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After 12 years of operation and more than 13,000 homeless animals rescued, Homeward Trails is finally opening its very own cageless adoption center. Since its inception in 2002, HT has operated almost solely as a foster-based program. In recent years, we have been lucky enough to be housed and partnered with a local doggy daycare which allowed us space to cagelessly board up to 15 dogs while we worked to secure foster and/or adoptive homes for them. This helped us increase the number of dogs we rescued by dozens annually.

In September 2013, an opportunity to lease a nearby facility which had previously operated as a commercial doggy daycare and boarding facility came our way. We immediately pursued it and found it to be the perfect next step for our organization.  HT has always been open to the possibility of securing its own facility but the cost of purchasing an appropriate facility was prohibitive.

This new facility, located at 11116 Fairfax Station Road, Fairfax Station, VA includes a daycare building and a residential building for our on-site manager. It will offer HT the opportunity to quadruple the number of dogs we rescue and provide them with a clean, positive, safe, cageless temporary home that will also offer a significant amount of fenced outdoor space (something we have never had before). The facility will also provide additional space for pregnant and nursing dogs, thus allowing us to save many more puppies.

HTAR Adoption Center

Nearby woods will offer our dogs the opportunity for leisurely walks with our dedicated volunteers where they can stretch their legs and take in the fresh air – something many have not had in their lifetime!

The facility will be overseen by a full-time on-site manager and support staff. Once fully operational, we will explore hosting regular adoption hours to the public, thus allowing us to adopt out more dogs in a shorter period of time.

We are planning to begin housing our dogs here starting November 1, 2013! We are offering many exciting sponsorship and naming opportunities for animal lovers who wish to help us make this exciting dream come true. Your support will help pay for renovations, new fencing, appliances and more! Additionally, we will need many volunteers to help us move, paint, build and improve before opening.

We can’t wait to start this next chapter of Homeward Trails and look forward to having you involved! Please contact if you can donate and/or volunteer in any capacity. And we’ll look forward to seeing you at our grand  opening in 2014!

Thanks to our amazing supporters we raised more than $11,000 in Razoo’s Giving Tuesday fundraising challenge.  We finished in the top 10 for both fundraisers and non-profit organizations.  This is a fantastic accomplishment for our small organization in a national competition.  We will also receive $3,000 in additonal prize money for those top 10 finishes.  Thank you all so much for donating, sharing and asking others to do the same.  What a great way to wrap up a wonderful year for Homeward Trails!

The Caps Canine Calendar is now on sale!  Click here to order yours today.

HT gives a huge thanks to our Washington Capitals hockey team. On Tuesday, October 15th 10 of our lucky rescued dogs spent the afternoon with the players in a photo shoot for their 2014 Canine Calendar which will benefit HT.

“This is an amazing opportunity for HT to raise much needed funds and awareness for our homeless dogs, especially since the shoot took place only one day after we announced the opening of our new adoption center,” says Sue Bell, Executive Director and Founder of Homeward Trails.



Click here for a sneak preview.

Click here for to see the report on ABC7!

And click here to see the video from

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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