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Thoughts of a new home are music to Banjo’s ears.

The six-year-old male black-and-white beagle mix learns the most about the world with his nose to the ground, so don’t be surprised if he greets you starting with your shoes – and works his way up, says Animal Welfare League of Alexandria spokesperson Gina Hardter.

“Banjo is a mature gentleman who is well past his puppy stage and now focuses more on the finer things in life: leisurely walks, yummy food and the love of a good human best friend (or two or three),” Hardter said.

Schedule time to meet Banjo by visiting


There are a number of ways to volunteer in Alexandria this fall.

Art lovers can get their fix by volunteering as gallery guides at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and sports enthusiasts can become volunteer sport coaches. The Carlyle House also needs a volunteer tour guide.

There are also a number of tutoring and mentoring positions available, in addition to available food distributor and donation sorting positions.

“We need hundreds of people per week,” Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow. “More people are in need now than ever.”

Here’s a list of Volunteer Alexandria’s new and upcoming opportunities.

  • Teach Kids to Read — “Wright to Read is a literacy tutoring-mentoring program that works to match volunteer tutor-mentors with Alexandria City Public School students who need extra support in their literacy skills. Our goal is not only to help give this child support along their reading journey (including access to books, resources, and a larger reading community), but also a mentor through elementary school and beyond.”
  • Distribute Food With ALIVE! — “Volunteers are needed to assist with multiple programs relating to their Food Program, ALIVE! House, and Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership Program will distribute food at Mobile Pop-ups and Truck to Trunk events, etc.”
  • More opportunities at ALIVE! — The nonprofit also needs drivers, a furniture moving attendant, and warehouse volunteers.
  • Theater group needs support — Momentum Collective is looking for a new board member, a costume designer and a set builder.
  • Youth Sport Coaches — Preside over team activities including all scheduled practices and games. Adhere to RPCA policies, rules and objectives Responsible for maintaining care of all RPCA Sports equipment. Lead by example among team parents to support the responsibilities of the referee and league leadership. Coach an assigned group of children and focus on skill development, safety, fair, play, sportsmanship and fun.”
  • 4-H Youth Development Club Volunteers — “We are currently looking for volunteers that would like to build clubs on any topic of interest, such as, dogs, sewing, robotics, or sports.”
  • Food Rescuer — “Food rescuers pick up surplus food from food donors in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia (businesses, restaurants and grocers) and deliver it directly to receiving agencies (community kitchens, food pantries, etc.) that feed our hungry neighbors. In your own vehicle and on your own time, it usually takes only 30 to 60 minutes to complete this incredibly rewarding and essential mission. Get started on the website and app to see the complete schedule of local food rescue opportunities.”
  • Arise outreach volunteer — “ARISE is a new guaranteed income pilot program that plans to give $500 a month to 170 City of Alexandria residents for two years. A research team will evaluate the ARISE program outcomes which will inform future efforts and policy decisions.”
  • Sexual Assault Center Hotline Advocate — “Volunteers staff the 24-hour hotline on evenings and weekends. Volunteers provide accompaniment, emotional support, crisis intervention, advocacy, and referrals to empower survivors of sexual violence in person at the hospital/police department or over the phone. Volunteers must attend a 40-hour training.”
  • Shelter Supervisors with Alexandria Domestic Violence Program — “As a program that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, volunteers play a key role in providing services to those affected by domestic violence. Volunteers with our program interact personally with individuals in need–an opportunity that many find extremely fulfilling.”
  • Alexandria Library opportunities — The Alexandria Library needs a volunteer to run a games program for seniors, a volunteer with the Trash Trekkers program, a Knit Night volunteer, a computer class volunteer, and gardening support.
  • Tour Guide at Carlyle House Historic Park — “Looking for a fun and relaxing volunteer opportunity? Carlyle House Historic Park, a colonial house museum in Old Town Alexandria, seeks volunteer docents to give public tours of this historic building. Carlyle House, built in 1753, interprets the home and family of John Carlyle, a merchant and town founder.”
  • Sixth Annual Spooky Science Expo — “The Watergate at Landmark Youth Committee will be holding its sixth annual science event (Spooky Mad Science Expo) for kids and teens (October 15). The event will celebrate science and Halloween… As in every year, we are looking for volunteers to help us plan and run the event.”
  • Casa Chirilagua Volunteers — Casa Chirilagua is looking for one-on-one mentoring, their kids club, a volunteer to oversee the teen study hall, help with the high school program, a volunteer for teen bible study, and assistance with their middle school program.
  • Dog adoption event needs volunteers — “Lucky Dog Animal Rescue has an adoption event the FIRST Sunday of every month at the Potomac Yard PetSmart – 3351 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22305. Come spend the afternoon with a Lucky Dog!”
  • Torpedo Factory Gallery Guide — “Gallery Guides must feel comfortable interacting with the public about the work at the exhibition with potentially sensitive content and handling artwork sale inquiries. Gallery Guides must be at least 18 years of age or older.”
  • Food and grocery volunteer — “For over 15+ years, as part of its Outreach Ministry, the Meade Memorial Episcopal Church has been committed to the Emergency Food Assistance Ministry, to help transform our community, our neighbors, and ourselves. The church provides lunches to residents from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. We need help to setup tables and distribute lunches every weekday, except on certain holidays. We are asking all volunteers to arrive at 11: 15 a.m.”

