Voorhees Animal Orphanage celebrates 34 years

Max the dog
Max is a four year old Boxer mix who is friendly with people and enjoys lots of affection.

Out Pets

Voorhees Animal Orphanage (VAO) has been around for 34 years, but Jennifer Bailey has been at the shelter for the last 11. She started out as a dog walker and now she is the secretary of the board of directors as well as the director of marketing.

Her work at VAO became a passion. One she didn’t exactly expect.

Bailey decided to go right back to work after giving birth to her daughter. However, due to scheduling conflicts, she decided to stay home with her then-kindergartener. She thought she’d return to work once her daughter was in seventh grade, but now her daughter is a college graduate and Bailey is still at VAO. The dog-lover realized she was where she belonged all along.

“We actually do have two volunteers who are still here from when we actually officially became the Voorhees Animal Orphanage,” said Bailey.

Today, VAO covers 29 towns in southern New Jersey; 19 of those towns are in Camden. The county supports in minimalistic ways such as printing and sponsoring programs like their “Seniors for Seniors” program. This covers the adoption fees and other petty expenses. “…But that’s not really anything that’s helping us keep the lights on — if you know what I mean,” said Bailey. “We kind of fancy ourselves to be the underdog.”

VAO scrapped and saved for 10 years to afford a new facility, which opened up in February of 2020. Due to the COVID pandemic, they soon closed. This took the wind out of their sails, but Bailey says they were, and still are, blessed.

The orphanage went from cracks in the ceiling to a building that separates the cats from the dogs, the ill from the healthy. This makes a huge difference for multiple reasons. There are enough rooms for vets to make “in-house” visits to spay and neuter on Mondays.

This creates incredible savings for the orphanage. Wheeled in and out of their procedures, the dogs and cats don’t go anywhere else, Bailey said.

“We hope to be up and running very soon with a spay neuter clinic to the public, so we’re able to kind of serve our community that way,” said Bailey.

This is all due to the generous support of those who believe in VAO and the work they do to save the lives of cats and dogs. For example, at one point, the orphanage was at their last four bags of dog food, enough to last a single day. They were desperate, so they took to the web. Bailey says they pleaded to their Facebook followers for help.

“It was nothing short of miraculous over the course of the next couple of days. The very next morning, we had three FedEx trucks pull up that were filled floor to ceiling just for us,” shared Bailey. They had so much pet food they shared their resources with other rescues.

Nevertheless, where the community finds its way to help each other, so do planned family/community fundraisers.

Jones the cat
Jones is friendly fellow and is s five, and found as a stray.

Meet two adoptables:


If you’d like to add a very nice adult cat to your family, Jones just may be the one for you! This friendly fellow is five, and found as a stray. He’s comfortable in the orphanage and enjoys plenty of pets. He’s easy to handle and easy to love, AND he would love to go home with you! Please don’t keep him waiting. Come meet Jones at the VAO today and let it be his lucky day!


Max the dog
Max is a four year old Boxer mix who is friendly with people and enjoys lots of affection.

Max is a four year old Boxer mix who is friendly with people and enjoys lots of affection. However, he has never met a stranger! He is not used to living with other dogs and can be selective with his doggy friends, so we recommend him as the only dog in his new home. Max did live with small children, but we think he would be happier with older children that have respect for a dog’s space.

Max wants nothing more than to be a beloved house dog again! He lived with the same family most of his life, and is understandably confused as to why he is living in a shelter. Max was in foster care and is now back at the shelter looking for his new forever home.


Lana Leonard
Lana Leonard (they/them) is a graduate from The College of New Jersey with a degree in journalism and professional writing. They work at the GLAAD Media institute and freelance for publications like LGBTQ Nation while working on their journalistic theory of change project: Late Nights with Lana, a talk show based out of 10PRL film studios in Long Branch, NJ. Lana's mission, in all their work, is to focus on people, their collective truths and how those truths form a community of knowledge towards change.