Business Owners Use Restaurant Success to Save Dogs and Cats.
Eat, Drink and Rescue. That’s the operative phrase at the Lost Dog Café and its sister restaurant the Stray Cat Café – two popular neighborhood eateries in Arlington that serve up good food, cold drinks and a lot of love for the animals. Owners Ross Underwood and Pam McAlwee have been in business together since 1985 and have been rescuing stray dogs and cats almost as long.
It began with a few “lost” dogs needing a place to stay until they could find new homes of their own. Then it grew into taking in dogs who were about to be euthanized in shelters and finding them adoptive families. Finally, their efforts coalesced into the establishment of the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCRF) in 2001, a non-profit entity supported in part by Underwood and McAlwee and the two Arlington restaurants. Today, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation places an average of 1500 animals per year into permanent, loving homes thanks largely to the efforts of this dynamic duo and their drive to succeed in business and at the same time address the issue of animal overpopulation.
Underwood and McAlwee not only oversee the daily operations of the two very busy restaurants, they are both actively involved in keeping the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation alive and growing. While Underwood devotes his time to maintaining the Lost Dog Ranch where most of the dogs and cats wait for their chance at a new life, McAlwee is the driving force behind the four adoption events the foundation holds every weekend.
Underwood and McAlwee are joined in their efforts by a virtual army of volunteers who give their time and energy to the animals. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday dogs and cats are shuttled by volunteers from the Lost Dog Ranch in Sumerduck, Virginia to local PetSmart stores for adoption events. There they are met by more volunteers who walk the dogs, show the cats and talk with potential adopters. Just like it is at both restaurants, the atmosphere at the adoption events is casual, cheerful and charged and keeps folks coming back for more.
The Lost Dog Café, The Stray Cat Café and the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation combine to serve up an eclectic combination of good food, good times and good deeds.