Humane Education

AWLA 2018 Kid’s Club

Kids’ Camp

Paws and Read

Birthday “Pawties”



The League runs various humane education programs in the community. We can visit your school, scout troop, church, nursing home or community organization in Arlington. Presentation topics include preventing pet overpopulation, responsible pet ownership, animal welfare and the League’s role in the community. Presentations are available in English and Spanish! Request a visit/presentation by filling out our online Presentation Request Form.

Tours of AWLA

AWLA schedules tours for groups of 10-25 people. The tours take about 30 minutes to one hour, depending on your group’s size, age of group participants, staff availability and other scheduled shelter activities.  Tour groups typically visit the front office, small animal room, dog kennel and cat room.  Tours are free but donations are always gladly accepted.

During the tour, groups learn about:

  • the services that the League provides on site
  • the types of animals the League houses
  • the different ways that animals come to AWLA
  • how to adopt from AWLA
  • animal control services in Arlington
  • other services/programs that the League offers the community
  • how the League is funded
  • ways that they can help the League

Hours for scheduling a Tour:


Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


Noon-7:00 pm (last tour start time available is 6:00 PM)
Tours Not Available
Noon-7:00 pm (last tour start time available is 6:00 PM
Noon-7:00 pm (last tour start time available is 6:00 PM
Noon-7:00 pm (last tour start time available is 6:00 PM
Tours Not Available
Tours Not Available

Please note that Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and ANY holidays (whether we are open or closed) are days that we are unable to schedule a tour.  See the AWLA hours and holiday schedule here

To schedule a tour, please fill out our online Tour Request Form  If you have any questions or prefer to speak with someone, please contact Jennifer Katac, Director of Community Programs at (703) 931-9241, ext. 213 or  Please have several dates and/or times when you contact us to schedule a tour.

Frequently asked questions about scheduling a tour of AWLA

Your listed hours do not work for my group.  Is it possible to come in the morning or during times that state “Tours Not Available”?

Morning visits are not an option because the League staff are feeding the animals, cleaning the animals’ housing areas and attending to any special needs.  These tasks are typically finished by noon, when the shelter opens to the public.  On Tuesdays, the League is not open to the public.  Saturdays and Sundays are very busy adoption times and we are not able to accommodate tours during those times due to limited staffing

If your group is located in Arlington, it might be better to schedule a presentation on AWLA at your location during your week day hours.  Please contact Jennifer Katac, Director of Community Programs at (703) 931-9241, ext. 213 or to inquire about scheduling a presentation at your Arlington location on a week day. Presentations are scheduled Monday through Friday.  We are not able to schedule presentations on the weekends or on a holiday.

My group is larger than 25 people—can we still schedule a tour of the League?

Yes, we can likely still schedule a tour for your group but we may need to break your group into 2 separate visits and/or tour groups.  Please call or email to inquire about your group’s size and we’ll discuss available options.

What can my group do to support the League?

Groups often support the League by holding donation drives and collecting items from the shelter’s wish list, found here:  You may also give a financial donation if you prefer, before or after your group’s visit to the League—we accept cash, checks and credit cards.  If you would like off-site project ideas for your group, please contact Jennifer Katac, Director of Community Programs at (703) 931-9241, ext. 213 or

I see that you have a Paws and Read Program to read to shelter cats- can my group do this when we come for our tour?

Unfortunately, we are not set up to accommodate group readings.  Reading sessions are approximately 20 minutes long and are scheduled one at a time with one child/parent in the reading room with a designated Purrfect Reader cat. Parents may scroll down on this page to sign up with their children under Paws and Read below.

2019 Summer Camps at AWLA

Please check back on Monday, February 4, 2019 for info about our 2019 summer camps!



Paws and Read Program

Paws and ReadSchool children in the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas are invited to improve their literacy by reading books to cats through the Paws and Read Program. The Paws and Read program is mutually beneficial for the shelter cats as well. Annually, AWLA receives approximately 900 cats with an average length of stay of 35 days. With no time limit for any of its animals, some cats may live at the shelter for as long as a year before finding permanent homes.

