Evie Haas, they were finally able to put “Evie” in a permanent, caring home where she could enjoy her normal life.
Evie wouldn’t be Tony’s last career save.
Elaine and Tony were awakened by the experience to the awareness of the dire conditions in besieged public animal shelters and the plight of abandoned dogs and cats and were inspired to take action. They co-founded ARF less than a year later with the intention of saving dogs and cats before running out of time at high-kill shelters.
ARF worked tirelessly in donated office space with a small team of motivated volunteers to save the lives of more than one hundred dogs and cats in its first year. It was not long until the board of directors of ARF realized that the extraordinary role they play in people’s lives is of equal importance to the rescue of animals. ARF’s dual “People Rescue Animals … Animals Rescue People ®” mission was born.
This wonderful location is located in the Ygnacio Valley Neighborhood of Walnut Creek, California:
- The Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery
- Shadelands Ranch Museum
- The Ultimate Fieldhouse
- Calicraft Brewing Company
All of these wonderful locations are located just a short distance from our location located at 2890 North Main Street! Stop by for a visit anytime!