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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Virginia Incorporated

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Services, Animals

Mission: To inspire compassion for all living things, to provide shelter to animals in need, and to promote adoptions, animal welfare, and responsible pet ownership in our community.

Results: In 2016: We assisted more than 2,000 animals. Many of these animals came to us with serious medical and behavioral issues. We were able to help critically sick and injured animals, like Arielle, a shepherd puppy who came to us with a deformity of her spine who would need surgery to help her walk and live her life as a normal dog. With the incredible support of our donors and community partners, we were able to provide Arielle with the surgery she needed. We collaborated with 37 shelters and rescue groups in Virginia and the D.C. metro area to help place animals in need of loving families. We also continued our relationship with Humane Society International and to aid more dogs rescued from meat farms in South Korea, helping to educate people in the United States about the plight of dogs raised for food. We expanded our foster program and facilitated hundreds of placements of animals in foster care. This allowed us to provide care for underage animals, animals who needed extra care, and animals with behavioral needs that were better addressed in a home environment. This past year, more than 250 volunteers donated nearly 14,000 hours of time to AWLA. The time our volunteers donated is equivalent to more than 6 1/2 full-time staff. We collaborated with the Alexandria Police Department to create general police orders for animals to give clear direction to police officers on how to handle animals and animal issues in the field. We rescued animals and investigated/charged cases of criminal animal abuse and neglect and took these to the Virginia's Commonwealth and the City Attorney for prosecution, helping to ensure the safety of Alexandria's Animals.

Target demographics: animals including domestic and wild

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 2000 animals

Geographic areas served: the City of Alexandria and surrounding areas of Northern Virginia

Programs: sheltering of over 2000 animals per year and investigating cases of animal abuse and neglect

Community Stories

58 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We adopted Joshua from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria over a year ago and it was a very good experience. We very much appreciate the work of the shelter in helping animals find forever homes

Greg M.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love this place. The staff and other volunteers are outstanding. It's clear how much everyone cares.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer with the AWLA of Alexandria as both a dog and cat volunteer. I am constantly impressed with how every animal is given individual attention and care. I often hope that every homeless animal finds its way to a shelter like this one.

Sylvia G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a foster parent volunteer for the past year, AWLA volunteers and staff are wonderful to work with and really, really care about all our furry friends and want your adoption experience to be a wonderful one . Please consider adopting your furever new addition to your family from AWLA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a foster volunteer and an adopter, I have seen the great work they do at this shelter. Everyone is working hard to take great care of each and every animal. They go above and beyond to help the animals whether it be provide medication, exercise, special training... I have fostered over 10 dogs for this shelter and adopted our dog Izzy from them. Izzy is the best dog ever because of the care and training they provided! I wouldn't adopt from any other shelter!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at the shelter a couple years ago and it has been such a great experience. I've gotten to work in so many different roles and learned so much about dogs and animal welfare. They really care about the animals and focus on their wellbeing and getting them into forever homes!

Jo-Ann G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering in mid March 2019, there is a lot of training for volunteers before you can walk the dogs, be with the cats and SMAMS. Training classes are always available. It took me about a month before I adopted a senior (Tyga-yorkie mix) to be a companion to the senior dog (Oreo -Shizuh mix) I already had! (Bad part of volunteering lol!)

Most importantly, the animals are very well cared for. Everyone works as a team, whether it is staff or volunteers. There are so many fosters that do a great job getting kittens and puppies ready for new homes. Everyone is truly devoted to all the residents living there. I love that there are so many adoption events, a kids summer camp, reading to cats, field trips, etc.

I love taking a dog on a field trip to Old Town on Friday mornings. I try to find a dog during the week to take, luckily they sometimes get adopted before Friday!

Denise H.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been a volunteer at AWLA since 2012 and my time spent at the shelter is truly a highlight of my week because the work is so rewarding. The volunteer camaraderie is strong and the staff have done wonders in bringing in new volunteers and developing a strong training program.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The shelter protects the animals and gives them their own space. The shelter helps animals with injuries. The shelter also socializes the animals so they aren't afraid when they go to their new home.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been with AWLA for almost one year. We help out every Saturday with cleaning the cat and small animal enclosures and have cared for three cats (Betsy, Spot and Malala) in our home through AWLA’s foster program. AWLA is a fabulous place filled with people (staff and volunteers) who are as crazy about animals and animal welfare as me. I still find myself wanting to take home all the animals, especially the seniors, but I am comforted that AWLA is dedicated to finding suitable homes for all animals in their care.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a foster volunteer with AWLA for a little over two years. The staff is amazing in answering questions and responding at all hours when there is an emergency. Even though I've had cats my entire life learning how to care for pregnant moms, neonate's and cats with medical issues has been a whole new chapter of pet care. As I write this there are 4 kittens running around my house and with each litter I shed a few tears as they head out to adoption. The great thing is I know the staff at AWLA is finding them great forever homes.