Port City Brewing Company (3950 Wheeler Avenue) is going to the dogs on Saturday, October 1, with their annual Dogtoberfest celebration.

The free outdoor festival goes from 12 to 5 p.m., and will feature dog-friendly activities, including pet portraits, a bulldog kissing booth and an agility course.

Food and drinks will be provided by Haute Dogs & Fries, Pho Wheels and Daddy G’s Chips and Salsa, and Scuttlebutt Bakeshop.

The event is hosted in partnership with Frolick Dogs and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.


Betty doesn’t subscribe to the notion that black cats crossing paths are bad luck.

The nine-year-old female black medium-haired cat is up for adoption with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

“Betty is definitely channeling her zen vibe,” said AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter. ” She’s not the kind of cat you’ll find climbing the curtains; her preferred perch is on the couch, by your side, maybe taking in a Netflix binge of Midsomer Murders.”

Learn more and schedule time to meet Betty by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-746-4774.


They don’t get much sweeter than Toblerone.

The three-year-old mix has the long body and short legs of a dachshund and the adorable face and ears of a Labrador retriever.

“He’s the type of dog that everyone you meet will ask about,” said Animal Welfare League of Alexandria spokesperson Gina Hardter. “Besides his intriguing looks, Toblerone also has a sparkling personality, wagging his tail joyously at everyone he meets, then crawling into their laps for snuggles.”

Learn more about Toblerone and schedule time to meet him at


Able might look big in her picture, but she’s a petite princess, says the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

The four-year-old tricolor hound mix weighs in at just over 25 pounds, and her favorite games are “Fetch” and “Tug.”

“She has a cute little hound head and body, but the legs of a much shorter pup,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “She loves a good treat and could be motivated to learn a lot more games — for the right reward.”

Schedule time to meet Able at


Buntilda the rabbit is up for adoption with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

The 15-month-old female agouti-colored rabbit is shy at first, but AWLA staff and volunteers have been working with her on socialization via target training, and she is so much more comfortable meeting and approaching new people, according to AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter.

“Buntilda is a champion chewer, but only when it’s appropriate,” Hardter said. “Whether it’s hay, veggies or a fun wooden toy, Buntilda loves to keep her gnashers in shape with some rabbit-appropriate munching.”

Schedule time to meet Buntilda by emailing [email protected] or call 703-746-4774.

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Gelato (photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Alexandria)

Gelato is a playful puppy who enjoys hanging out with other dogs, but the puppy also faces an incurable medical condition that means he likely only has months to live.

It’s a tall ask for any family to adopt a pet knowing that their time with the dog will be brief, but Gina Hardter, director of marketing and communications at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA), said the shelter was flooded with calls from locals offering to give Gelato the home he deserves — however briefly. Now Gelato has found his new family.

Hardter said 12 families reached out to inquire about Gelato after the AWLA posted about the dog on social media, but the first one to contact the shelter wound up being a good fit. Now, Hardter said he’s in a home with other dogs.

Gelato is a rare circumstance for the shelter. While cases do come in with incurable medical conditions like Gelato’s, they tend to be older. Gelato is only around three or four months old.

“That’s very rare,” Hardter said. “A lot of people said they’ve never seen that in all their years of animal welfare.”

Hardter said when the team at AWLA first found out about Gelato’s condition, they believed he would only survive for days.

AWLA doesn’t euthanize animals for remaining in the shelter for any length of time, but Hardter said sometimes it can be necessary if the animal has a health condition that is negatively impacting their lives to the degree where it’s uncomfortable for them to live or if the animal is a danger to the community.

When that prognosis said the puppy likely had a few more months, Hardter said they got to work finding him a home to spend those months.

“We wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing,” Hardter said. “When we found out from the vet oncologist it was incurable cancer, we learned Gelato could have several good months [and he’s] not going to know he has a tumor or has cancer. He’s going to be a happy puppy up until his last days. We wanted him to have that time and in a home environment like any other puppy. That’s a big ask, a big imposition, but we know he deserves it and we have a caring, compassionate community.”

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Coal loves to play games, especially hide-and-seek.

The two-year-old female black domestic short-haired cat is up for adoption with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter says that Coal has an encouraging personality.

“She’s always ready with a gentle head butt to let you know when you are scratching her chin just right,” Hardter said. “When Coal determines she’s the house panther for you, consider yourself lucky, because you have made a friend for life.”

Coal is currently staying with an AWLA foster caregiver, so to learn more about her and schedule time to meet her from her foster home, email [email protected] or call 703-746-4774 (opt. 2).


Chance is full of cheerful energy.

The four-year-old terrier mix is up for adoption with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, and is up for all forms of exercise.

“Chance’s unique red and fawn coloring and his trademark grin make him one of the AWLA’s most distinctive-looking pups,” said AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter. “But his people-friendly personality is what makes him so wonderful.  Whenever you say his name, his tail starts wagging.”

Learn more about Chance and schedule time to meet him by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-746-4774 (opt. 2).


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