Children in kindergarten through fifth grade are invited to participate in 20-minute reading sessions with shelter cats on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00 pm – 5:20 pm. A parent is required to accompany their child to a reading session and children are able to choose a book from AWLA’s selection of stories or bring one of their own. Cats participating in the program are identified with a “Purrfect Reader” sign on their kennel.

There is no fee to participate in the Paws and Read Program.  Children must be registered with a parent or legal guardian.

Please click here to register for a Paws and Read Session with your child!

If you have any questions about the Paws and Read program, please contact Jennifer Katac, Director of Community Programs at (703) 931-9241, ext. 213 or

Birthday “Pawties” at AWLA

PartyMaxBirthday “Pawties” are available for kids of all ages.  What better way to celebrate a milestone in a child’s life than by celebrating with the animals at the League?

When Are Pawties Held?

Pawties last approximately two hours and can be booked Wednesday or Thursday evenings, for a two- hour window between 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Pawties are usually booked one to two months in advance. We regret that we are only able to offer pawties on days mentioned above.  Pawties are never scheduled during the weekends, on Tuesdays or from July-Mid-August due to our summer camp activities.

Pawty De-Tails

Pawty fees are $225 for a maximum of 15 children (including the birthday child). Pawties are presented by a League representative and recommended for children ages 5 through 13 years, are a fun way to introduce your child to the League and the work that we do here and in the community. Older children, adults, and groups are welcome to book pawties too.

Payment must be received two weeks prior to the event. Alcohol is not permitted at our pawties.  There is a $25 cancellation fee. We ask that one adult be present for every five children.  Tipping is not permitted but donations to the Bob Ragan humane education fund or general fund are welcome.

What Does the League Provide at Pawties?

Pawty attendees enjoy a tour of the shelter (provided that pawty attendees are 5 years and older).  Pawty organizers may also opt for animal origami (supplies provided) or cat/dog cupcake decorating activity (parent provides cupcakes and all supplies). Each pawty can also include time for cake and gifts. The League puts up personalized directional signs in the name of the birthday child and provides a small gift for the birthday child.

What Does the Host Bring?

Please remember to bring food, drinks, cake and candles, matches, cups, napkins, plates, utensils and any other items that you will need.   Also, if the group wants to do a game or an activity, please remember all necessary game/activity supplies. Food may be delivered to the shelter (but please note that the pawty room does not have a refrigerator or microwave).

Sometimes the pawty host has the pawty attendees bring donation items for the shelter in addition to or instead of birthday gifts.  The shelter wishlist can be found here:

How do I book my Pawty?

For more information or to book your pawty, please contact Jennifer Katac, Director of Community Programs at (703) 931-9241, ext. 213 or .  Due to the popularity of our pawties, you should have several dates in mind when you are contacting us to schedule your child’s pawty.  Pawties are never scheduled during the weekends, on Tuesdays or during the month of July due to our summer camp activities but may occasionally be schedule on a Monday or Friday, schedule permitting.

For printable pawty information, please click here: Birthday-Pawties-at-AWLA

AWLA 2018 Kid’s Club

AWLA 2018 Kid’s Club is for children ages 10-13 years old.

AWLA 2018 Kid’s Club members will meet monthly on scheduled Mondays in 2018 to learn about how AWLA operates, meet AWLA staff and/or area animal welfare professionals (*select meetings), learn about animals in our care and much more. Kids club members will also assist in special service projects that help AWLA and our animals!

Registration is required and space is LIMITED.  Registration is $120 per child for 2018 (includes participation in all of AWLA 2018 Kid’s Club meetings and activities).  AWLA Kid’s club members will also receive an AWLA Kid’s Club T-shirt that  Kid’s Club members help to design!

To learn more about AWLA’s 2018 Kid’s Club, please click here.