Tracie M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently moved out of Alexandria and the thing I miss most is AWLA. I was a volunteer there for a year and appreciated the way I was welcomed into the fold.

AWLA requires volunteers to go through training for each role they want to fill. Because the training is so good staff can then trust volunteers to work autonomously while giving us the assurances that staff will always be there to help with questions and support. I felt really valued there as a volunteer. Later I also fostered cats and I received the same level of staff support when I needed behavioral advice on my fosters.

Everyone at AWLA understands they are there to serve both animals and people. Everyone’s goal is to facilitate great matches, and there are smiles all around whenever a longtime resident finds his or her perfect family.

1 David F.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to the Virginia area a few years ago and didn’t know anybody. I wanted to get involved in my community and took a chance on the Alexandria shelter. It certainly was life-changing! This is a first-class facility with exceptional staff and volunteers. No matter what role you choose, it will be certainly rewarding. I volunteer, help out with outside projects, have adopted and I continue to foster dogs. Simply do the one hour orientation and learn. You will be hooked!

Diana102

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I foster at the AWLA (Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.) I have done it for over 20 + years. Every year we save animals in shelters all over the country and bring home poor, left to die, animals from all over the world who have never been loved. We care for homeless animals and protect them from domestic or street abuse.

Pups and cats are the largest population of guests in our care. Some need more training before they can be adopted and that is where our Dream Team of Staff, Volunteers and Fosters come in. They are taught to work with the shy ones and anxious loves before they are adoptable. We also diagnose and treat new arrivals for medical problems and our donors support them with gracious contributions. We, after all, serve the Alexandria area known for its love of owning many dogs and kitties along with the little special categories of pets.

Yes, we have wee little pets too from the exotic to the bunnies and turtles and birds and volunteers and staff who will train new owners. I learn so much from them. It is always fascinating.

This animal shelter volunteer program is extraordinary. New volunteers start by participating in levels of training with mentors as they gain confidence and knowledge. Classes are in continual rotation. I spent 10 years as a shelter volunteer before becoming a Foster. Those years served me well as I worked in many areas and increased my awareness of new training approaches.

With a well-organized staff and a growing mission to accommodate Alexandria residents and all over the DC metro area, the Foster Program I am a part of serve many roles to support our animal care from birthing to working with homeless animals who need extra hours of care, training and love. Many of us, when we can, become “Foster Fails.” The bond is very strong.

The ultimate goal is to send an adoptable spayed or neutered homeless animal to the right forever home. From two months old pets to super senior status we extend our services to make them ready. AWLA is a favorite non-profit in in our beautiful city and behond, Want to adopt a pet? Go to to Alexandriaanimals.org to see our latest adoptable pets.



Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for umpteen years at animal Welfare League of Alexandria. This shelter is the darling of Alexandria, Virginia. We love animals here in our small historic city. It is common for residents to brag about adopting a rescue pet from our shelter. The shelter has very well organized programs for staff and volunteers. Every animal that we rescue is evaluated in detail by trained specialists and veterinarians. We have a large foster program that supports the neediest with at home care. Did you know that this shelter travels to other countries to do emergency rescue of dogs who are thrown into crowded meat trucks headed for a food factory? Did you know that we have volunteers who will rescue wildlife in our area and other towns and take them to wonderful volunteer rehabbers who care for their broken wings or limbs? The partnerships the staff has with other shelters has extended the training and the care of animals. Through donations of time and money this animal shelter has succeeded in its mission to save, by all means possible, an animal who needs a second chance.

Kim Jones G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a big fan of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria! As the owner of a local pet-care business, I have interacted with the AWLA leadership and volunteers in numerous ways over the years and have always been impressed by their professionalism, dedication, and compassion. My husband and I gladly volunteer our time there whether it be presenting at summer camp, evaluating dogs, participating in the annual Clear the Shelters day, or hosting donation drives. We also partner with them on organizing the annual Alexandria Love Your Pet Day which is a fun community celebration with over 600 people attending that raised $8000 dog the shelter last year.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer at AWLA any chance I can. The staff there do everything possible to keep these animals safe and happy. I fostered once, too and they made it extremely easy for both me and precious Polly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just started volunteering with the AWLA recently and am very impressed. They ensure everyone who deals with the animals are properly trained on how to work with them to ensure everyone's safety. The animals are treated so well, and work with them to help them become more adoptable. This is a great place!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered here for about a year and everyone there goes above and beyond every day to make the animals feel special and to get them homes. I also adopted my dog from them and I'm so grateful. Such a nice place full of nice people who all share the same goal, and have the same high standards for animal care.

