Our President-Mike Arms

Helen Woodward Animal Center President Michael Arms is a pioneer in the animal welfare industry. He is recognized worldwide as the creator of both the International Pet Adoptathon and "Home 4 the Holidays". Mike is credited with saving the lives of more orphaned animals than anyone else in the history of the planet.

Since his arrival in 1999, Helen Woodward Animal Center has grown dramatically. Pet adoptions have leaped to record levels. Our Education program has multiplied as we teach children about the unconditional love that only comes from animals. And our therapy programs touch the lives of tens of thousands of people each year.

Mike Arms has created numerous successful events and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center, including the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in 2005, and the HOPE Telethon, all of which help raise funds and awareness for orphan pets, as well as other Helen Woodward Animal Center programs.

Mike also created the ACES (Animal Center Education Services) Conference and workshops, which teach participants more effective ways to find families for orphaned pets. Animal shelter workers from the United States, Argentina, Canada, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Ireland, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Romania, and Singapore have traveled to Helen Woodward Animal Center to learn the business of saving lives.  Two international conferences held off-site also connected expertise, innovation and industry leaders to save precious lives and positively transform animal welfare. Participants go away with tried-and-true techniques to improve their fundraising skills, education concepts, volunteer management, public relations, social media and marketing efforts in order to increase their adoptions and advance animal welfare in their organization and their community.

Mike Arms has his own blog called ‘What Would Mike Say?’, dedicated to educating and empowering animal welfare organizations in 'the business of saving lives.' Mike gives tips and advice on how to increase adoptions, market your animals and raise money for your organization or cause.

Most recently, Mike created the extremely popular Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign, which encourages individuals to light a candle (literally or virtually) on the fourth Thursday of September, every year, and to “opt to adopt,” with the hope of reducing the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year. Grass roots programs and events sprung up around the world, in countries such as: Japan, Puerto Rico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Spain and many more. Over 4,500 candles were lit at the Remember Me Thursday virtual candle gallery, while thousands more were lit at ceremonies honoring orphan pets around the globe. 

Mike Arms. Just one more reason why Helen Woodward Animal Center is known around the globe as, "The Animal Center of the Future!"

The Story of Mike Arms

Mike Arms came to animal welfare in a most unusual way. He arrived in New York in the 1960's ready to take on the world and with the desire to make it big. An employment agency suggested that he might take a position at the ASPCA because it would look good on his resume. Mike didn't even know what an ASPCA was at that time. The stress of seeing the horrors that mankind perpetrated against the animals of New York quickly became too much for Mike, as the ASPCA was killing over 140,000 innocent animals a year at that time. He gave his resignation and was running away from animal welfare.

With just six days to go until his last day, Mike got a call that there was a dog hit by a car on Davidson Avenue in the Bronx. There were no ambulance drivers available, so he took off his suit jacket and put on an ambulance driver jacket and drove out to the accident scene. Upon his arrival he saw a black and tan shepherd/terrier mix lying in the street. The dog had been hit with such force that his back was broken - he was literally bent in half. As Mike approached the injured dog three men came out of a nearby doorway and asked him what he was doing. Arms calmly explained that the little dog was dying and he was taking him to the hospital. The men told him that he wasn't taking the dog anywhere. Mike inquired as to if it was their dog and they said, "No, but we are taking bets on how long it is going to live." Arms told them they were sick and turned to lift the dog into the ambulance. As he bent to lift the injured puppy, the men attacked him with a bottle to the head followed by the smack of a baseball bat and the sharp pain of a knife thrust into his hip and shoulder. Mike was knocked unconscious and as he lay in the street bleeding the little dog, who should not have been able to move, crawled to Mike's side to lick him awake.

It was a true epiphany for Arms as he spoke to God and said "Let me live, and I promise you, I will do everything in my lifetime to protect them." Mike has remained true to his word as the man who has saved more animals than any other person, living or dead, in animal welfare history.


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