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We’ve had Jorgie (formerly Mavis) for almost 3 weeks now and we couldn’t be happier! I found out that not only is she a puggle, but a puggle and Boston terrier mix. She is so full of love and kisses (TONS of kisses!). She has so much energy and loves to play outside with her “big sister” Puggle.

JorgieShe also has become very popular with other people and dogs in are apartment community! Everyone adores her! Jorgie’s favorite things are going to the dog park and watching thunderstorms roll by on the balcony. We are so thankful to Homeward trails and our volunteer Kim for all of their help. We couldn’t have picked a better pup to join our happy family!

-Anna & Glenn, Annapolis, MD


While in the process of adopting Bella (formerly Kinsey), I found out she might be a Pit Bull mix. It made me hesitate. We have a puggle at home and the thought of a potentially aggressive dog coming into our home was a little frightening. Since then, Bella has taught me so much about dogs and dog breeds. She is the sweetest dog I have ever met. All she wants to do is sit on the couch and get love all day.

BellaShe completely changed my perception of Pit Bulls. I have learned that Pit Bulls are the worst guard dogs; they will lick any stranger’s face. She and her puggle sister, Meg, get along famously. We could not have asked for or trained a better dog! We are now adamant about teaching others about Pit Bull breeds and are advocates for responsible Pit Bull ownership.

Martin-Davis Family, Alexandria, VA

See more posts about: Pit Bulls


My name is Nelly.

NellyI was adopted a year ago and I thought it would be a good time to take stock of the situation. I include a few pictures, one where I don’t look my best and another which I like much better. This is what happened between.

I was dumped in a rural shelter by a lady who lived in a domestic violence situation. I was already 9 by then, and was not too hopeful about any improvements in my life. But Homeward Trails changed everything! They picked me up, brought me back to DC, cleaned me up, spayed me and pulled 9 rotten teeth out of my mouth!

Nelly_beforeNelly before

After about two weeks in a wonderful foster home, a couple (not too young, like me) came to visit and liked me so much they came back and took me home with them! I was nervous at first… When they extended a hand to pet me, I ran to hide under furniture and was afraid the leash was not meant to take me for a walk. Loud noises still scare me, but all in all, I’m pretty satisfied with my situation..

My dad works at home, so I’m rarely alone. I may be only 12 pounds, but I’m a fantastic guard dog as I hear absolutely everything. Actually, I don’t know how they managed without me; they miss everything, the UPS guy, the door bell, you name it.

I’ve heard some people BUY dogs! Can you imagine that? When there are hundreds, no, thousands of dogs, as good and as wonderful as I am waiting for a better life. So think about it.

Gotta go, I distinctly hear some interesting noises in the kitchen!


-Nelly (via Laetitia & Robert), Bethesda, MD

See all posts about: Older Dogs | Shy Dogs


We adopted Linus (formerly Lightnin) when he was a few months old in the summer of 2008, after his previous owners gave him up for the serious offense of busting their blow-up kid’s pool. After doing the paperwork and everything for the adoption, we brought him home to our apartment in Laurel, MD! The next step was 4 baths to bring his tail back to the famous beagle dipstick tail as opposed to its urine stained yellow.

LinusSkip ahead two years later, after several bras, sunglasses, hats, omelets, flip flops, exercise balls, tupperware, etc. have been eaten…After drawers, cabinets, doors, baby gates, 8 ft. privacy fences have been successfully defeated…We love him as much as the day we adopted him, if not more!!

He now spends his days running around the house with his sister Lola, the American Bulldog, and his brother, Binx, the tabby cat, in our home in Crofton, MD. He’s seen the U.S. Capitol Building and happily peed in the rotunda. He’s hiked in Great Falls, VA, and he makes regular trips to Northeastern PA to see his grandparents. He’s a handful, but he’s our little boy, and we wouldn’t trade him for the world!

-Kristin & Kathryn, Crofton, MD


When we moved back to Arlington in August 2008, we knew we were finally settled enough to adopt the cats we’d been wanting for a long time. It was sheer luck that we stumbled across Homeward Trails. We knew we wanted a bonded pair, and we wanted at least one of the cats to be black because we know black cats have a harder time being adopted. We quickly narrowed the available cats to two pairs, but when we met them, we knew Trouble and Pax (previously Spark and Toby, respectively) were the right cats for us. They were living at PetMAC at the time, and Trouble (a slightly petite, all black cat) met us at the door and let us pick him up immediately. Then we were regaled with stories from PetMAC staff about how everyone loved Pax (a big orange tabby), but no one that had considered him had wanted two cats. We brought Trouble and Pax home less than two weeks after first meeting them.

