Animal Rescue of the Week: Episode 57 – Al’s Angels Animal Rescue, Inc.

Al's Angels Animal Rescue

Al’s Angels Animal Rescue is a 501(c)(3), no-kill dog rescue, located in Oak Hill WV. AAAR was founded by Fallyn Wakefield in July of 2017 and has since then, taken in countless animals in need from the community as well as from area shelters. They are a small group of four volunteers who work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of as many animals as we possibly can. Currently, their rescue is 100% foster-based, however, the goal is to one day be able to purchase a facility so that we may be able to help more animals in need as well as expand our services to the community.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alsanimalrescue/


“Welcome to the Animal Rescue of the Week podcast, where we feature outstanding organizations from around the country that are helping animals and the people who rescue them. This podcast is proudly sponsored by Doobert.com. Doobert connects animal shelters with volunteers to do animal transport and fostering, Learn more and sign up for free at www.Doobert.com. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal rescue.

 Al’s Angels Animal Rescue is a nonprofit no kill dog rescue, located in Oak Hill, West Virginia. A.A.A.R. was founded by Fallon Wakefield in July 2017 and has since then taken in countless animals in need from the community as well as from area shelters. They’re a small group of four volunteers who work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of as many animals as they possibly can. Currently, this rescue is 100% foster based. However, the goal is to one day be able to purchase a facility, so that they will be able to help more animals in need, as well as expand their services to the community.

 Hi Fallon. Welcome to the show. Hi, How are you doing? Doing well, thank you for joining me today. I’m excited to learn more about your organization. Thank you for having us. We really appreciate it. Of course. So you are the founder of Al’s Angels Animal Rescue in West Virginia. Is that right? Yes. Perfect. So, you know, jump right in and tell us a little bit about your organization and how you decided you wanted to open an animal rescue. So Al’s Angels Animal Rescue started in July of 2017, it all started from working at our county shelter, as it was always overpopulated. So I felt like the community needed another resource because of it. So then I kind of, you know, discussed it, along with family and friends. You know, that I had this idea of opening a rescue, which they didn’t think would ever happen. But I was really determined to make it happen. So it actually happened extremely fast. Within just a two month period,we were up and running. I named the rescue after my grandfather Alfred Wakefield. He passed away in May of 2004, short battle cancer, and he was a huge part of my life, so I always wanted to keep his memory and legacy alive, and I felt naming it after him would do just that.

 Since opening, we have saved almost 300 dogs and cats. They’re super ecstatic about that. That is a huge accomplishment for us. We’re a foster based animal rescue, so we always need fosters in our rescue to keep us going. We mostly focus on dogs, but we will take in cats, if they’re in need of medical attention. Where if that’s the case. We’re located in Oak Hill, West Virginia. So we are in a very small town. But we do serve all of Southern West Virginia. Our mission for a rescue is to rescue abandoned, abusing, neglected dogs. We do take in owner surrenders, sometimes depending on the case. But we mostly pull from shelters in our state and are working with out of state rescues. We are a four person team. We do anything and everything we have to for these animals, and our time is mostly put into this rescue. I’m super proud of my team, and without them we would never have gotten as far as we have.

 I literally I’m drawn to your story a little bit. It’s heartfelt. It’s named after your grandfather and really shocked that you were able to get it up and running in such a short time span. Two months and you got your rescue up and running. I mean, that’s pretty cool. Yeah, it was awesome. I have a great attorney who believed in the cause, and he did everything he could for us. He made it happen. So without him, we wouldn’t be here today. How awesome. And I mean, just the fact that you shared with us that you shared it with your family and friends and they were like, Oh, yeah, Okay. You know, like you said, Didn’t really think it was gonna happen. I mean, you were dreaming big, and that’s exactly what you were doing. But you turned around and you made that dream a reality. So that’s awesome. And that’s inspiring to other people who are thinking about opening up their own animal rescue. So well done. Thank you. I appreciate that very much. Of course. 

So share with me a little bit more about your community. You mentioned you’re in a small town. But what is your community like for animals? We are in a small town, but our community is amazing. I could not ask for a better community than what we have. We do have supporters from West Virginia and out of state and without them we would truly not be able to do what we do. So very thankful for them. And I know our dogs and cats are very thankful for them too. That’s truly amazing to see such a small community come together for these animals. They have really stood behind us and helped us get to where we are now. I couldn’t be more thankful for them. Great supporters is a must, especially if you want to continue to grow and that support from the community is always nice to have. Right.

