Alexandria has been designated as a "Better City for Pets."
Mars Petcare has designated Alexandria as a "Better City for Pets," highlighting what Alexandria pet owners already know.
Only a few dozen communities in the United States have received the honor, and Alexandria is the only one in Virginia.
The certification considers a variety of factors in its assessment, including the presence of a safe and welcoming animal shelter that supports pets and their owners, the number of veterinary and other pet care providers, pet-friendly housing, businesses that allow pets, and the presence of a clean and hygienic park spaces that allow animals," Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) officials explained.
Alexandria is a community that cares about its animals, and this accreditation confirms what we already knew: that we are a city where pets and their owners are welcome as guests or residents, stated Stella Hanly, AWLA Executive Director.
In addition to this certification, Mars Petcare has awarded the AWLA a Vision Award grant to fund activities through 2023 to explore and improve the availability of pet-friendly homes around the city.
Knowing the enormous problems affecting families throughout the epidemic, the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS funding program focused this year on keeping people and their pets together, said Jam Stewart, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Mars Petcare North America, in a release. According to our new research, many people's financial and health concerns may drive some pet parents to make the tough decision to relinquish their dogs. As part of our global objective to prevent pet homelessness, we want to keep as many people as possible together with their pets, which this year's grant recipients are actively assisting with.
The AWLA already has a number of programs to assist pet owners in keeping their pets in their homes, such as the Community Pet Pantry, which in 2021 sent more than 50,000 pounds of pet food and supplies to pet owners and animal rescue organizations throughout the region. Community Wellness Events and Vaccine Clinics give free or low-cost pet vaccinations and microchips, as well as collaborating with other community organizations to provide human support services such as shelf-stable groceries and even COVID-19 vaccinations. The AWLA Pet Behavior Hotline, grooming aid, and Crisis Care are among the other services available to pet owners in need. The AWLA will use the Mars Petcare award to collaborate with the community to extend the housing options for pets and their owners.
Alexandria is home to an estimated 80,000 pets and offers a diverse range of pet-friendly amenities. The city includes 18 enclosed and unfenced dog parks and exercise spaces. Alexandria has also established pet waste stations across the city to guarantee that owners can conveniently clean up after their dogs, regardless of how they exercise with them.
In addition, Alexandria offers a wide range of pet-friendly activities, including several new pet-friendly businesses.
The ALX Dog Walk, a new event this year, will take place on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria on April 2. Many local companies, including dog-friendly restaurant, bar, and dog park Barkhaus; Mount Purrnon Cat Café + Wine Bar; and specialist dog-and-cat store The Dog Park, are joining the newly-opened Happy Cat Hotel and Spa and the coming-soon indoor dog park and bar Snouts & Stouts.
Many restaurants in Alexandria, including Cameron Café, Hops N Shine, Lost Dog Café, Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza + Tap, Sonoma Cellar, and Vola's Dockside Grill, have dog-friendly patios and provide unique dog menus.