Shelter Overview

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For the abused, abandoned, and forgotten animals, The Washington Animal Rescue League’s new facility provides the perfect atmosphere for recovery as they make the transition from lives of hardship to being cherished members of the family. Every detail has been painstakingly designed to promote their physical, psychological, and social wellbeing. Steel-bar cages were replaced with comfortable and attractive doggie dens, cat condos, and puppy pads.

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The shelter’s design incorporates innovative health-promoting features such as Corian® cat condos (Corian does not harbor bacteria) and individually ventilated living spaces for both dogs and cats that prevent the spread of common air-borne diseases. “We have reduced the spread of diseases like kennel cough in dogs and upper respiratory infections in cats by 90%,” affirms President and CEO, Dr. Gary Weitzman. “This is an incredible feat for any shelter.”

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What is perhaps most remarkable about the new design is that, at the same time it enhances the level of care each animal receives, it allows for the housing of more animals. The League can now provide comfortable accommodations for nearly 350 animals at any given time. That’s a 66% increase in the number of cats and dogs given a second chance at recovery and adoption.

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However, our facility is only the beginning. Quality care for the animals is our top priority, and we are constantly making improvements to our policies and procedures to make the shelter a happier, more comfortable temporary home for the animals. Twice a week a groomer and a volunteer massage therapist work with animals that might need a little extra attention. Classical music is piped through the shelter to relax the animals.

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Staff and volunteers walk dogs at least three times daily. Additionally, because dogs are pack animals who require visual and physical stimulation, we pair compatible dogs in the kennel. This practice makes the animals happier, calmer and better socialized.

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Cats are allowed to walk freely around the cat room on a daily basis where they can climb and interact with other cats in glass-enclosed playrooms. Each cat condo has a perch, pillow, and toys to keep the cats as comfortable as possible. Volunteers also visit regularly to socialize cats in need of extra attention.

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To maintain the health of our shelter animals, we feed them Science Diet and recommend that adopters continue to feed this product. As a bonus for adopters, we also provide a five-pound bag of Science Diet dry food with each adoption.


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Every weekday morning DogCentric, a professional dog walking company serving Northwest D.C. and lower Montgomery County, provides our dogs with early morning exercise, bathroom breaks, and attention at a time when volunteers are few and staff is busy preparing the shelter for the day.

The League was very deliberate in the choice of DogCentric as a partner. Their customized approach to each client, emphasis on safety, and dedication to the dogs in their care is unequivocal. We recommend them to all dog guardians and ask that you support them as they support us and our homeless dogs.

Come see us - your new best friend awaits you!

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Adoption Events

  • 8.30.14 “Day of the Dog” Festival Adoption Event Read more »
  • 9.06.14 Dog Adoption Event at Urban BBQ Read more »
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