If ever there was a person renowned for their love and devotion to animals like St. Frances, it would be Rich. But instead of a saint’s halo, we would swap it out for a favorite battered hat, a pair of disco sunglasses, a sprinkle of mischief and merriment, and you would have the true embodiment of Rich.
Rich was, and will always be, Hopalong Animal Rescue’s Pied Piper (which was our nickname for him). Animals and people alike would follow him to the ends of the earth, and would be laughing or wagging their tails along the way. “He had a way about him” as anyone reading this or having known him can attest to, and he made EVERYONE feel uniquely special.
We were lucky enough to have Rich in our lives here at Hopalong for a long, long time. He was a dear volunteer, foster-dad and adopter, and had a true gift when it came to working with animals. There are many animal lovers out there, but there are few who have the natural instincts and abilities to work with and rehabilitate dogs whose spirits have been broken. He had more roles at Hopalong than any other as he was always the first to work every volunteer position we had, as well as being one of the few foster-parents who could turn around our most behaviorally challenged dogs. Everyone loved being with him as he kept everyone in stitches while working tirelessly, and got all of us through the most grueling of days.
We love this man fiercely, and miss him so much it’s unfathomable. Rich was BELOVED beyond words, a word we share with his family, and we know he touched so many others. We laugh through our tears as we recount endless stories of him, and in the end, realize that we are all so very lucky to have had him in our lives. We wanted others to know though that we aren’t the only ones; he had an undeniable gift working with animals, and he helped so many “underdogs” out there in the rescue world. All of our two and four-legged community members will forever remember and be grateful for our cherished, sainted, Pied-Piper of an underdog superhero.
THE MANY TAILS OF RICH
Everyone who has ever encountered Rich most likely has a wonderful and entertaining tale to tell. To celebrate his life and anyone’s good fortune for having been a part of it, we are inviting folks to share a special Rich memory or story of their own. We would love nothing more than to honor him by also learning how he has touched others, and we look forward to sharing our own animal stories of him as well. click here
Feel free to email our Executive Director, Juliet Boyd Juliet@hopalong.org, with a story or fond memory. We will post them on this site here for all to enjoy and help us through this healing process. You can even simply complete the sentence, “What I loved most about Rich was…” Feel free to include a picture(s) of Rich if you like as well. We will collect everything together in the end and create a book with all the stories and images bound together. We will update this page with more information on that soon.
THE RICH AINSWORTH RESCUE FUND
Rich could somehow convince the most challenging of rescue dogs to let down their guard, listen, learn and trust completely. Our toughest cases went to him, and came back trained, happy and adoptable. It was a gift to both us and the dogs. In addition, he loved every aspect of rescue work from driving animals to their spay / neuter appointments, helping bathe them when they first arrived from the shelter, unloading them off of planes when they flew in from out of state, and most importantly, attending the adoption events. He could charm an adopter, calm a nervous doggo under consideration, and keep all the staff and volunteers happy and laughing throughout the day. He was goddamn special.
For anyone interested in donating in Rich’s name, we have set up a “Rich Ainsworth Rescue Fund.” click here… All proceeds will go directly to the Hopalong rescue animals, their medical care, foster needs and adoption process. In addition, we will be blowing up a few of our favorite photos of Rich to life size, and placing them over our new, romperoom area for dogs. This is where the dogs who are full of beans go to play after arriving from the shelters, and we couldn’t think of a better area to gaze upon the gifted man we adored who so loved the art of play himself.
- Our donation page takes credit cards from around the world as well as Paypal.
- If using a credit card, there will be a drop down menu regarding the country you can select when filling out your billing info.
- Even though you select your country, you will still see that it still says City and State (how very American). You can ignore and fill out the boxes as it matches your own billing address.
- Lastly, below the billing area, you will see an optional dedication box. This is where you can add that your donation is for the “Rich Ainsworth Rescue Fund.” We will add a special page to the back of the book created listing any supporters of the fund without donated amounts included, or you can simply write that you would like to be anonymous.
Hopalong Animal Rescue
PO Box 27507
Oakland, CA 94602