 How do you guys get the animals? I know you mentioned that you guys do some owner surrenders, or are they mostly just strays, that were brought to you guys, or were called to you about. How does that work? We partner up with shelters In our state, we do not take a lot of owner surrenders. So either the shelter will contact us or we’ll contact the shelter because we go through their social media or their websites. See what dogs are in need and then we go from there. And we pull dogs from them. We will take owner surrenders, depending on the case. We take a lot of disabled dogs, disabled cats. So if it’s something like a situation like that, as an owner surrenders, then we will take their animal. So somebody calls you up and says, Hey, I found this stray dog on the side of the road and picked it up, would you guys take that one or do they go to the shelter? So if they do contact us and they need help because they have found a stray, we’ll either take them or we will give them other resources. We will give them other resources to other rescues or shelters in the areas. Okay, so that’s kind of cool that you and other organizations, you know, within your area work together like that. That’s an awesome thing to have. Yes, definitely.

 You mentioned that you take in animals who have disabilities or they are disabled. So do you work with the local vets that kind of help you out with those cases? Yes, so our local vet is amazing. We’re always bringing in a new case, then kind of keeps . But yes, we do take in disabled animals. We don’t take an abundance of disabled animals. But we do help the community, as much as we can, who are disabled owners. Okay. But that’s good to have that kind on your side and here to help you. Right.

 So then do you do like adoption events or anything of that nature to get animals in your care adopted? We do adoption events. We team up with a local pet store and we do our adoption events there. One of our board members actually owns the grooming salon here in town. So we do adoption events there also. We don’t do them through fall, so now it’s spring, so we will be doing adoption events, starting here very shortly. We pretty much just team up with pet stores and our local grooming salons, here in town. Okay.

 So what do you guys do with the animals? Or how do you guys get them adopted during the  Winter and fall seasons when you don’t put on those adoption events? We depend on social media so much. So we have Pet Finder and we also have Adopt A Pet. And then we have our Facebook page. So anytime we get a new intake, if they’re not on a stray hold, they are automatically added to the page, but first they have to have their shots. And a wormer. If they’re underage, then we have to wait to spay/neuter. But we try to get everything medically done first, and then we’ll add to the page. But sometimes we do have animals that come from different shelters that have already had their medical done. So they have that done, then automatically added to our page, and you try to get them adopted. So we do home visits, to make sure they’re going into a good environment. So it’s a little process of the adoption. Takes a little while, but we just want to make sure animals are going into the right environment. Absolutely. And those checks and everything, you know, you guys are kind of covering your ground. That’s always a plus because you never know, you know, without doing those, where that animal is going or what their situation is gonna be like. So it’s great that you guys take that extra time to do that. Right. Exactly. 

Okay, so I love that you guys do those adoption events. I think it’s kind of cool that you guys are able to rely on social media, but you guys are also able to do those adoption events. You know, spring and summer time. I know I’m not really sure how the weather is in West Virginia, but I’m pretty sure it gets really cold during the winter? Yes. Okay. Well see, I’m in Texas, so it’s cold here, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get near as cold as West Virginia. Right. Right. Yeah. My mom’s originally from Texas, so that’s what she says too. Well, I’m originally from California. The temperature is always the same. You just need a life jacket, year round, and you’re good to go.  That’s awesome.

 But anyway so I mean, it’s great that you guys are kind of finding what works for you guys, as an organization. And the community kind of knows, you know, social media is good for spring and summer, especially those times for you guys, right? So do you guys put on any other events or programs throughout the year to kind of help fund your organization? Yes. So we have different events. So, actually, starting every weekend from now until fall, we’re going to be doing hot dog fundraisers at different locations. So we chose to do this because who doesn’t love hot dogs? And it’s a great way to meet our supporters. Not only that, but we’ll be branching out to different counties. We’re gonna meet people and share our mission with them and show people what we do to help animals in our community and hopefully gain more supporters. But when we’re not doing that, so you know, fall comes, it’s Halloween, we’re going to try to do it again this year, another haunted house. You know, we kind of just go as the months go by, come up with different ideas and vote on and see if that’s something that we would like to do. But we always stood up for our community, you know, what we’re getting ready to do. So they stay updated about when our events are.

 Okay, those are definitely fun. I’m very curious to hear a little bit about how your haunted house went last year? So it went great! A member of the community let us borrow an old house that hasn’t been lived in. So we were able to turn it into a haunted house and it was awesome. It honestly was. So hopefully we get to do that again this year. Yeah, I mean, that’s cool like that. Somebody had that house that was just there. It was almost like it was meant to be, right? Exactly. How fun I mean, haunted houses are always fun, so I think that’s great.. And then I also like the hot dog fundraisers each weekend because, like you said, who doesn’t like hot dogs? But it’s very simple but it is creative, in a way, you know. Like you said, it helps you kind of just learn more about the people of your community and your supporters and stuff like that. So that’s a very unique thing to kind of put on. Thank you. Yeah.

 What would you say is one of your organization’s biggest challenges? So a really big challenge for us is fosters. And it’s honestly sad because our rescue does depend on that so much. We try  as much as possible to get new fosters. A lot of the time, you know, I hear it’s just so hard seeing them leave, and I agree it is very hard to see them leave, but it means so much to our dogs. For those who have that home environment while they’re with us. So we try to encourage as much as we can get fosters. If we were able to get more fosters, it would help so many dogs. Like I said, it’s the biggest part of our rescue, the more fosters that we have, the more animals we can save. Yeah, especially for newer rescue organizations that are pretty much, I mean, you start off and you’re foster based, so you can’t really do what you gotta do, if you don’t have fosters.

