July Non-Profit: The Worcester Animal Rescue League

By Dani Babineau

“Are you guys dog friendly?”

In the five months we’ve been open, that’s been far and away our most frequently asked question. Not “what beers do you have?” Not “do you have parking?” Everyone’s wondering about the dogs.

Our customers’ enthusiasm for their furry friends is one of the many, many reasons we’re thrilled to be supporting our non-profit for July, the Worcester Animal Rescue League.

WARL was founded in 1912 by a group of women determined to save overworked and abused farm horses. Today, the organization is dedicated to protecting, caring for, and loving pets throughout Central Massachusetts. The organization provides tons of pet-based services, including sheltering, adoption, fostering, boarding, spay/neutering, vaccinations, training, and more.

We spoke with Allie Tellier, WARL’s Executive Director, to learn more about this important, yet certainly adorable, organization and the work they do.

(And if you’re still wondering, the answer is yes - dogs are allowed on the outdoor patio and in taproom. Just keep ‘em off the astroturf. Even the goodest dogs could make a, uh, mistake there.)

What’s the mission of WARL and what does the organization do?

The mission of the Worcester Animal Rescue League is to give compassion to every being that turns to us for help, providing shelter and care for animals as well as respect and resources for people. Founded initially by a group of women determined to save overworked and abused farm horses, WARL’s services have expanded and changed to protect, care, and love our cats and dogs throughout Central Massachusetts. Our staff and volunteers are dedicated champions to this cause and act as caretakers for the animals and educators to their human counterparts.

Why is WARL's mission important to the Worcester area? 

With a city as large as Worcester, there are bound to be animals and people in need. That's where WARL comes in. WARL has provided the animals of Worcester and surrounding towns with a safe shelter for over 100 years. WARL is one of the largest animal shelters in Massachusetts, and the only one in Worcester. Lost animals have a safe place to wait until they are reunited with their owners. People who need to surrender their pet can do so at a facility where they will be well cared for. The animals in our care are given attention, medical care, and love until a forever home comes along to continue providing for those needs. Where would the pets go if WARL wasn't here? 

What has WARL accomplished that you’re most proud of?

I beam with pride every time we come to the aid of a pet or person. We're here for the lost pets, the neglected ones, and the very loved pet who is being surrendered by a heartbroken owner. We provide for the pets' every need and we're able to do so because of the community's support. 

WARL is a limited intake animal shelter, meaning that there is no time or space limit on "adoptable" pets - that could be blind, three-legged, fiesty, or more - as long as their quality of life is not compromised by severe aggression or un-treatable medical condition, they stay with us until they are adopted. 

We have received recognition in local "Best of" awards from the Worcester Magazine and the Telegram & Gazette for Best Non-Profit, Best Animal Shelter, and Best Fundraising Event (Wagtime Gala). We don't work for the awards, but it feels good to be recognized. 

How might donations from Redemption Rock customers help WARL in the future?

Worcester Animal Rescue League is a non-profit organization. The costs to care for animals, provide medical attention, and prepare for adoption are extensive, however we would never deny an animal treatment due to cost. And it's clear that our community stands behind us because it is through their generosity, and that of our friends like Redemption Rock Brewing Co., that we can provide for every animal's need. 

Does WARL have any upcoming events that people should know about?

Save the date for Wagtime on September 28 at the AC Hotel in Worcester. The largest and fanciest of WARL’s fundraisers, Wagtime combines fun, dinner, entertainment, auctions, and more – all to benefit the Worcester Animal Rescue League. Our guest emcee for the evening will be 104.5 XLO Morning Show Host Jen Carter! 

Wagtime is an evening dedicated to celebrating the Worcester Animal Rescue League’s important mission of improving the lives of animals and the people who love them. Wagtime presents animal lovers with an evening filled with delicious vegetarian dinner, exciting auction prizes and raffles, live music, and endless opportunities to make a direct impact on the life of a shelter pets. Over $217,000 has been raised at Wagtime since its creation in 2012. Each year Wagtime grows in popularity, attendance, and success. The funds raised provide shelter pets with a warm bed, a full belly, medical treatment, and the love they deserve.