Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL) is Arizona’s largest and oldest no-kill shelter. Located in Phoenix, the shelter’s mission is one that all of us can appreciate: to create a world where there are no homeless dogs and cats. Recently I had the opportunity to tour the facility, play with kittens and fall in love with a Husky. Did I mention I got to play with kittens?!
AAWL places around 4,000 dogs and cats into new homes every year. At any one time the shelter will house around 190 dogs and 150 cats. They also have a wonderful foster program to ensure animals can find homes regardless of temporary health issues, young age or need for socialization.
Not only does AAWL have an an amazing adoption program, but they also work to educate the community. The shelter offers a kids camp which introduces the world of animals to children ages 6-12. For kids looking to delve even deeper into animal’s health and well being, AAWL offers Camp Vet, which is for teens ages 12-17. But it doesn’t stop there! Adults aren’t left out of the fun, as they can partake in Camp GrownUp. For more information and to see other opportunities, visit the AAWL education section of the website.
AAWL has many unique aspects that make it stand out from other shelters and rescues but I noticed one in particular. Nowhere on a dog’s adoption card, which hangs on each kennel, does it list the breed. Now, the staff is happy to tell you the breed of the dog if you ask but this practice is put in place to eliminate stereotypes. For example, what if someone sees “pitbull” written on the breed card? Even if that dog in the kennel is the best dog in the whole world, the poor thing will easily get passed over. But if the staff and volunteers introduce you to “Jane” without knowing what breed she is, perhaps you will fall in love with her no matter what. Then the breed doesn’t matter. Many more dogs get adopted this way. Isn’t that fantastic?!
As I walked around the AAWL facility, I noticed that the staff and volunteers are very active. Many of them were in kennels interacting with dogs or out with them on walks. You can tell that all of the animals there are truly cared for.
You can imagine that it’s really hard to walk around AAWL without taking an animal home (although I really wanted that kitten and I regret not taking her home!!). However, since AAWL is a no-kill shelter, I know that all of the animals there will find loving families, and for that I am grateful.
Ready for an interesting fact? AAWL is the only shelter in the Valley that houses cats with ringworm. Most shelters won’t treat it because the cats need to be separated. There is a stand alone building for all of the fantastic felines who happen to have ringworm. No worries because they are well taken care of!
I finished off the facility tour with some doggy playtime. I became well acquainted with a gorgeous two year old Husky. She was SO sweet. Any family would be lucky to have her. It had rained the night before so there was a large puddle in the play yard, but that made it much more fun!
I would like to extend a HUGE ‘thank you’ to Michael, the manager of shelter operations at AAWL. He was kind enough to take me on the tour and educate me about everything that goes on behind the scenes! And of course I’d like to express my gratitude for all of the wonderful staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to save the lives of animals 🙂