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2018 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

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Martina M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I foster kittens for AWLA and they are a great organization. They have a robust foster care program which allows them to rescue more animals. I foster momma cats with unweaned kittens for AWLA. This allows the momma cat to care for her kittens in a quiet home environment instead of at the shelter. When the kittens are weaned, the momma cat gets spayed and finds her forever home. The kittens stay in foster care until they are old enough to be spayed and neutered – then they go up for adoption. Its great!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a dog and it was the most painless and least frustrating experience of any shelter I’ve ever dealt with and my dog is the best puppy I’ve ever had! Love the animal welfare league of Alexandria!!

Meg S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted Kugel the day after we returned from our anniversary, 2 years ago as of next week. We were very impressed with the facility, as each animal had their own indoor/outdoor space, a toy and somewhere to lie down, and when we met the dogs they were brought into a large playroom for us to socialize with. The adoption process was easy and smooth, and when we said goodbye it was clear that everyone was fond of our dog and she was of them. After seeing their facility and learning about their level of care for the animals they have, we've donated items to them on several occasions. After we adopted, there were some issues with the dog (for example, she wasn't spayed even though we thought she was) and Alexandria stepped up to take care of everything at no cost to us.

I thank the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria for bringing our "Little Bratchild" into our lives. Kugel is a hyperactive ball of affection. She has been my constant companion through my husband's deployments and I do not think I could have managed without her. She demands snuggles every night and every morning, and follows us through the house wherever we go. She barks at us to come upstairs when it's "bedtime." She is so full of personality in a way I never thought an animal could be. All of that is thanks to the Animal Welfare League for keeping her safe and cared for until we could meet her and bring her home.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the AWLA for 5 years and cannot say enough good things about this sanctuary for animals. All three of our resident cats were adopted from AWLA; we also participate in the fosters program. Volunteering and fostering there I get to see close up how much this shelter truly cares for the animals in its care. They go the extra mile to help each animal find its forever home and work at making each animal as comfortable as possible until that time. I am proud to have this awesome facility in my community!