About the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
Helping Animals, Supporting Community
Since 1946, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria has been a resource for our community and a shelter for homeless animals. Through adoptions, spay and neuter assistance, education and community service and outreach, the League plays a key role in promoting responsible pet care across Northern Virginia. The League has contracted with the City of Alexandria to provide animal care, control and sheltering services since 1989. As part of our contract with the City, we operate the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, an open-admission facility accepting any and all animals brought to us. We have made a commitment that if an animal is in need, we will provide the care that every animal so richly deserves. 
We place more than 1,300 companion animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, iguanas, chinchillas and many more, in permanent, loving homes each year. An additional 300 stray pets are reunited with their owners through the League annually. Our specially-trained staff also assist area wildlife that have been injured or are in distress—with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat or transferring them to licensed wildlife rehabilitators for care and eventual release. 
The League has a vibrant volunteer corps of 200 animal lovers who support our 40+ full and part-time professional staff. In everything we do, League staff and volunteers demonstrate that love and compassion are just as important as food and water for the animals in our care. 

Adoption Information

Thank you for considering adoption of your next companion from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA)!

At the AWLA, matchmaking is our specialty. Pairing the right companion animal with the right adopter can be part science and part “art.”  Our staff spends time getting to know each potential adopter—learning about his or her lifestyle and hopes for a new companion. Whether an adopter is looking for a energetic kitten or settled senior dog, social house rabbit or sunny parakeet, our staff ensures that every relationship starts off on the right foot—the first step as our residents and their adopters begin a lifelong journey together.

Benefits of Adoption

As part of the League’s adoption program, all companion animals are

  • Tested for heartworm and other tick born diseases (in dogs)
  • Tested for  FeLV/FIV (in cats)
  • Current on all basic vaccinations
  • Microchipped (a permanent form of identification in dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets)
  • Spayed or neutered (for dogs and cats)
  • Behaviorally evaluated
  • Medically evaluated
  • A wellness exam with one of our partnering veterinarians

The Steps to Adoption

  1. Complete an Adoption Survey

Present the adoptions survey to an adoptions associate and learn information about the animal you have selected to meet with.

  1. Meet with the Companion Animal.

Meeting with the animal will be facilitated by a staff member or volunteer. Dogs may be visited with inside, outside in the play yard or you may request to walk the dog. Cats and other small animals may be visited with in the cage or in the cat visitation room.

  1. Meet with staff for an adoption consultation or place a hold on the animal for 24 hours.

Adoption consultation: During the consult the adopter will sit down with a  League adoption counselor to review the adoptable animal’s medical and behavioral records, discuss ways to make the transition home a smooth one and finalize necessary paperwork. After this consult, new adopters are welcome to take their new companions home!

Hold Agreement: People interested in adopting a specific animal who is available for adoption can, if needed, put it on hold for 24 hours for a non-refundable/non-transferable* (to another person or for another animal) fee of $50. The hold goes into effect at the time of payment of this fee. It is not applied toward adoption fees but is a separate charge. After 24 hours the hold expires, and the animal is placed back up for adoption. *Exceptions are made only in the case of a request for a dog meeting. If a dog meeting is requested a hold fee is still required however this fee can be applied toward the total adoption fees.

Adoption Fees

The League’s adoption fees are: 


Cat (under the age of 8) $120
Cat (over the age of 8) $  60
Cat (bonded pair 1yr-7yr) $150
Cat (bonded pair, over age 8) $120
2 Kittens $200



Dog (under the age of 8) $150
Dog (over the age of 8) $  75
Dog (Bonded pair under 8) $200
Dog (Bonded pair over 8) $150


Small Mammals:

Ferret, Chinchilla $50
Guinea Pig Pair $37.50
Guinea Pig $25
Rabbit Pair $75
Rabbit $50



Small bird (Parakeet, Finch) $20
Cockatiel, Love Bird $40
Small Parrots (Conures) $50
Medium Parrots (Greys) $100
Large Parrots (Macaws) $250
Amphibian (turtle) $20 unless otherwise noted
Reptile (snake, lizard) $25


Special Discounts

As noted above, senior companion animals may be adopted at a reduced fee. Also, bonded pairs of cats and kittens have reduced adoption fees, as we hope these pairs are able to stay together in their adoptive homes.

At various times of year, the League offers special adoption promotions and reduced adoption fees.

Seniors for Seniors

Adopters who are 65 years of age or older may adopt any animal that is 8 years of age or older for FREE! Senior animals are often some of the best pets you’ll ever spend your life with and the AWLA wants to provide companionship for all people and animals who need it. Call 703.746.4774 or visit the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter to find your special senior today. The Seniors for Seniors program runs throughout the year.

2 for 1

Adopters of cats and small animals can now take home two for the price of one! Our 2 for 1 special places even more animals in permanent, loving homes. The only thing better than one pet is two! Call 703.746.4774 or visit the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter for more details. The 2 for 1 program runs throughout the year. *This promotion applies to cats ages 6 months and older*