The Helen Woodward Animal Centre, San Diego CA - Prepare To Be Inspired

This week myself and Kelly, @springermom one of our San Diego members, were privileged to be invited on a tour the Helen Woodward Animal Centre in San Diego, California where we met the President and CEO Michael M. Arms, VP of Development Renée Resko and Barry Siegel, Development & Sponsorship all of whom Mathew Prior, TrustedHousesitters CEO & Jo Lavender TrustedHousesitters CMO also met, on a recent visit to the Centre during their February business trip to San Diego.

If you are unfamiliar with the work that this ground breaking, innovative and dedicated centre does then please visit their website and prepare to be inspired … just as we are.


What a fabulous organisation … I knew of them but hadn’t ever taken more than a quick glance at their website… this morning I got lost online reading about all the wonderful work they’ve done over many decades!! Made me want to be house sitting in San Diego to take up some of the volunteer options that are available. What an opportunity that would be for sitters, before or after a sit!!

I have a question for you both @Angela-CommunityManager @springermom Three words to describe how you felt on arrival and another three for how you felt at the end of your tour! (That should get you in the discourse minimum characters :grin:)


Completely agree with you Vanessa, this is a truly fabulous organisation… and yes we definitely would love to go and take up some of the volunteer options available.
@Angela-CommunityManager @springermom …. So lucky!! :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you @Vanessa-Admin

On arrival … not my first visit but first VIP Tour

  • Privileged
  • Moved
  • Impressed

At the end of the tour

  • Inspired
  • Energized
  • Hopeful

I’d like to share Michael M. Arms the CEO’s story … one of the most moving and inspirational stories I have ever been fortunate to hear …

Mike, he wont mind if I call him that, came from Southern US and grew up on a farm. The one thing he knew that he didn’t want to do was work with animals. He wanted to move away to the big city and “Make his fortune”

He moved to New York and got a job with the ASPCA … at the time he didn’t know exactly what they did.

Six months after starting with at the ASPCA he had lost 25 pounds, was at a point of utter despair with the way animals were being treated each and every day. He had given in his notice and was leaving. Just before his last day, one late afternoon an ER call about a dog that had been hit by a car came in, there were no inspectors available so he put on an ASPCA jacket and took the ER truck to the accident.

When he arrived he found a small black and tan terrier so badly injured, it was apparent to Mike that this poor soul was not going to survive. Mike picked him up and held him close, the puppy stopped shaking and relaxed into his arms.

Just then three men walked out of an apartment block towards Mike and told him to put the dog down, Mike asked why, is it your dog?

“No we have bets on how long it’s going to live”

He refused to let the dog go, while they were arguing one of the men went behind Mike and stabbed him three times, falling to the ground he felt the life leaving him and became unconscious.

He was brought back to life by this little dog licking his face and when he looked into it’s eyes he said “I looked into my own soul and at that point I vowed I would give my life to saving animals, just as this little dog had saved mine”

Mike survived and has lived up to his promise to that little terrier.

“My heart is all animal, my brain is all business, hearts don’t save animals, Helen Woodward is run like a business that is the only way we can help the animals and help the people help the animals”

The work and the programs HWW run are innovative and nothing short of inspirational.

They pass on their knowledge, learnings and expertise to other organizations around the world … for free. For example three day workshops for shelters and rescue centers at no cost teams get to them, they will share.

Please take the time to explore their website, if in San Diego seek them out and if you can please donate and help them continue to help the animals and communities across the US and around the world.