#AnimalsofCLT: Animal Adoption League
By Grace Kennedy
"Until there are none, rescue one." Animal Adoption League's motto gets straight to the heart of their approach as a foster-based rescue organization: they won't give up until they have found loving homes for every animal that comes to them in need.
When a small group of women in York County, South Carolina became concerned over the growing number of homeless animals being destroyed at their local animal shelter in the early 90s, they decided to take action - and the Animal Adoption League was born.
Since becoming a nonprofit in 1992, AAL has paired more than 5,500 animals with loving adoptive families in several Southeastern states.
Poppy is one of those rescued animals. She was born on the streets and came to AAL with severe hair loss, scabs and lesions. AAL was able to give her the medicine and treatment she needed to make a full recovery. A foster from AAL took her to meet a possible adoptive mom, and she immediately curled up in the woman's lap for a nap. The deal was sealed and Poppy has been thriving as a member of her adoptive family.
Willow is one of many feline AAL success stories. She was found stuffed in a mailbox when she was just a few days old. Her two brothers died before they were able to get to the vet, but Willow survived - barely. She had a severe upper respiratory infection that spread to her eye and ruptured. AAL raised more than $1,000 to have her damaged eye removed. Willow is now a happy two year old who has found a loving family and enjoys playing with her sister dogs.
AAL is an all-volunteer organization that relies solely on fundraisers and donations to pursue its mission. They can always use more helping hands and caring hearts to assist with fostering, fundraising, adoption events and administrative work. Volunteer applications are available on their website, mynextpet.com.
Want to help AAL give animals a new "leash" on life? Here are the top three ways you can pitch in:
1. Foster or Adopt
Make the biggest impact by becoming a foster or adoptive family for a homeless animal. AAL carefully screens all adoptive and foster families and provides them with all the support they need for a successful experience. You can fill out a Foster Questionnaire on their website.
You can also get to know adoptable dogs like Athena, a Boxer and Lab mix who loves kids and never met a tennis ball she didn't love.
AAL also has cats available for adoption, like Big Mac, a true survivor looking to leave street life behind for a nice "retirement home" with a loving lap for napping.
Monetary donations help AAL provide much-needed veterinary care and provisions for homeless animals. AAL has an extensive SHARE Charlotte Give Shop Wish List with a variety of essential supplies, like cat litter and dog food.
While financial donations are always appreciated, AAL also offers innovative fundraisers throughout the year. The first Saturday of December is a special day for AAL. It's the annual Lovelights event, where people can sponsor luminarias in honor or in memory of a beloved pet or person. The luminarias surround Lakeview Acres Pond in Rock Hill, where people gather to gaze at the lights and remember their pets. Music, baked goods and hot cider complete the experience. All proceeds from luminaria sales help fund AAL's services. The 2018 Lovelights event was rescheduled for weather - if you're interested in checking it out, follow the AAL Facebook page for a reschedule date.
You can also support AAL's mission by purchasing their exclusive cookbook, Paws in the Kitchen, featuring all kinds of recipes for humans and some treats for cats and dogs. Popular recipes include Susan's Texas Margarita (for humans) and peanut butter popsicles (for dogs).
Facebook auctions are a newer fundraiser for AAL, with the next auction scheduled for March, 2019. The organization appreciates auction donations, especially "experience" items like sports tickets or vacation rentals. Bidding on the auction is also a fun way to support AAL's cause. Follow AAL on Facebook, where they will announce the date for the next auction.
3. Spread the Word
Telling people about AAL gives more homeless animals a chance to find their forever families. You can help by sharing this article and following Animal Adoption League on Facebook and Twitter, where information about adoptable pets is posted on a regular basis.
Until there are none, the Animal Adoption League will be there to "rescue one" (and then some). They truly appreciate any support the community can provide.
Grace Kennedy is a Huntersville-based nonprofit and small business writer. Learn more at gracekennedy.net
December's Spotlight Series: #AnimalsofCLT is presented by Parachute Media