The entire staff, volunteers and the animals at AWLQ proudly wish Neil Andersen OAM, our founding president, a very happy 95th birthday!

ABOVE: Ita Buttrose AO OBE presenting Neil Andersen OAM with his Golden Hearts membership in 2015.

After 58 years of loyal and dedicated service, Neil is now taking life easier and spending quality time with his beloved dog Lilly. Although, Neil continues to closely follow the progress of AWLQ and is quick to offer advice and suggestions which is very much appreciated by our team.

In the 1950’s, with no rehoming strategies in place at the local pound, stray dogs and cats were shot and dumped in landfill if unclaimed.

ABOVE: AWLQ founding members with Neil Andersen OAM standing on the left in 1959.

ABOVE: Neil and wife Mavis with founding members of Animal Lovers League in 1959.

The Animal Lovers League (now AWLQ) was formed in 1959 by Neil Andersen and a small volunteer group that assisted council by taking unclaimed strays from the pound to find them new homes, with the group saving the lives of tens of thousands of dogs and cats.

AWLQ moved to its current Gold Coast rehoming centre at Shelter Road, Coombabah, in the mid 1980’s. The organisation now operates four rehoming centres and two Community Veterinary Clinics (CVC’s) in South East Qld and an additional CVC in Hobart.

Since its humble beginnings, AWLQ has grown to currently employ over 200 staff and has successfully rehomed a colossal 130,000 animals throughout its history.

In 2009 a milestone was reached when AWLQ achieved zero euthanising of healthy animals at our Gold Coast rehoming centre. City of Gold Coast is the largest city in Australia to achieve zero euthanasia of all healthy and treatable cats and dogs.
In 2015, the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG became AWLQ’s Patron and in 2015 Ita Buttrose AO OBE, became our ambassador of Golden Hearts – AWLQ’s flagship program for senior-aged people in the community.

Today AWLQ continues to uphold its promise to: never euthanise a sociable, healthy or treatable companion animal in our care.

AWLQ also works tirelessly with the help of committed staff, volunteers and supporters who share in the aspirations and vision of Neil and that small group of people who first came together in 1959.

In acknowledgement and appreciation of Neil’s lifetime commitment to saving the lives of dogs and cats in shelters and pounds across Southeast Queensland, all the team at AWLQ send our best wishes for his birthday.

Neil, we congratulate you on your exceptional achievements and salute you as an exemplary leader in animal welfare.