By Derrick Perkins
The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon again this year, hoping to lure people away from the shops and into their shelter.
“We have … a special every year, though it changes from year to year. One year it was only black animals, last year it was no adoption fee and this year we’re doing something a little different: You name your own adoption fee,” said Patrick Cole, AWLA spokesman. “The hope is that people will see the value in the care and commitment we place into the animals and everything we do to place them into [a home].”
The Eisenhower Avenue shelter will open its doors to prospective pet owners at 10 a.m. Though anyone leaving with a pet — 6 months or older — must pay a minimum fee of $10, that’s a far cry from the usual $120 to $150 price tag for adopting one of the shelter’s cats or dogs.
The annual deals have proven a boon for the city’s sole animal shelter. A year ago, staff found homes for 20 animals in a single day. The event has grown so popular that shelter officials are implementing a ticketing system this time around to keep their animals from getting overexcited from the deluge of visitors. Just seven households can view the cats or dogs at any given time.
“We had a huge rush and crush of people coming in through the door [last year],” Cole said. “That stresses out the animals a bit more than a normal day of visitations.”
And while AWLA waived most adoption fees for the day, the organization will accept donations from guests. While partially city-funded, the shelter’s annual budget relies heavily on outside dollars to operate.
“We’d like to send as many animals home as possible, and by allowing adopters to name their own adoption fee, we hope to draw attention to the care and commitment the league puts into all animals before they ever become available for adoption,” said Kathy Vellenga, director of adoption programs, in a statement. “Some folks will pay the $10 minimum and some will pay more than our standard rate, but as any animal lover will tell you, the lasting benefits of adopting far outweigh any financial cost.”