Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides pet adoption in Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland. We find homes for dogs and cats rescued from high-kill animal shelters or whose owners could no longer care for them or were found as strays.
Homeward Trails started by accident! In December 2001, Founder Sue Bell was vacationing in Fayette County, WV when she happened upon the local animal shelter. During a quick stop to drop off biscuits, she was told the sad history of this shelter. Their facility had been hit by a flash flood a few months prior, drowning more than 50 animals. Now operating out of a small trailer, the shelter had little space to house the animals and the euthanasia rate was almost 98%.
Bell and her husband decided to rescue three dogs that day, setting into motion a future no one could predict. Once back in the DC area, the three dogs – Brown Dog, Black Dog and Lucy were “put up for adoption” via e-mails to friends and ads in local papers. In just one week, all had homes. But the calls and e-mails kept coming from folks asking Bell to help them find a pet.
Recognizing a demand from local animal lovers and a large supply of animals in Fayette County, Bell began driving the 6 hour one-way trip every weekend to bring dogs and cats back to DC for adoption. At first, the goal was just to rescue 50 animals in honor of those that drowned in the shelter flood.
Now, 15 years later and more than 21,000 animals rescue, Homeward Trails is going strong and has no plans of stopping until every homeless dog and cat out there can be assured of a loving home.
Homeward Trails seeks to find permanent adoptive homes in the Mid-Atlantic Region for dogs and cats from high-kill shelters or whose owners can no longer care for them. In so doing, we seek to reduce the rate of euthanasia of adoptable animals through the rescue and placement of homeless animals; to support proactive spay/neuter practices; to promote positive and ongoing behavioral training; and to educate the public about how to care for their animals in a humane way. Homeward Trails not only facilitates adoptions from local shelters, but also supports a large network of foster care providers who take homeless dogs and cats into their homes, care for them, rehabilitate them when needed, and prepare them for their permanent adoptive homes.
Sadly, without our help, all of these adoptable animals would face almost certain euthanasia – usually within days or hours of our rescuing them. Each year we take in hundreds of wonderful animals who were left at shelters by no fault of their own.
Many are puppies and kittens – innocent victims of irresponsible pet owners who don’t practice spay/neuter. Many are abandoned hunting dogs who served their owners well and were dumped in woods or left at shelters when they were no longer wanted. Many are house pets whose owners simply grew tired of caring for them or moved and did not take them along. And even more are animals that have been injured, abused and neglected. Whatever the reasons, these animals all deserve better. And once with Homeward Trails, they get better!
1. To always operate in the best interest of the animals we take into our program and to advocate for the proper care of those in shelters and in private homes;
2. To provide quality care for the animals we take in for as long as they are in our program and to provide ongoing support to our adopters;
3. To always maintain a manageable number of animals in our system whereby we can ensure proper medical care, behavioral training and housing for the animals;
4. To rescue the widest array of dogs and cats by avoiding general discrimination based on breed, age, and health;
5. To provide our shelter partners and their communities with resources that will result in the highest level of care for their animals, an increase in spay/neuter surgeries and a decrease in the abuse, neglect and abandonment of dogs and cats;
6. To treat our volunteers, adopters and partners with understanding, patience and support
Board of Directors:
Our Board of Directors is comprised of dedicated volunteers whose goal it is to help guide Homeward Trails and its Executive Director to achieve success and longevity. The Board meets on the first Monday of the second month of each quarter at 7:30 p.m.