FRIDAY FOCUS: St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League (SMAWL)

How can your heart not melt looking into the eyes of a sweet dog or cat? The St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League gives animals in need care, medical attention, a home and more before they are adopted into a loving family. They avidly work to educate the public on the proper way to care for an animal, responsibility and control of the pet population. Speaking with President, Katie Werner in this week’s Friday Focus we learned SMAWL’s great need for foster families as well as how one person can truly make a difference in the eye of an animal. Let’s give them some love.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.) 

We specialize in the rescue, care and placement of abused, neglected and homeless companion animals.  Our animals are vaccinated, microchipped, spayed or neutered and receive medical treatment before being placed in carefully selected homes.  In addition, we strive to educate the community in areas of humane education and responsible pet ownership, as well as helping to control the pet overpopulation in our area by promoting the spaying and neutering of all companion animals.  We have been able to do this through a generous grant we receive annually from The Snyder Foundation for Animals.  This allows us to provide grants to members of the community to spay or neuter their pets.  We also hold vaccination clinics in partnership with the St. Mary’s County Health Department monthly from March through November (at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds on the second Monday of the month between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.); we currently offer rabies vaccinations ($15.00), distemper vaccinations ($10.00) and microchipping ($30.00).  We hold adoption events at the Petco in California every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and our Cat Castle Rescue Center in Callaway is open every Saturday between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Our long-term goal is to have a shelter in St. Mary’s County.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

There are so many. One of my first volunteer experiences with SMAWL was helping assess and adopt animals left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.  More recently is the rescue of Percy, a 5 year old Bichon, who was rescued after his owner went into hospice care and the living conditions and abuse he suffered was brought to SMAWL’s attention.  The desire for human companionship Percy demonstrated, even amidst the evidence of extreme neglect and psychological trauma, shocked the SMAWL rescue team. Percy is now an integral member of a family who provides him with loving care. Below is a picture of Percy on the day he came to us and a picture of Percy today.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is raising money to pay for all we do. Veterinary care for our animals is the biggest expense we have.  When an animal comes to us we don’t necessarily know what health issues he or she may have.  Another challenge we face is having families to foster both dogs and cats.  Most of our animals are in foster homes so the number of animals we save is limited to the number of foster homes that we have.  SMAWL pays for the veterinary care of our animals and our foster families provide loving homes, training and socialization.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

  • 02/17/2017 – Open Ukulele Nite at Cool Beanz Coffee in Charlotte Hall from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Admission is free but they are asking for donations to SMAWL.
  • 03/11/2017 – Quarter Auction Fundraiser at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.
  • 03/13/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 04/09/2017 – ArtsPark Cherry Blossom Festival. SMAWL will be participating with a pet parade and other activities
  • 04/10/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 05/08/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 06/12/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 06/25/2017 – Basket Bingo Fundraiser at Hollywood Fire Department
  • 07/12/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 08/05/2017 – Concert at Summerseat
  • 08/07/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 09/11/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 10/09/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
  • 10/21/2017 – SMAWL Rescue Fun Run 5K & Trail Walk (Pets Welcome) in Historic St. Mary’s City
  • 11/13/2017 – Vaccination Clinic at St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Additional information can be found on our website: www.smawl.org or our Facebook page.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

We have many volunteer opportunities. Fostering (both cats and dogs), taking care of our cats at Petco (the ones in the cubbies are ours), taking care of our cats at our Cat Castle Rescue Center in Callaway.  We also need volunteers to help with fundraising events, develop fundraising plans and to work with our dog and cat teams to support our mission.  Donations (both monetary and items such as food, litter, toys, cleaning supplies, flea/tick preventative, etc.) are always welcome. If you’re interested in volunteering with SMAWL you can contact us at info@smawl.org and we can work with you to find your niche and get you started.

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