Trouble and The BeastTrouble and Pax were amazingly adaptable. They had been surrendered to Homeward Trails when their original owner died. They lived at PetMAC for a while and were adopted by a woman with known allergies that turned out to be much more severe than she realized. Back at PetMAC, we finally found them! Despite all this turmoil in their short lives, they were the most personable cats we’d ever met. They greeted us at the door from the first day and settled into our house as if they’d always lived there. Pax quickly learned (and loved!) to play fetch with toy mice. Trouble found his way onto the highest surfaces in the house, including the occasional balancing act on top of an open door.

Sadly, just over a year after we adopted our boys, Pax became very ill with bladder problems. He passed away quickly in January. Trouble did not know what to do without his constant companion. He became more affectionate and cried at the door when we left the house. We knew he needed another companion so he wasn’t by himself all day. We returned to Homeward Trails, and Lori began to help us with the search for a friend for Trouble.

We met cat after cat, each with great attributes, but when we met Johnny, a milk-and-honey-colored kitty, we just knew he was the cat we’d been searching for. We call him The Beast because he looked like he was about the size of a bobcat in his Homeward Trails profile picture. He’s actually a regular size for a cat, but he has big paws and ears like a kitten who’s still growing into his fur. The nickname just stuck!

 The Beast sitting on a sleeping Trouble

The Beast was relentless in his affections to Trouble, jumping up next to Trouble even when he knew Trouble wasn’t used to him yet. He just didn’t give up, and Trouble quickly gave in. We usually find them in the same room (and always in a room with one or both of us), and The Beast – who is just a big kitten somewhere between a year or two old – has brought some real playfulness to Trouble’s life. (He has also taught Trouble to knock shiny things to the floor – thanks a lot, Beast!) We’re so happy that neither of them are lonely, and we’re lucky to have such affectionate cats from Homeward Trails to greet us at the door when we come home.

-Lauren & Allen, Arlington, VA

See all posts about: Black Cats | Bonded Pairs


My husband and I connected with Homeward Trails through Craig’s List–we had been thinking about adopting an older dog and offered to foster a dog that was set to be euthanized shortly. Turned out that the dog we inquired about was safe, but we learned that there were so many more that needed our help. Our Homeward Trails contact (and now friend, Lisa Milot) worked with us to find two great pups. We adopted Kelly and Sally, an older pair of bonded, large, mostly black dogs with some health issues. Kelly and Sally were originally adopted into a loving home in Georgia as puppies, but their owner had to go into assisted living.

Kelly and Sally were left out in the backyard of their owner’s home, where her nephew would come to feed them once a day. After three months of this, they moved to a foster home in Georgia with five other dogs, where they stayed for five months with not a single application. Kelly weighed about 90 lbs at one point (that’s 30 more lbs than he weighs now) and had suffered from chronic ear infections and undiagnosed food allergies his entire life–the stress of the transition from his home led to him developing large, open sores from itching himself literally bald. Kelly was often growly with other dogs. He went off to stay with the vet for a bit, leaving poor Sally, who has arthritis, alone for the first time–completely terrified.

We adopted these two large, black, bonded, older dogs–and they are absolutely perfect for us. Kelly is on a special fish-based diet and has not only shed the weight, but developed a fabulous coat and no longer has chronic ear infections. Sally’s arthritis is being treated with supplements. Sally loves to swim, while Kelly prefers to keep his toes dry. Our pups are happy and settled in with us and our routine beautifully. We–my husband and myself, and Kelly and Sally–foster other Homeward Trails dogs now. Kelly and Sally are so relaxed that they quickly help our fosters to feel at home–and the Kelly is no longer the growly dog he once was, but enjoys playtime!

-Daphne, Hyattsville, MD


We lost our almost 19 year old poodle in May 2008. When we were finally ready to get another dog, we decided to adopt a rescue dog. We scoured Petfinder and found Milo and Otis and instantly fell in love. We applied to adopt them, then met them and their foster Mom. She told us they were found in Baltimore in July, and that when they were picked up, they were very dirty and very skinny. When we met them in September, they were no longer dirty and they were no longer skinny.

