Campus Life

Animal Welfare League

by Hannah Mayer


The Animal Welfare League (AWL) is a brief 8-minute drive from Grace College, and is a bit more of a temptation than this pet-lover can stand! Within this pet adoption and rescue shelter, 140 cages house stray cats, dogs, and other animals found around Kosciusko county. AWL has improved considerably in the past few years, and needs Grace College volunteers who love animals to stop by and help!

Darla McCammon is the executive director of the AWL, and has applied her years of marketing experience with AT&T into developing the shelter into something wonderful.

Says McCammon: “I took the offer of early retirement from AT&T, and [my husband and I] had fun for a couple of years. Then I started coming out here and helping a little bit — I’m just a person who likes to be doing things!”

She has been certainly been busy. Since she replaced the executive director four years ago, McCammon has increased pet adoption by 22%, decreased euthanizations by 35%, and purchased a new van and garage. The interior of the shelter is now neat, more organized, much safer and healthier for the animals, and doesn’t have that overwhelming “dog” smell. McCammon’s prior career has led her to stress professionalism and smart business. “To run this shelter, you need business management experience, and a passion for the animals. You need a combination of both.”

Marketing has always been important for nonprofit organizations. The Animal Welfare League reserves “First Fridays” of every month to get pets out into the community for fund-raising and adoptions. The next event is called “Artober.” People in the community can pay to have their pets make paw-print murals, and all the proceeds help the shelter. “We do a lot of things,” McCammon explains. “We go out to almost every nursing home once a month, we go to places like Big R and Tractor Supply and set up in their parking lots; we’ve done a Give-Back night recently at Culver’s.”

Grace students are welcome to volunteer at the Animal Welfare League. They are seeking volunteers who will socialize with the pets, take them for walks, and try to get them adopted. Volunteers may come and assist at events in the community as well. Other possible chores may include bathing the pets, cleaning kennels, and the ever popular poop-scooping. McCammon also expressed an interest in having a business major work as an intern with the shelter.

The AWL is quickly growing into one of the best animal shelters in the area. The town of Nappanee is technically part of Elkhart County, but chooses the AWL for their stray animals. For the Grace student who longs to smuggle a pet into Alpha, and for the Beta boy who temporarily manages to do so, volunteer work at the Animal Welfare League is an appealing alternative. It is located at 3489 E 100 S. , behond the Tractor Supply Stpre pm 30 E. The office number is (574) 267-3008. Check out their website at, or their Facebook page!