Animal Welfare League of Alexandria offers virtual adoptions

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria offers virtual adoptions
(Photo Credit: Shelley Castle Photography)

By Cody Mello-Klein |

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is now offering adoptions through a virtual adoption process. The AWLA suspended in-person animal adoptions and limited on-site staff beginning on March 26, according to a news release.

The announcement came in light of news from Inova Alexandria Hospital that the first signs of community spread of the coronavirus had been discovered in Alexandria, according to the release.

“We know that in these times, sometimes the support of a pet can make all the difference, and so in order to continue to meet our community’s needs – and find families for homeless animals even in these difficult times – we will soon be offering this Virtual Adoption process,” Gina Hardter, AWLA director of marketing and communications, said in an email.

The shelter’s virtual adoption process is designed in accordance with social distancing guidelines while still providing the best adoption and consultation services possible. 

Potential adopters can check out the AWLA’s adoptable animals on the shelter’s website, before filling out an online adoption survey. Those that are still interested can schedule a 30-minute virtual meet and greet session with the animal.

If the session goes well and the potential adopters wish to adopt the animal, then they can schedule a phone consultation with AWLA staff, pay the adoption fees and pick up their pet.

The majority of animals currently under the care of AWLA will go home with foster caregivers who will check in remotely. AWLA will also have a limited number of staff caring for any strays that are brought in. The shelter’s veterinary team will continue to care for the animals’ medical needs, according to the release.

Staff are still available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to respond to community needs, including calls for found animals, Pet Pantry requests or emergency surrenders. Appointments can be made by contacting Those with an animal emergency should contact the police dispatch line at 703-746-4444. For more information on virtual adoption, visit