Happy Tails about AARF

Rescue's Ambitious Visions Under Construction Through the Generous Donations of Our Community
by Heidi Dahms Foster featured in Prescott Dog Magazine

Liz Stegmeir always had a dream to run her own dog rescue. She had plenty of experience, as she successfully managed the Circle L Ranch Animal Rescue for nine years until the division closed. She knew there was still a desperate need for more rescues in the Quad Cities area, and in 2018, AARF Animal Rescue and Sanctuary was born.

Liz and her brother, Steve, searched for a suitable property, and when they found 10 acres in Poland Junction, they knew they had found AARF's new home. They had raised the money to purchase the land, a former Arabian horse facility that included a beautiful barn and pastures with fencing, two wells, septic and electricity. When it came time to make the final purchase, the owner arrived and signed over the deed for the nearly half a million-dollar property free of charge" It was a God thing," Steve said.

Liz had a dream of how she wanted the property to look - a Western town theme with "bunkhouses" where dogs could have climate-controlled shelter with plenty of room to run outside as well. Thanks to the money they had saved on the purchase and the donations of generous animal lovers, Steve went to work and constructed the bunkhouses - areas with heat and air conditioning, comfortable indoor areas and spacious outdoor runs.

Steve and Liz

A Puppy Palace was placed in a quiet area of the property where pregnant moms who came in could give birth without stress and raise their pups until they are ready to be adopted. "Big Sandy's Puppy Palace" is named for the favorite dog of one of the donors.

AARF bunkhouse

The property also has a Memorial Garden to which people can donate benches, plants or other items in memory of their pet. The garden features a mural and donors can provide a photo of their pet to be painted on the mural.

Another addition to the property is a large fenced play park with an artificial turf area, a hydrant and more, donated by the family of a longtime area service dog trainer and rescue supporter Gary DeGeronimo.

Volunteers are present almost all hours.

The AARF property, through constant and continuing work, is clean, orderly and attractive. The rescue is working now to finish its capacity for dogs one or two more large bunkhouses. Some of the dogs can run together but others need some space to themselves.

Before lumber prices rose so high, AARF was able to build a bunkhouse for about $5,000 including climate control and fencing. Now the same building is running $6,000 to $7,000 and AARF may have to scale down the size of the houses.


Donations come in many forms, and there are many ways for animal lovers to help the rescue finish its building project. AARF was in need of a backhoe, and when one couple found out, they gave the money to purchase one from funds left to them by family, knowing it would please their family member.

Other people donate supplies, some volunteer their time and skills and yet others donate money when they can. Gift cards for Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply, and other such stores are appreciated as they can be used to purchase needed supplies and building materials.


The entire cost for the smaller 8 x 12 bunkhouses is about $5,500

  • Concrete (for pad) $250
  • Framing Lumber $800
  • Doors/Windows $450
  • Insulation $ 25
  • Metal Roofing/Interior $900
  • Siding $250
  • Doggie Door $100
  • Miscellaneous Materials $200
  • Fencing $2,500
  • AC/Heating Unit $500

AARF is currently seeking "Ranch Rescue Partners" to help complete the property and allow for rescue of more dogs. Any donation will be appreciated, and its use can be designated. "Any donations of $100 or more gives the donor a space on the picket fence at the next house, our Blacksmith Shop," said volunteer, Shirley Culliney. "We will add a name or a date to honor a memory or give a tribute."

If you would like a tour of the Out of the Shelters Ranch (AARF) to see how your donation will be used, to donate, or volunteer, please call 928-925-7219. For more information on AARF, visit, aarfrescue.org.

AARF Animal Rescue

6639 S. Country Road
Mayer, AZ 86333

(928) 925-7219

Business Hours
Tuesday: 9AM - 5PM
Wednesday: 9AM - 5PM
Thursday: 9AM - 5PM
Friday: 9AM - 5PM
Saturday: 9AM - 5PM