Milo & OtisYou could tell how well Lynn had taken care of them and that she was truly looking out for their best interests. She told us she wasn’t sure if they were in a home together or found each other on the street, but they were a bonded pair and would only be placed as a pair. Two dogs means twice the fun! We loved them and they apparently loved us, so we brought them home on September 10, 2009. Our groomer says they are two of the happiest dogs she’s ever seen. We love them and of course we spoil them rotten! As you can tell from the picture, they absolutely LOVED all of the snow we had this Winter!

-Julie and David, Lorton, VA

See all posts about: Bonded Pairs


After losing our American Eskimo earlier this year, we finally decided it was time to start looking for a companion for us and for our dog, Joy, who had come from Homeward Trails in 2008. After contacting HT again, Sue Bell told us about Eli. We met him at the Pet Fiesta and fell in love. But someone else was looking at him and we had to wait through the weekend – a couple of the longest days we’ve had!

EliEli has been with us about a month now and is just a love! And Joy, who previously didn’t like to play or visit the dog park, now can’t wait to get in the car and go and is the frequent instigator in a game of tug of war! It’s so good to see her coming out of her shell.

Eli has brought us nothing but smiles and laughter and we are so happy to have him with us. Thanks, Sue, for finding him for us!

-The Rauscher Family, North Potomac, MD


I lost two cats within 7 months in 2008-2009. My remaining cat, Brox, and I, were having a tough time coping. After losing two so close together, and spending a small fortune on vet bills, I was going to wait a while to adopt another cat. But Brox was lonely, depressed, and anxious. He started over grooming his belly, licking himself bald. I half-heartedly started browsing Homeward Trails’ petfinder page. Then BAM! There she was. Skunk: a fluffy beautiful little black and white sweetheart. I was 99% sure after seeing her picture that she belonged with us, and after reading her description, I was 100% sure.

PenelopeA few days later, I met her for the first time when she came home. She made herself at home almost immediately. Much to my surprise, Brox was scared of her at first (he weighs 19 pounds, she weighed about 8 pounds at the time). But within a few days, they became fast friends. I renamed her Penelope–a Skunk by another name is just as sweet.

A little more than a year later, I am so grateful to have her in my life. Her sweetness and motherly nature helped both Brox and me get over our losses. She and Brox play together, eat together, groom each other, and sleep together. He’s a completely different cat now–calm, happy, playful, and no more over-grooming.

Pen loves to play. Her current favorite is the turbo scratcher, but she loves the laser pointer and straws, too. She often sits on a towel in the kitchen while I’m making dinner, just keeping me company. And even though she keeps her fur beautiful, she loves to be brushed. She is amazingly soft, and petting her is a joy. I am completely in love with her. She is the most delightful cat!

-Louann (& Brox), Arlington, VA


Walter came to us as a foster when a Homeward Trails plea for help went out and we agreed to foster a kitty-friendly dog. We went to pick him up and Walter was standing apart from the other dogs, terribly overweight and a bit sad looking. He had been adopted previously, but his owner didn’t understand that beagles must follow their noses and he kept wandering off, so she gave him back to Homeward Trails. She also named him Nutmeg, a name to which he flat out refused to answer.

WalterHe sauntered into our house, sniffed the cats and hopped up on the sofa, where he has been ever since. Unless he is out sniffing around in the park.

We tried several adoption events, but Walter did his very effective impression of a dead dog and while potential adopters liked that he was not high energy, they did want a dog who actually moved. Of course, the second we got home, he would dance wildly around and we always breathed a sigh of relief that he came back to our house. Of course we adopted him and promptly changed his name to Walter, which he helped us select by answering to it and ignoring all other suggestions.

We now live in Pittsburgh, where we have a huge park nearby where he hunts for deer and rabbits. Hunting meaning he sniffs and barks his head off for as many hours as I will let him. He has amassed a fan club due to the inordinate amount of noise he makes and his hilarious antics. He will refuse to leave the park and will just lie down and do his dead dog impression or roll on his back while kicking his legs in the air. I have to carry him out or we both just sit and stare stubbornly at one another. People used to stop and ask if I needed help or a ride, but now they roll down their windows and shout “Hey Walter!”

This stubborn, smelly little guy has brought more happiness to our lives than can be imagined. He insists on being the center of the universe and we’re more than happy to give him that role.

-Teri, Pittsburgh, PA