The Story of Mike Arms
Michael Arms is a pioneer in the animal welfare industry. He is recognized worldwide as the creator of both the International Pet Adopt-a-thon and Home 4 the Holidays adoption campaigns, as well as the Remember Me Thursday adoption awareness campaign. Mike is credited in the last 40 years with saving the lives of millions of orphan animals.
A life altering experience while at the ASPCA in the late sixties defined Mike and has benefited orphan animals to this day. After handing in his resignation and with only six days left, Mike had to fill in on a call for a dog hit by a car. Upon his arrival he saw a dog that had been hit with such force that his back was broken. Three men came out of a nearby doorway and told Mike that he wasn’t taking the dog anywhere: they were taking bets on how long it was going to live. Mike bent to lift the injured puppy into the ambulance anyway, so the men attacked Mike with a bottle, a baseball bat and a knife. The little dog that should not have been able to move crawled to Mike’s side to lick him to consciousness. It was a true epiphany for Arms who asked God: “Let me live, and I promise you, I will do everything in my lifetime to protect them.” Mike has remained true to his word since then.
Following his position with the ASPCA, and 20 years at North Shore Animal League, Mike worked as an adoptions consultant on a national and international scale until he accepted the position of President of Helen Woodward Animal Center (the “Center”) in 1999.
Under Mike’s guidance, the Center’s programs began to grow and evolve. The Adoptions team quickly doubled, then tripled the number of pet adoptions each month, and have continually grown, reaching record-breaking numbers in the past few years. The Education program has set records for the number of youngsters that are receiving humane education, rising from fewer than 4,000 to over 15,000 per year. The Business of Saving Lives workshops, created by Mike and taught by the Center’s team leaders, teach participants more effective ways to find families for orphan pets, as well as how to raise money to support their dreams, including the use of public relations and social media to brand their businesses. Overall, these workshops and conferences teach the successful running of a non-profit organization using business principles to enhance the lives of more pets and people. More than 600 organizations from over 40 states and 20 countries have been represented at these workshops since 2002, attended by over 1,800 people. Over 14,000 people have attended speaking engagements by Mike worldwide whether at a conference, a corporate event, an organization assessment or as the keynote presenter. The Home 4 the Holidays campaign now includes over 4,100 organization participants in over 23 countries who have jointly adopted out over 17 million pets since 1999.
Most recently, Mike created the extremely moving Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign, which encourages individuals to light a candle (literally or virtually), and help promote awareness by sharing our message in their network 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. In 2015, the third annual campaign resulted in 253 million social media impressions, over 13,000 tweets and trended on both Facebook and Instagram across over 100 countries!
Mike Arms. Just one more reason why Helen Woodward Animal Center is known around the globe as, “The Animal Center of the Future!”