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After more than 8 years of working to save hundreds of dogs and cats from a desperate hoarding situation, we are finally seeing an end to the misery.

On Friday, September 13th, 2013 in Goochland County, VA, Annette Thompson was ordered to relinquish all the dogs and cats on her property. Even more importantly, she is no longer permitted to own or possess any companion animals.  Thompson is also not permitted to be involved in any way with animal rescue activities. On this day Annette Thompson signed legal ownership of all the dogs on her property over to Homeward Trails.

“This is a wonderful, wonderful day for the animals on her property,” says Sue Bell, Homeward Trails Executive Director. “We have worked for almost 8 years on this case, spent hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars and continued to hit our heads against the wall seeking justice for the animals. We are so grateful to finally see the day that Annette Thompson can no longer have animals, be involved in rescue and defraud the public and authorities about her care of animals.”

Thompson was convicted of six counts of animal neglect in 2011, charges that were only successful after HT and several other local rescues pursued these charges on behalf of more than one dozen sick and injured dogs rescued from Thompson’s property over years. At the time of the charges, HT had taken more than 700 animals from Thompson over five years.

Homeward Trails, along with our wonderful friends at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Alexandria Animal Welfare League, Fairfax Animal Shelter and the Richmond SPCA, removed 35 dogs from the property on Friday. On Wednesday, September 18, reps from Homeward Trails went back to the property to remove an additional 10 dogs and 1 kitten. Two of the dogs removed were taken by the Norfolk SPCA. There now remain 6 dogs and several feral cats, for which we are looking to secure places. “We desperately need more shelters and rescues to help take dogs. We are completely overloaded here at HT. We also are desperately seeking a barn home for the 3 feral cats. We do not want to see them needlessly euthanized,” says Bell.

The dogs have not been outside of their horrible, outdoor kennels for years. They are terrified, filthy and exhausted.  They need foster and forever homes, and we need volunteers to come to our office and take them outside for bathroom breaks or simply sit with them and teach them what human kindness is all about.

Finally, we need donations to help cover the very expensive vet bills. We are averaging $300/dog in vetting and that does not include those who test positive for heartworm, need x-rays, dentals or biopsies. It also does not include our boarding costs, which currently are running about $70/day.  To make a donation go to Goochland Hoarding Dogs.

Read the article in the Goochland Gazette here: Hadensville kennel to close

Read the article in Patch here:   Making Up for Lost Time:  Dogs From Hoarding Operation End Up at Local Rescues




Homeward Trails is proud to announce that we were able to raise over $2,100 last night thanks to the efforts of Dogfish Head Ale House!

Also thanks to Lauren Fulbright for providing us with live music during the event!







DC’s only dog-friendly, outdoor beer festival is back for another year so come out to drink up and maybe save a pup!

Join the Washington Wine Academy and Homeward Trails as we celebrate all things Pups and Pilsners on Sunday, September 22nd!  Come to Crystal City from 2 pm to 6 pm to sample craft beers (humans only!) and other delicious refreshments for both you and your canine companions.  Homeward Trails and other rescues will also be on sight with homeless canines who will be more than happy to serve as your designated digger.  The pup-friendly beer garden will also have local restaurants selling tasty snacks for you to pair with your beverage of choice.

So if life has been a bit ruff lately, join us for a relaxing, playful, doggone good time!


Register online and get guaranteed admission. Tickets will be sold on the day of the event for $25 cash only based on availability. We have limited space so we suggest you buy in advance to ensure you are able to attend.  Each attendee will get six tasting tickets to sample beers (an increase from 3 last year) and token for one full beer of their choice. Additional tickets and beer tokens will be available for sale at the event as well.

NOTE: Online advance ticket registration guarantees admission, but due to the popularity and limited venue space for this event, we cannot guarantee admission to all walk-ups the day of. Order in advance to ensure a space at this exciting event for you and your puppy pals!

Located at 1405 Crystal Drive on the Crystal Drive Northern Green, located just south of Long Bridge Park in Crystal City. We’ll be out there rain or shine!

The beers available will include:

Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin
Starr Hill Love
Port City Wit
Port City Porter
Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager
Devil’s Backbone Ichabod Crandall Pumpkin
Legend Lager
Legend Brown
Goose Island Sophie
Goose Island 312
Fort Collins Chocolate Stout
Fort Collins Red Banshee
Sneaky Pete IPA
Laughing Dog IPA
Flying Dog Märzen
Flying Dog Lager
Stiegl Radler
Weihenstephan Festbier
New Holland Full Circle Kolsch
Bold Rock Cider

Note: Subject to change based on availability.


Mervis Diamonds hosted a weekend-long fundraiser for Homeward Trails at all three of their locations in the area. Have a look at all the fun we had at the dog adoption event we had at their Tyson’s Corner location.  We were so happy to be there!  Thanks again Mervis!


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Homeward Trails attended the second annual “Paws For Celebration” event, co-hosted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus. The event is designed to honor shelters and rescue organizations throughout the nation and raise awareness for pet adoption.  Take a look at some of the action on Capitol Hill!

Come support a DOUGH RAISER to benefit Homeward Trails at UNO on August 22nd.

Uno will donating up to 20% of your purchase to the rescue if you present this certificate to your server!  So please join us at 5935 Kingstown Towne Center in Alexandria and help us roll up some donations!  We will see you there!


The children of Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless (AACH) Sulivan House shelter raised $500 to help homeless pets through sales from the Lemonade Stand.  Many of the kids were on hand on August 8th to present us with the donation, learn about interacting with dogs and enjoy some play time with our cute adoptable puppies.

The Lemonade Stand is a summer program designed to promote self-esteem through small business entrepreneurship, financial literacy and community service.  The Lemonade Stand helps students learn how to work together in group settings, while building leadership skills through the management of the stand.  The community service portion of the program allows students the opportunity to “give back” to organizations that serve those who are less fortunate.  This year the Lemonade Stand donated 50% of its proceeds to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue!  The remaining portion will help to fund trip to King’s Dominion for the students.

We are so grateful the kids and all the AACH staff who made this donation possible!

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Homeward Trails would like to thank Zog Sports – Play for Your Cause, who donated $75 from the Zoo Crew Soccer Team.

This is Homeward Trails’s 2nd donation from Zog Sports!! Thanks again!

Homeward Trails would like to thank Joshua Lieberman for raising $150 for Homeward Trails through his Bar Mitzvah project.

Thank you so much Joshua!

We are thankful for our friends Baker & McKenzie LLP who raised almost $4,000 to help little Joni have her surgery. Thank you for highlighting Homeward Trails during pro bono week and for being Joni’s guardian angels!

Poor Joni was abused, neglected, and almost didn’t make it. She was found lying in the middle of a rural highway in North Carolina. A driver saw her and slowed down, thinking that Joni was a dead raccoon. Then she saw her cute fuzzy face and Joni moved. The driver got out right away and went to her. Joni slowly crawled over to her with her tail wagging, dragging her back legs behind her, and hobbling on only one front leg.

The kind woman took her to the local nearby shelter assuming someone would be missing their sweet dog. But days went by and no one came for Joni. Soon, she was out of time at the shelter which was quickly filling up with other dogs. A desperate plea went out to rescues begging for someone to take her in.

It only took one look at the video of Joni to know that HT had to save her. Her sweet face, her spunky determination…we had to give her a chance! After a full day of organizing a plan, Joni was driven three hours by one volunteer to another volunteer who drove Joni the rest of the way to DC. Joni arrived happy and ready to start her new life.