Viki T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a cat companion volunteer at AWLA for almost 20 years. Some may wonder why I keep volunteering at AWLA. Many people who visit the shelter comment on how clean the shelter is and how well the shelter keeps the animals comfortable with lots of beds and toys. A genuine camaraderie between shelter staff and volunteers. AWLA now has many senior cats waiting for their forever homes. Please keep them in mind when thinking about adoption. Many of the senior cats could also be fostered and that is another option. "What greater gift than the love of a cat"--Charles Dickens.

Ericka K.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I’ve been a volunteer at the Alexandria animal shelter for over three years and have seen many improvements, particularly in the areas of volunteering and fostering. Every volunteer and staff member I’ve met care deeply and are dedicated to the welfare of the animals in their care and to educating adopters in the proper care of their new family member. I love this place and the people who make it special!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have volunteered as cat fosters with AWLA for 3+ years and “foster failed” (aka adopted) two cats as a result. We have fostered litters of kittens until they are old and large enough to be fixed and adopted (kittens always find homes quickly!) and a number of adult cats that needed special attention and/or socialization. The staff are always amazing communicators, they are flexible and understanding, and everyone obviously LOVES animals!
AWLA provides all the supplies, medications, advice and support needed for new amd experienced volunteers.

In 2016, we experienced a major medical situation in our family around the same time we fell in love with and adopted Tony, our now 17 year old cat. When I relayed to AWLA what was happening, and that we would need a break from fostering for a while, they gave us six months of Tony’s thyroid medication and waived his adoption fees. We have since resumed volunteering and fostering cats, recently caring for a terrified and unhealthy stray “Dusty” for five months. Tony personally fostered Dusty until he was well and secure enough to be adopted himself. (Tony and Dusty snuggle in photo.)

Our relationship and work with AWLA brings happiness, and wonderful cats, into our family! They are the BEST!

Steven Melinda P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer and occasional dog foster. I am continuously impressed with the professionalism, love and care shown by the entire employee and volunteer community to every animal who comes in the shelter doors. I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with such a great organization that goes way and above in its care for all!

rae3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our dog Joshua from them earlier this year. He's a crazy hound and we love him. When he came to AWLA he was completely shut down, would sit and shake on his bed, terrified of the world and any noise. They patiently spent time with him, helped him get comfortable, learned how to coax him out of his shell. The result of all those hours of loving, hard work is that he's an awesome member of our family. He brings joy to us everyday. The best gift anyone could ask for. Thank you for making our Joshua whole.

Joan W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became acquainted with AWLA in 2004 when my husband and I were looking for a cat. We went back many times until the cutest kitty chose us by wrapping its paws around my arm. We were so impressed with the Alexandria shelter. It was so clean, it didn’t smell, the staff and volunteers were so knowledgeable and kind.
Fast forward...our wonderful cat “Miss Ella” is now fourteen years old and I have been a cat volunteer almost as long. We love AWLA!!! Joan W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer foster for over 2 years and am so happy to have found AWLA. I started with guinea pigs and bunnies but have moved to kittens. All the animals get such love and care. As a foster the staff has taught me so much about animal care and I am constantly amazed how they remember all the names and personalities.
I'm slowly building a stockpile of kitten supplies knowing that when I decide to adopt it will be from this shelter.

Abhi M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I fostered for the AWLA for about 3 years and handled about 6-8 animals. The process in which they take to get animals to the right homes is remarkable. They truly put their animals and fosters in a place to succeed and thrive. I loved working with them and wish them continued success as they save lives!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

...10 stars out of 5!
I have volunteered with shelters and rescues for the past 18 years. This shelter is by far the best place I have ever volunteered. The volunteers and staff are like a big family that has nothing but unconditional love for the animals there. I really have never experienced anything like this facility. I suprisingly never even found myself sad for the animals there because I knew that they were in the best place they could be for their given situation.
I was also extreamly surprised by the healthcare that the animals receive. All the animals are treated as if they are in loving home with a responsible loving owners. Anything they need they get. This will always be my absolute favorite shelter.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer, foster, adopter, and donor to this magnificent organization! It is an extremely professional run organization that makes a great difference in the lives of thousands of animals each year and helps to educate the public in many ways related to their own pets. I am thrilled to be a small part of and support their fine work.

