Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy and Programs

From our beginning, we’ve been driven to establish an organization that balances rescuing and caring for animals with educating the humans on whom these animals rely for a peaceful, safe and healthy life. The decisions we make daily, and the programs we offer, reflect this philosophy.

Joely and her littermates were homeless in 2007 when AWF took the puppies into its care, providing spaying/neutering and vaccinations and placing them in responsible homes.

Joely and her littermates were homeless in 2007 when AWF took the puppies into its care, providing spaying/neutering and vaccinations and placing them in responsible homes.

Rescue

We are in the process of raising funds for building an animal shelter in Jones County. Until we have a facility of our own, we rely on a network of state-licensed foster homes to care for our stray dogs and cats. Our foster parents provide a safe temporary home until a permanent home can be found.

Foster Care V. Shelter Care

Having cared for strays in foster homes for over 12 years, we have learned there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach versus a shelter. The biggest advantage is that we have the chance to observe a dog or cat’s behavior in a home environment. However, by its nature, foster care is inconsistent because the people providing the care have their own unique personalities, skills, knowledge levels and schedules. This can result in inconsistent training and care for a rescue group’s foster animals. An animal shelter, on the other hand, provides a consistent environment with consistent care. It also has predictable hours, making it easy for people to visit the pets they are interested in adopting.

Veterinary Care

All of our dogs receive rabies and distemper/parvo vaccinations, heartworm test and de-worming. Cats are vaccinated against rabies and distemper, de-wormed, and treated for fleas and ear mites. We also provide care for any health issues that are present when the stray animal is picked up or arise in foster care, including heartworm, injuries, ear infections and urinary tract infections. Dogs in foster care are on heartworm preventative and flea and tick preventative from April through November.

Microchipping

All of our dogs and cats are microchipped with 24PetWatch chips. This company was selected because there is no registration fee for the first year, as there is with the other two top microchip companies. We did not want to add to the financial burden of pet owners by selecting a company that required fees in addition to cost of the chip implant. We also recommend recording your microchips on freepetchipregistry.com. This is a growing database where all microchips can be recorded for free and is not limited to one brand of microchips. This makes it easier to locate a pet’s information without having to potentially call twelve different phone numbers to obtain the information.

Suri was a member of a family of cats that was shot and left to die near a farm in Jones County. She survived and was taken into AWF’s care. Today she lives in a caring, responsible forever home.

Suri was a member of a family of cats that was shot and left to die near a farm in Jones County. She survived and was taken into AWF’s care. Today she lives in a caring, responsible forever home.

Education

Our board members and volunteers realize knowledge is essential in order to improve pet care and eliminate the pet overpopulation problem. We attempt to educate the public every chance we get—daily phone calls and e-mails as well as public appearances. Free Pet Parenting Classes are provided and adoption packets for dogs and cats include DVDs on training and behavior as well as tip sheets and resources. Our dog- and cat-savvy board members and coordinators are available to troubleshoot behavior issues or give referrals to our favorite dog trainers and animal behaviorists.

We Focus on Eastern Iowa’s Dogs & Cats

In our 12 years of existence, only one of the hundreds of animals helped by our organization came from out-of-state. Our main focus is to help the stray dogs and cats of Jones County. There are thousands of animals that suffer and die in our state each year. Because of this, we place a priority on helping the dogs and cats in our own back yard. When resources permit, we respond to a plea for help from outside of Jones County with a monetary donation or an offer to transport.