Animal Welfare Society

Animal Welfare Society

A Community Driven Animal Shelter

By Susan Spisak

Founded in 1967, the private 501(c)(3) Animal Welfare Society (AWS) is located in Kennebunk on a 40-acre campus. It not only has an animal shelter, adoption center, and a full-service in-house veterinary clinic, but boasts resident and community dog training. AWS serves eighteen municipalities, and they care for stray, abandoned, and owner relinquished animals.
AWS also welcomes out-of-state pets through their transport program. Stephanie Kelley, AWS’ Marketing Communications Manager, said they were one of the first Maine shelters to begin working with rescue groups and shelters in the South to import dogs and cats, more than 20 years ago. “At first the program transported only young, healthy puppies (and their mothers). Now we transport dogs and cats, and we're able to take in adult dogs and cats, including some with known health issues, because we know they can get top notch care right here at AWS.”
That top notch in-house care she’s referring to is their Community Veterinary Clinic that offers spay/neuter, wellness, and preventative care for those imports as well as area pets, all at affordable prices. “We offer a discount program called the Companion Program which offers 25% off all services for pet owners who meet income eligibility requirements. The demand for our services far outpaces our capacity so every day is a full schedule of surgeries, consultations, and appointments.”
AWS has various programs, including those geared towards youth and canine training. While Stephanie appreciates those, one of her favorite programs is Stay@Home, the only one of its kind in the state. It’s a suite of services that aids pet owners facing hardship, and she says the need is important. “The goal of Stay@Home is to keep pets with their beloved owners when their owners are facing crises, such as homelessness, medical emergencies, or unexpected financial hardships. Resources include temporary boarding, food, and supplies through our pet food pantry, access to affordable veterinary care, and behavior and training consultations.”  
Every year, AWS takes in and adopts out countless animals. The staff works hard to match each adopter with that perfect pet, and Stephanie loves to hear positive feedback. She shared one example from a thrilled owner. "Lana is an amazing dog and has been the light of me and my daughter’s life. She helped us through some tough times. She has a natural gift as she could always sense when my daughter was about to have her Vertigo moments. And she also was a protective girl around her after my daughter and I were in a car accident when we got hit by a drunk driver. This dog was a true friend and hero, and I couldn’t imagine life without her!"
Visit for all info. Be sure to support them by attending Woofstock.  It’s a family- and dog-friendly, local beer and food festival, held rain or shine, on July 27, from 11 am to 3 pm at Animal Welfare Society, 46 Holland Road in Kennebunk, Maine. Stephanie shared, “Due to the kindness of our title sponsor Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, all sponsorships, fees, beer garden tickets sales, t-shirt sales and donations raised at Woofstock support pet veterinary care at AWS’ Community Veterinary Clinic and throughout the state.”




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