Around Town

A Pawsitive Influence

Peace Dale’s Animal Rescue Rhode Island goes above and beyond for its furry friends


Animal Rescue Rhode Island (ARRI) has humble roots. In 1938, it started as a band of passionate volunteers operating out of a barn, determined to save stray, abandoned, and abused animals in their community. It has since expanded into a full-sized facility with staff, and has been rescuing dogs, cats, and small animals – like guinea pigs and rabbits – for over 80 years.

“We do everything we can to make adoptions last,” says Executive Director Michele Vidmar. This starts with providing a bright, airy space with lots of room for the animals, making them both happier and more social. According to Vidmar, about 500 pets were adopted out last year. However, “It doesn’t end when you walk out the door,” she says.

ARRI is not just dedicated to animal care and rescue, but also to education, support, and community outreach. The shelter hosts fundraising events like a Puppy Dog Fashion Show, an annual Jubilee, and a Bark on the Beach charity dog walk (October 13), in addition to a speaker series covering topics like pet nutrition and CPR, a community pet food pantry, classes on responsible pet ownership, Bark & Ride rescue and transport service, and plenty of opportunities to volunteer.

“Support comes from all different directions,” says Vidmar. “It’s really heartwarming.” Volunteers, from students to retirees, walk dogs, answer phones, clean cages, and maintain the grounds. Kids will even dedicate their lemonade stands or birthday parties to benefit the shelter.

Despite all that they already do, Vidmar reveals that there is even more in the pipeline for ARRI, like a comfort dog program for local schools, rehab centers, and elderly care facilities. This month, they will host a speaker on pet trusts on September 23 and their Paws to Party fundraising event at the Providence Marriott Aqua Poolside Lounge on September 27.