Shelter Walk helps Alexandria's homeless animals in more ways than one

What’s the best way to help Alexandria’s homeless animals? Obviously, adoption is the best and most immediate solution for the current residents of the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, but what about the next generation of unwanted and abandoned animals? And if you’re like most of the staff and volunteers at the shelter, or most of Alexandria for that matter, what do you do if you already have a home full of animals?

Shelter WalkThe inaugural Alexandria Shelter Walk for Homeless Animals on October 21 is just one of the ways the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is raising awareness about pet overpopulation, and raising funds to combat animal homelessness. Whether you’re a dog owner, a cat companion, or have other types of pets at home, you can help all of Alexandria’s homeless animals by registering for the walk and raising funds to support the League’s life-saving efforts.

Many people think of an animal shelter only as a place to bring lost or stray pets, and to adopt animals looking for permanent homes. This is true and the League, operating the City’s sole animal shelter since 1989, matches thousands of companion animals with loving adopters each year. But the League also stands up for those who do not have a voice, and promotes animal welfare across the region through numerous programs. Our Humane Education program teaches the next generation of animal lovers the importance of responsible animal care, while our Spay/Neuter Assistance program helps current pet owners prevent animal homelessness before it starts. A new Trap-Neuter-Return program is also underway to humanely address the feral cat populations in Alexandria. Free consultations with our Behavior and Training Team are also available to all City residents, and we’d much rather help find a solution to a correctable problem than see another animal enter our shelter.

Participation in the Alexandria Shelter Walk will help the League continue to provide all of these services, and many more, to Alexandrians and their animals. As the only fall event to benefit Alexandria's homeless animals, the Walk is an important fundraiser for the League, and a critical educational opportunity. The League only receives 1/3 of its operating budget from the City, so donations and financial contributions are key to sustaining a world-class shelter and top-notch operation. Luckily, we're part of a fantastic, animal-friendly community that can be counted on to support those in need.

The Walk begins at 9 AM on Sunday, October 21st, in Market Square. Walkers and their canine companions will travel through the historic streets and neighborhoods of Old Town Alexandria. Walkers are welcome to bring friendly, well-trained dogs with them and are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. All dogs must be leashed (no retractable leashes please), licensed, and current on all vaccinations. We also encourage walkers with cats and other stay-at-home companion animals to represent their pets and join us in support of this worthy cause.

There will be prizes, giveaways, and more, so start a Walk team, join an existing team, or register as an individual. No matter how you choose to participate, you'll be helping Alexandria's homeless animals today and well into the future.

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