 So how many fosters would you say that you have currently? Right now, I’d say we only have about three fosters. Two and myself, but I can’t foster that much because of my dog. Another board member fosters, and we have one foster that’s not in the rescue. So we only have three at the moment. And it’s definitely challenging. Yes, I mean, it definitely is, and it starts with you guys and it’ll grow. Just continue to show your community the great work that you’re doing. So that’s awesome. I mean, hey, I think it’s great, and I totally hear you about the hard part about not liking  to see the animals go. I mean, that is tough. You grow with them, you teach them things and then it’s like, Oh, they get adopted and you’re happy but you’re sad at the same time. Right. 

So one of the things that is really kind of striking to me, I’m curious about it is how did you know that you wanted to open a rescue? Did you, is this something that you’ve always wanted to do? Or did it just kind of you were volunteering or something? How did this come about? Like I said, I worked for a county shelter. I left there, and the animals help me so much. I love you know, dogs and cats. And I really got to see that when I worked at the shelter. The care that shelter gets. Everything has values and I thought to myself, Why couldn’t I do that? What is really stopping me from doing that? So it wasn’t like I’ve thought about this my whole life. It happened about four years ago. You know, it was a dream to do. I didn’t think it would happen, but I was to determine to make it happen, and it did happen. It’s amazing to me, this rescue is pretty much my world. So it wasn’t something that I’ve always wanted to do. It just kind of happened, and I am so happy that it did happen. Well, we’re happy that it did happen, you know, in which this industry could always use more people who have such big hearts to save more animals. So I think what you’re doing is great. And I know that a lot of us in the animal welfare industry are behind you and we support you. So I think it’s great and just keep on chugging along. Thank you. I appreciate that so much.

 So, Fallon, what does the future look like for your organization? So our long term goal for Al’s is to eventually open our own facility, where we can expand and become bigger to work . So it would  help in ways such as we will no longer be foster based, so we could take in more animals than we do now. We would still encourage people to foster for us, but intake would no longer depend on how many fosters that you have at the moment. It would be open to our community so they could come and visit, volunteer with the dogs, and we would finally have an adoption area for new adopters. We have so much more planned, it would open up so much opportunity for us, for our community and for our animals. Yes, that’s a good thing. And it does open up a lot more opportunities.

 So how do you explain to people what it’s like to work in an animal rescue? It’s really, really hard and still very rewarding. Some days I want to pull my hair out, and some days I can’t stop smiling. I can’t imagine running something like that, and it’s got to take a toll, you know, on you physically and emotionally, and I kind of want to pick your brain a little bit of, you know, how do you kind of deal with all that? What keeps you going? Well, these animals do. As much as this stresses me out some days and some days I do want to say, I’m done. It’s the animals that keep me going because if we weren’t here, who would they have? Yes, they would have nothing. I love that. That’s absolutely true. You’re their voice, for the time that they are in your care.

 Like I said, I think it’s great what you’re doing. You know, I really think that you just got to keep chugging along and you know, you are still new, so it’s gonna take some time to get going. But that’s kind of what this podcast is about. We want to make sure that we’re shining light to the work that you’re doing. And personally, I have never heard of anybody doing hot dog fundraisers that I’ve talked to, and I think that’s awesome, you know. Like I said, it’s simple. Yet it just goes that extra mile, you know. So you definitely have that mindset to keep things going.

 But I really want to kind of take it a little bit further and just kind of ask you if there’s anybody listening to our podcast that wants to help you out or they just so happen to be in your area, how can I go about getting in contact with you, to either be a foster or donate or anything of that nature? They could look up our Facebook page, our Facebook page is Al’s Angels Animal Rescue They could also give us a call. Our number is (215) 600-8867. They could also send us an email, which is [email protected] We’re always looking for new fosters, volunteers, and if you can’t do those things, please just go on our Facebook and share. Share anything that we post, that helps so much. Yes, it does, and it keeps it going. So I’m looking forward to connecting with you in the future and just checking in and seeing how things are going. And I really do want to see you succeed. And I think that you got the right mindset to do that.

 So, Fallon, do you have anything else that you’d like to share today before we wrap things up? I just want to say thank you to you and thank you to our supporters because without our supporters, we would not be here. Of course. Well thank you for joining me today, and I really hope that people we take your doing and implement in their own organization or take your back story and take that big leap of faith and open their own rescue, like you did, and I’m still shocked that it happened so quickly. It is just amazing. Thank You.

 Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a Dooberteer, sign up for free at www.Doobert.com. At Doobert, we know that together we can save more animals.”

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