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Daily Inspiration: Meet Aaron Fisher

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaron Fisher. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe’s CEO and Founder, Aaron Fisher, taught elementary school for seven years, spent more than 12 years volunteering and working in animal welfare, and has been working with at-risk youth since the early ’90s. He first came to Atlanta in 1993 to attend Emory University, and his love for the city has only grown since.

The idea for ARDC was born from these experiences. His students were often too young to volunteer with animals (but really wanted to learn more about pets). Yet, no single organization was primarily dedicated to educating the community about animal welfare, how to care for pets and be safer around animals, and what we – as a community – can do to prevent pets from becoming strays or entering shelters in the first place. That’s what motivated Aaron to start ARDC in late 2017. During the first few years, their programs reached, on average, 500 participants/month. Since Covid, and due to the demand for virtual programs, ARDC’s programming now reaches more than 1,000 participants a month! Since 2017, ARDC’s programs have reached more than 23,000 participants, 70% of whom are children, and 60% are from Title One schools and under-served communities.

Despite so much good that’s been accomplished for Atlanta’s pets, the number of animals entering area shelters continues to increase, as does the incidence of animal cruelty. Yet, few local rescue groups offer the educational resources to help prevent pets from entering shelters in the first place. Simply put, we’re not going to spay/neuter, shelter, or adopt our way out of the pet overpopulation and animal cruelty problems. ARDC addresses the root causes of these issues through innovative pet therapy, community-building, and humane education programs that focus on the critical aspects of prevention and healthy human-animal interactions.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Nothing about starting your own enterprise (especially a nonprofit) is ever smooth. There’s always learning that occurs and missteps on the journey. Especially when you’re doing something that hasn’t been done before and for which there’s no “roadmap.” But that’s also what makes the process so rich and enjoyable.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
No other organization does what ARDC does. While there are lots of animal welfare and rescue organizations out there doing amazing work, their main focus is on caring for pets once they enter the shelter system (where, inevitably, some animals will have to be put down due to lack of space, time in the shelter, or resources). We’re the only organization whose sole focus is on helping to keep pets in loving, forever homes, off the streets, and out of shelters.

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