doodledoo

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They cheer. They inspire, They answer questions while they are wolfing their lunches, working with animals, answering phones, cleaning up unmentionable messes, hauling animals, food, donations, supplies, paperwork, equipment, whatever needs attention, around the shelter, and are never short or make me feel my questions are stupid or unwelcome. They always thank volunteers for coming in. The Vola Lawson shelter is run with compassion and dedication to the cause-helping as many animals live the safest, happiest , most loved lives possible. By sharing the animals and their animal knowledge with Alexandria's public, they spread the wisdom and caring that make this community a place to be proud of. A place where living things, people as well as animals, have the chance to be loved and feel safe!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the last 5 years I have been a volunteer the AWLA. I was impressed at the start, but my esteem for this organization has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, especially since the arrival of our director, Meghan Webb. Not only is the best care possible given our animals, every effort is made to reach the ultimate goal-placing them in forever homes.
While striving to meet this goal for the animals, the shelter provides a tremendous service to those who volunteer there. We are made to feel a valued part of the greater effort,. We make friends there, and feel like we are making a valuable contribution to our community!!

Wendy S.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with and fostering dogs for over a year. I am continually impressed with the care the dogs receive while at the shelter.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Many years ago I adopted a wonderful dog from AWLA and it was a great experience. Gracie was my first dog, and AWLA was wonderful about providing helpful information. I now serve as a volunteer and occasional foster working with the dogs and continue to be impressed with the kindness and compassion the staff has towards all of the animals. Great job, AWLA!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great shelter! They go above and beyond for the animals and put their care first. Staff are compassionate and work very hard to help the animals fine homes. Highly recommend.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at AWLA in August 2015. My dog had passed away a few months before, and we were not yet ready to adopt another one, so this was my way of spending time with animals. I am small in stature and occasionally found some animals difficult to work with. Whenever I gave feedback to that effect, staff members were incredibly supportive and responsive, working to make sure that I and other volunteers could work safely with appropriate animals. I have found my niche as a photo assistant and working special events, and have been working not just with dogs, but with ALL SORTS OF ANIMALS, including a variety of non-domestic animals (chickens, pigs), small mammals (rats, ferrets, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc), birds and cats. I have always had a bit of a cat phobia, so this has been an amazing opportunity to experience cats in a positive way. AWLA has always extended training to me when I expressed an interest in it (e.g., to improve my comfort level with cats and small mammals). I have grown tremendously in this work and cannot speak highly enough about the dedicated staff. Volunteering here is an incredible source of satisfaction -- and fun too!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AWLA is amazing! From the staff to the volunteers that work at the facility. I've not adopted from them but have been a big supporter of them for many years. I've donated items and funds to help them continually meet the needs of all the animals whether medically or rescuing from an abusive or horrific situation. They are top notch when it comes to community involvement. They are constantly striving to improve their methods and ways to provide more support and to help more animals in need. They deserve to be recognized because all that they do tend to go unnoticed. Don't underestimate the fact that they are a non-profit, they still manage to help hundreds of animals and bring joy and happiness to the lives of people and pets. The community thrives in love because they exist. Love you AWLA and staff!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Animal welfare league of Alexandria is top notch. Super polite and friendly/helpful staff. The visiting pet areas are extremely clean as well. With no bad oders like other places im sure we have all been to. They also keep people up to date with their animals etc through social media and actually replies to comments!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted my kitty Rollins (aka Bella Amiga), a calico kitten, back in June of 2017. I had to "reserve" her 1 day and pick her up the next. The staff on the day I reserved her was friendly, helpful, and informative - to the point of warning me that the next day (Saturday) was usually a crazy day at the shelter and it would be best to get there early. I wasn't able to and by the time I got there the place was noisy and jammed with people (all of whom loved pets so it was a wonderful atmosphere). I was concerned about the number of people and a little worried about getting lost in the crowd. However, the staff and volunteers were (again) very polite and helpful and the system they had in place worked well. My turn came and the staff member went over Amiga's health history with me and was very attentive and helpful. Then I got to take Amiga home with me! Well worth the wait ...

I was very impressed with the shelter and the staff and how they managed to keep order in the middle of a busy chaotic day. They do a wonderful job! Following them on facebook it's obvious how much they love "their" animals and care for them.