Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Take Paws to Volunteer – Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Last month we told you about our new program, Take Paws to Volunteer, where we’re stopping to give back to the communities we visit as we travel around the country. Each month I’m spending a day at an animal shelter or rescue – pitching in wherever I can – and then sharing the photos and stories of the dogs and cats I meet. My dream is that our community here at will help these fantastic pets find their forever homes. And maybe … just maybe … we’ll see pictures of them traveling the country with their new families!

This month I got to hang out at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa – what a place! Founded in 1926, ARL is the largest animal shelter in Iowa, providing for more than 19,000 animals each year. The facility in Des Moines is gorgeous and welcoming – a place you’d enjoy taking your family to find your perfect pet. And they do it all with no federal, state, or United Way funding. Let me take you on a quick tour …

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

The lobby is staffed by friendly folks, and you never need an appointment to stop by.

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

This is Zoobie. He’s serving as the welcoming committee until he finds his forever home:

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

And these little characters were keeping everyone entertained!

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

This is their state-of-the-art medical treatment area:

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

They even have a pet supply and gift shop right in the building!

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

This cat room is complete with lots of interactive toys, though giving up her belly for scratches seemed to be Chloe‘s favorite activity.  ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

Chloe - ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

And the dogs have great spaces, too! Their kennels are all glass fronts with handy treat buckets for rewarding calm behavior. This is Roxy, showing off her lounging skills.

Roxy - ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

There are outdoor kennels for play time in nice weather.

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

And a big ‘ole dog park where pups can chase a ball and burn off some energy!

ARL of Iowa - Des Moines, IA

ARL doesn’t turn away any animal in need, so along with the dogs and cats you’ll also find turtles, guinea pigs, gerbils, rabbits, mice, rats, and birds here. And the barn behind the main shelter houses the horses, chickens, and pigs – all looking for their perfect homes. It’s really a magical place.

This was an extremely special day for me. While I was there, two of the dogs I spent time with got adopted! The staff joked that I had the magic touch, but there are still other great pets waiting for their forever families. Let’s see if we can help them get to their new homes:

Leila is a sweet little girl with a love of … well … pretty much everything! She’s happy, full of energy, and I had as much fun watching her play with the ball as she did prancing around squeaking it.

Duke is a handsome boy who absolutely loves to fetch. He already knows some basic commands and he’s a favorite in the ARL Running Club.

Missy is participating in ARL’s Shelter Cat Getaway program – a program designed to give cats a vacation from the shelter and let them enjoy home life while they wait to be adopted. While vacations are fun, there really is no place like home, and Missy is chatty, playful cat who is looking forward to finding hers.

Mila is only two years old, and loves to be snuggled. She’s a little shy at first, so she’s hoping to find a home that’s a little calmer … maybe with another cat who could be her buddy!

Midnight is a gorgeous cat, who’s a little shy at first. Her exact age isn’t known, but she’s probably between 2 and 7 years old. She’ll be a great companion to whoever is lucky enough to snatch her up.

Amber loves to be petted and be near you, but at a dignified 7 years old, prefers not to be picked up … that stuff is for kittens, after all! She’s a pretty tortoiseshell girl who qualifies for the “better with age” reduced adoption fee, but still has plenty of good years and love to give.

You know you’ve had a good day volunteering when you have to drag yourself out the door to be home in time to feed your own dogs! I want to thank Michaela Devaney, Volunteer Coordinator at ARL of Iowa for showing me around, and all the staff for their warm welcome. I also want to thank Cloud Star and Alcott for their generous participation in the Take Paws to Volunteer Program. The all-natural treats and adventure gear they donate to the shelters each month helps make these animals’ wait a little more pleasant.

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