Alexandria, VA

Chanel likes hanging out in an office more than her cage. Every day, she and about 10 other “office animals” are let out to play in offices at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

“A shelter isn’t a natural environment for an animal,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “We’ve got seven dogs and three cats in offices right now, and we do whatever we can make this experience better and more comfortable for them.”

AWLA has about 30 animals up for adoption, although some have to undergo surgery and other medical procedures before they can go to a new home. Many of those animals spend their mending days in offices, which have baby gates at their doors.

They’ve also allowed pets in offices for more than a decade, Hardter said.

Executive Director Stella Hanly has two dogs in her office, including Stevie, who came to AWLA with a severe eye infection. His eyes had to be removed, and Hanly said that the extra attention he got by sleeping in her office made a remarkable change in him.

“The first day he was with me, he wouldn’t even respond to anyone coming in the office, talking to him or petting him,” Hanly said. “By the end of that same week, he would do a little dance each time he heard me enter the room. I think having the extra time and attention in my office truly saved his life.”

Photo via AWLA
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