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From ballpark to rescue! Tony La Russa is best known as the former St. Louis Cardinals baseball team manager and is a former basketball player. What you may not know about La Russa is he has an award-winning and nationally recognized animal rescue foundation. 

Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) was founded in 1991 with the mission of helping rescue animals find their forever home. Since then, the foundation has rescued more than 40,000 animals including cats and dogs. 

"People Rescuing Animals…Animals Rescuing People.®"

In 2011, the Animal Rescue Foundation launched their Pets and Vets program as a service for rescue dogs and U.S. military veterans and heroes. This is the ARF’s flagship program that trains rescue dogs to be service companions for veterans ailed by PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more. While veterans are readjusting back into civilian life and communities, the companionship of a service dog also gives the newly trained rescues a forever home. 

Most service dog programs come at high costs for veterans financially and time wise. The ARF sets a precedent with their program being thoughtful in their matches yet speedy and the program comes at no cost to veterans. 

What stands out most about the ARF’s Pets and Vets program - aside from their well-structured curriculum for the rescues and vets - is their lack of discrimination towards dog breeds! Their site reads:

ARF's Pets and Vets program places exclusively rescued dogs. Many of these dogs received a second chance after facing an uncertain future in a public shelter.
ARF does not consider breed mix as a factor in selection, and screens dogs for qualities including focus, confidence, calmness, and response to reward-based training. We assess aptitude through evaluation at ARF and for a period in a foster home. Graduating teams are re-certified on an annual basis.

We applaud Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation for their excellent work in Saving Both Ends of the Leash


Are you a veteran receiving treatment in Contra Costa or Alameda county, or are located within 30 miles of the ARF campus in Walnut Creek, California? Are you looking for a companion and service animal? Contact their Veteran Programs Manager at petsandvets@arflife.org.

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