Scott Howe, the executive director of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons talk about what drew him to work with non-profits, what the future holds for ARF and a capital campaign aimed and giving the animals at the Wainscott facility a greater quality of life.
By Lindsay Andarakis
Have you always wanted to work with animals?
I’ve wanted to be so many things. When I was a kid growing up, my best friend was an Old English Sheepdog named Daisy, and Daisy and I used to pretend we were astronauts first, and then we were architects together, then we were engineers playing in sand piles in the backyard. I’ve always worked with non-profits, so that for me is what makes ARF make sense, but I think animals have always had a really special role in my life, and I think I’m just fortunate that now I’m finally able to connect those two parts of my life.
What do you find most rewarding about working with non-profits?
Working with a dedicated group of people, that includes the staff, the board, the volunteers who are committed to a cause that makes our communities and our world a better place. They do the things that for-profit companies can’t do.
What plans do you have for the future of ARF?
ARF has already set itself on an ambitious course to save as many lives of cats and dogs as possible and we’re really fortunate in that we have an incredibly supportive community here on the East End that helps us find loving homes for animals who through no fault of their own are homeless. And so, ARF is already looking at ways that we can take advantage of where we are and working to increase the number of lives we save every year, and that’s our dedicated purpose. We’re looking at all parts of the organization so we can work better to achieve that goal.
What is the status of the three new buildings in the capital campaign (a cat sanctuary, dog sanctuary and indoor dog training center)?
We are still in the early stages of looking at ways that ARF can continue to not only grow but also serve and care for the animals better in a facility that is really state of the art and designed with the needs and welfare of the animals we care for in mind. So, part of that is developing a plan that would show how we would grow, if that were possible, and so that’s part of what we’re working on. We’re looking at these plans, asking ourselves what will it cost not only to build these buildings but to operate them, and how ARF can do so in a way that is sustainable, that we can afford. It’s just like any organization, you always need to have a goal in mind, something you’re always striving for but at the same time you have to plan for how you’re going to get there and how you’re going to maintain and support your operation because it would grow.
We believe there are more homes here on the East End and on Long Island for animals and we’ve proven that there is as many loving homes as animals we can find, so the question is, how can we grow to meet that demand for homes. Part of what animal welfare does is take animals from areas where they’re at risk, where they are homeless and where they will be euthanized because they are in shelters where communities can’t support them, and we’re fortunate here on Long Island because we can support them. There are so many homes and people looking for animals and ARF is filling that need. We take animals from here on the East End but there is capacity for even more than that. So we bring animals from other areas of the country and we find homes for them here.
Are there any events coming up?
We have one very large benefit for the summer that is called our Bow, Wow, Meow Ball that is on August 20, and unlike all the other events out here. I’d like to think ours is probably the most fun in that dogs and cats are invited. We are really able to showcase our mission over the course of the night and dinner. It’s more than an excuse to have a fancy dinner, it is directly connected to the work we do every day and that’s what makes it very special.
We are regularly doing events that help serve pet owners in our community. On July 16 at the thrift shop in Sagaponack, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. we’re going to do a low-cost vaccine clinic and adopt-a-thon. So current dog owners can bring their pets and we will offer vaccinations and microchipping for ten dollars each. We will also have the ARF adoption van there with animals for adoption.
For more information, visit arfhamptons.org.