Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog The Change! A Guest Blog By Cristin Hipke Founder Of Animal Rescues Of Michigan

I get asked frequently why I started Animal Rescues of Michigan.

  I never really have been on a world domination track (sadly), but I've always been extremely driven, goal oriented, stubborn, and ... well, bossy.  I'm a people person.  Give me a hint of attention and I'll draw you into a conversation that will probably boggle your mind (and make you wonder where mine went).  I can talk to anyone, about anything and I'm a book worm, with just enough techy geekiness to make me dangerous.

When I was a little girl, one of the things I wanted most in the world was a puppy.  I remember the day we got Beauty (also Black Beauty, as she was a beautiful black lab mix girl with a white blaze on her chest and nose).  I couldn't tell you where we got her from, how we got her, because the second I was in the car with her, nothing else mattered.  She was the center of my universe and I loved her more than I had loved anything else in my life, even more than I loved my parents.  She returned that love and adoration with tail wags, sloppy, puppy fang filled kisses, and by throwing herself onto me.  We were in heaven.

Until allergies struck.  Not mine, mind you, but a family member who, for some reason, didn't want to live in a "people house" in the back yard.  Shockingly enough.  After a few short days in heaven, my beautiful Beauty had to go back.

Fast forward to my sophomore/junior year of college.  It was a wintery, windy evening.  The light snow was swirling around my third floor apartment deck, while I was curled up on the couch, reading.  A muffled wail reaches my ears.  Again the wail sounds.  As it slowly penetrates my brain, reaching through the fog of my wonderful book, comprehension dawns.  At first the only thing I could think of making that sound was a small child, but no one would leave a child near my deck.  Peering out into the snow swirls, I see a flash of orange.  The wail sounds again.  Snow moves for a nonwind reason.  I open my sliding door, stick my head out, and before more than a few snow flakes had landed on my head, I felt snow cold on my feet.  Looking down, I see a young, thin, striking orange cat staring back at me.  Her yellow green eyes bore into my head and the thought "This stupid human can't even close the door" rings through my mind as snow flies into my apartment.

After the typical freak out (thankfully with all the doors to the outside closed), including a call to my parents, a call to every vet in the area, a run to a convenience store for the kitty necessities, my brain kicked back on.

I didn't want a pet.  Didn't need a pet.  I was too busy, had too many things to do, never had a cat.... my brain was back on all right, but now it was running in circles.  Trying to find a rescue or group to take this (now purring) cat in with only the information available on the internet was a battle worthy of the saints and archangels.  Finally, in desperation, I founded a group that I was pretty sure was in my area, wrote them an email, and crossed my fingers.

This event was the beginning of Animal Rescues of Michigan, although I didn't know it at the time.  After the organization accepted "Pretty girl" into their program, I discovered the joys of cat foster parenthood, cat care, cat temperament, attitudes, and peculiarities.

Finding Crazy a place that could take him and take care of him was my priority.  Keeping him safe and happy for that family was my privilege.  As it turned out, I was keeping him safe and happy for myself, but that's besides the point.
Crazy was thrown out of his house during a Michigan winter.  His (probably) first family didn't care enough about him to do any research to find a group, organization, or shelter to take him until someone else feel in love with his personality, attitude, and loving self.

Let me say that again, they threw him out.  He was disposable.  His life mattered so little that they couldn't even be bothered to leave their home to take him to a shelter.  He was less then a year old when he found me that wintery day.  He's one of the incredibly lucky 20% that survive a Michigan winter outdoors at that age.

Indeed, Crazy entering my life was the start of the seed that blossomed into the Animal Rescues of Michigan.  There is no reason, no sense, no way I could begin to understand why it was so difficult to find information about reputable animal rescue organizations and shelters.  If I could find a completely obscure text book online that's only available in foreign countries, I should have been able to find more information about reputable local animal organizations.  Because if I, as a dedicated researcher at that time could only find 1 animal rescue and 1 animal shelter, how could donors, potential volunteers, or potential pet parents find these groups? Then, as a volunteer for local organizations, I should be able to tell people trying to find something that my organization doesn't have, be it room to take in another pet or a specific kind of pet, I should be able to tell them "But you should try [insert other local animal organization name] because either they have space or they have what you're looking for."  But I couldn't even do that and yes, this was after

That's why I started the Animal Rescues of Michigan.  I wanted to make it easier for people in this technologically advanced day to find events going on near them that will benefit animals, to find ways to benefit their animals, to work with the animal community near them and to know of the needs of the animal community near them.  I wanted animal organizations in a community  to be able to talk to each other, work with each other, and stop looking at each other as competition.  So if one group has a need, other groups can help fill that need.  Every day I dedicate to Crazy and the rest of my fuzzy horde, all of whom are rescues.  Every day I work to improve the animal situation in Michigan so that hopefully, some day in the future, there are no more homeless pets in our state, so that no more animals are abused or neglected.


So thank you Crazy.  Thank you Nyx.  Thank you Jazzi.  Thank you Dyson.  And Sweetie, I know you're only my foster kitty, but thank you as well.


  1. Oh, Cristin, you are amazing! So spot-on about the need for both information - and for working around the competition that often exists among rescues. Thank you for all you do!

    Caren, thank you for offering this wonderful guest post -

    Thanks for blogging the change!
    Kim from

  2. @CindyLu/Kim, you are sooo right! Cristin IS amazing! She is truly one of the most kind-hearted people I know (and HILARIOUSLY FUNNY!!!) she is on Twitter @AAR_MI and @C_Hipke (hope she doesn't mind that I gave the last one out lol)...
    I met her on Twitter and have known her for quite some time now. She is incredible. I should have had her do a guest post waaaaay before this! Whatever was I thinking?????
    She is incredible...truly incredible! Thank you for appreciating everything that is Cristin!

  3. This makes me so glad. To read of such cruelty and inhumane treatment but to know that some people ARE like brilliant suns shining in that horrible darkness makes me feel a little less heartbroken. I support the local feral cat "society" here. They take care of the colonies, feed them, get them to the Vet for shots and neutering and spaying. Tip their ears and go on to the next poor waifs abandoned and starving.

  4. Awwww yay for Crazy!!! And yay for you Cristin for taking in Crazy and getting inspired to start your rescue centre! What a fab story!!!

    thanks for sharing, take care

  5. What a wonderful post for Blog the Change! Thank you for all you do, Cristin, this is a beautiful story and I admire your work so much. And I love the photos, what precious cuties!
    Thank you for sharing this post, Caren!

  6. I am so very thankful every day that there are humans out there like her!!!

  7. Caren, my husband and I talk so often about how scattered rescue resources are. Thanks for hosting this guest post from Cristin. What a great idea!

    Thanks for Blogging the Change!
    Kim from

  8. What a pleasure it is to meet you Cristin, what you are doing is a wonderful thing. I am most impressed with the way you are using technology to reach out to the community. Many animals in your area will have a chance at a happy life because of your efforts.

    Our area has a great Humane society that also sponsors our Cat Management Coalition. The coalition uses TNR to help control the feral cat population in this area. I got involved with them when a feral mama deposited a litter in my yard. All of the babies and mama have been spayed/neutered, given shots and a microchip. They are still wild but living happily in my yard. I now volunteer with the Coalition, in fact I am keeping my phone close as I am on call if someone needs help with the traps or transportation to tomorrow's spay/neuter clinic.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Wowsers. Thank you all for reading and your comments. Honestly, before you all praise me too much, please remember, that without the animal organizations TO help, well, we'd all be hurting a whole lot more then we are now and I would've had to start a whole different organization. So please (please please please), support your local organizations! Hold your local shelters accountable for their kill rates. Stay involved. Then, after all that, if you still feel like you could do more :) trust me, I can put you to work.

    Sorry, I'll stop preaching to the choir. But really folks, I'm not that special. I do appreciate all of your kind words and encouragement, I think I'll print them out and carry them around with me for those downer days. Thank you again, go forth and help a pet today! :)

  10. Cristin, thanks for going the extra mile on behalf of rescue animals. I never stop loving reading about people working to affect positive changes in the world.

  11. People who rescue animals are beyond wonderful

  12. Hi Guys! sorry I haven't been able to reply to all of the great comments you left Cristin (who is beyond worthy!) but I have been incredibly busy trying to get ready for the Jewish holiday of Passover that is Monday night. I have having 10 people here...running like a crazy all know how it is when you have people over!
    @Alittlesprite I will do my best to get over to your friend....I am sorry I am sooo behind on reading blogs, behind on my Twitter follows, behind on everything!

  13. Disposable animals. Makes me sooooo mad! Love rescuers; terrific people.

  14. Cristin - Thank Cat there are people like you in this crazy world of animal abuse. Thank you Caren to calling people like Cristin to our attention. Hearing something positive like Cristen at the end of the day over shadows all the abuse I've heard about today. Bless you both.

  15. what a cool rescues
    Benny & Lily

  16. Oh that Lady is my Hero! I think I lubz her.

    And as much as I complain about my Human, well...I guess I was pretty lucky she came along :-)

  17. @Mario and EVERYONE I am sure Cristin will love/appreciate your comments, I agree with you Mario, there are some people who go the extra mile (frankly Mario your MOMMY is one of them)...and so is Cristin. Thank you for your beautiful words and blessings to you too! xoxo are sooo silly! Yes you are lucky your human came along

    THANK YOU EVERYONE for your comments...Cristin sure deserves the LOVE!

  18. Wonderful post - cheers for Cristin!

  19. Cristin, I'm so very thankful there are people in this world like you. I would like to believe that a time could come when there is no need for rescue groups, but sadly, I don't think it will ever come. Bless you for all that you do.

  20. Cristin, I always feel so happy to read about wonderful people like you. You do change the world!!
    Thank you for sharing the story.

  21. Wonderful guest post!

  22. What a super-great post! And what great pets.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  23. Dear Cristin,
    What a wonderful job you've done to our pet friends, you're like a ray of sunlight to them and I'm so glad to know about you here.
    The world will be much much better and full of hope if there are more people like you too!!!

  24. This story is proof that one person can make a difference!


  25. Thank you all again for your wonderful, kind comments!