Sponsor These Special Needs Animals

The animals featured here are some of the hundreds who have treatable but costly illnesses and injuries that Homeward Trails rescues every year. We have limited resources and must make life and death decisions weekly. Too often, these animals are left behind in shelters simply due to cost. We need extra help to take in animals whose care will cost more and for animals who may be with us longer as they recover.

Your sponsorship of an animal will save a life in real time. Every donation helps save a life.

Please, consider a tax-deductible donation today to help these animals. They deserve a 2nd chance at life. And together, we can give them that.


Judy is a sweet, buy shy little girl. She was surrendered to the shelter by her owners, who told staff she was about one year old. The shelter took her in, and she made her way to Homeward Trails. After spending some time with her, it’s clear her owners weren’t entirely honest with us. Judy is more like seven years old, and it’s clear she has never been to a vet in her life.

Judy is scared, and still adjusting to life at Homeward Trails. She’s so sweet, but we think she must be in so much pain. After a quick evaluation, we know that Judy is suffering from stomatitis! An incredibly painful condition, stomatitis occurs when the immune system overreacts to the buildup of plaque and bacteria. In other words, her gums are attacking her teeth, which are covered in plaque from years without any dental care or treatment.

Now, the only hope for Judy is a full dental extraction. We have to remove what is triggering her body’s painful reaction. We have to remove her teeth, and provide some much-needed relief.

We can’t be sure how long she’s had to suffer with this terrible pain. But we know she’ll never have to suffer again–not as long as we have something to say about it!



Drew is 2 months old–just a baby! He’s sweet and gentle and full of life. But things took a scary turn on Saturday when, out of nowhere, he started experiencing seizures!

We rushed Drew to his vet. The team worked quickly, and managed to get him stabilized. After some time recovering in the hospital, Drew is now home with his foster. He seems to be okay for now, but he’s not out of the woods. We’re still waiting on the test results to understand what caused his seizures, and what we need to do to ensure they never happen again.

We won’t know what next steps to take until those results come back. For now, we have a bill to pay–and a puppy to give some extra love to.



Snickerdoodle wants to be a good girl. She is sweet and loving. She has excellent manners, and will even ring the bell when she needs to go outside–or use a puppy pad if needed. There’s just one problem–she needs to pee 27 times a DAY! And no, we’re not exaggerating.

Poor Snickerdoodle can’t seem to hold her pee. For whatever reason, she needs to go out every 45 minutes to avoid accidents in the house. At first, we suspected a UTI. But after several trips to the vet–after several urine tests and ultrasounds, and any other test that promised answers–we’ve come up empty. We still aren’t sure what’s going on, but know something isn’t right.

The best chance we have of helping her will be an exploratory bladder surgery. It is possible she has something known as a “saggy bladder” which can be tacked up, and should help resolve some issues. But we won’t know until we try.

This surgery is Snickerdoodle’s best chance for answers, for recovery, and for a happy forever home! She’ll need to get her bathroom issues under control before she can find the exact right home.



Nola has been living a hard life. This poor girl came to Homeward Trails underweight and blind in one eye, with a mammary tumor, heartworms, and kennel cough–and very, VERY pregnant! Indeed, she gave birth before we could even set her up with her fosters–giving birth in the Adoption Center parking lot instead.

In spite of it all, Nola is the SWEETEST girl around! She’s an amazing and attentive momma. Her puppies have all been healthy, despite contracting their momma’s kennel cough in the first few days of life. However, while regularly nursing her pups, Nola still contracted mastitis.

Nola has been on antibiotics and her tumor and mastitis have been drained regularly. But it isn’t enough. Her immune system is shot, and she needs surgery. We need to remove the remaining infection, and biopsy the tumor to see if it has spread to other parts of her body.

Nola is so grateful for this chance at life. Her foster says that Nola constantly seeks comfort from her and her family, and will follow everyone around with the biggest smile on her face. She has affectionately been deemed their little “hippo” for the way she waddles happily around their home with their dogs. She knows first hand how hard life can be, and hasn’t taken a single moment in our care for granted.

Nola is going to make someone so happy some day! She’s been through so very much, and has earned this chance at a better life! We owe it to her to give her all we have.



UPDATE 6.7.2021–Marvin made it to Homeward Trails! He’s out of the shelter, and settling into a big kennel all his own. He doesn’t have to fight for food, and has a bed and blanket to all to himself. But he needs more. In addition to vetting and transportation costs, we desperately need to get this pup a dental!

He’s likely never been to the vet, let alone had access to routine dental care. His teeth are hurting, badly! Who knows what scraps and debris Marvin may have chewed on to survive. Now that he’s safe, we need to make sure his teeth and gums are healthy, too!

Marvin has those adorable Beagle eyes. They are so kind and so sweet, it is hard to believe that anyone could put Marvin through what he has survived. Poor Marvin was rescued from a hoarding case where over 100 dogs were taken from a neglectful hunter’s home. Every day he hoped he would be fed, and maybe someone would kindly pet him or show him attention. But unfortunately that was often just a dream as Marvin would have to share resources with the other dogs on the property. That often meant missing meals or getting into arguments with other dogs. Marvin likely was never allowed to lay on a comfortable bed or be protected from the outside elements.

Luckily, the dogs were rescued from the home. However, this now means the rural VA shelter they were sent to is completely overrun with dogs. They have every kennel and run full, and have unfortunately had to start keeping many in crates. It isn’t fair that poor Marvin had to live his life in a hoarder’s home, but he has so much to look forward to now that Homeward Trails has brought him to the rescue. He no longer has to fight for a kibble of food or wish to have a sweet human care for him. Marvin’s biggest challenge now is to get desperately needed vet care, something he has likely never had before.

Please donate to Marvin’s rescue today. He is so close to closing the last chapter of his life and starting a new one.



UPDATE 6.7.2021–We’re delighted to share that Bosco does not have a corneal ulcer. Rather, after a thorough exam with the vet, he was diagnosed with dry eyes! With the help of some of eye drops, he should be feeling much better.

What we don’t know is whether this condition is temporary, or chronic. Will it clear up, or will he need to be on medication for the rest of his life?

To know more, Bosco will need a follow up appointment and another tear test.

Bosco is usually an energetic pup. He bouncy and wiggly, and always ready to play! But something has been slowing him down lately. Bosco has been pawing and favoring his eye, clearly in pain. We suspect he may have a corneal ulcer, or abrasion on his cornea, that is slowing him down and keeping him from living his best life.

Corneal ulcers are most commonly caused by trauma–perhaps he was playing too rough with other dogs, or running through some thick brush on a hike through the woods. However it may have happened, we need to get it checked out quickly!

Depending on their depth and severity, corneal ulcers can be a serious issue. Bosco will need an eye stain–a relatively simple test which can help the vet see any abrasions on the cornea more clearly. Only then will we know enough to move forward with a treatment plan.



UPDATE 6.7.2021–Blue is recovering! He is feeling much better, but will need to go back to the vet for re-checks later this week. Hopefully, all tests will indicate that he has in fact cleared his pneumonia and is on the mend for good.

Blue was shaking. He was coughing and struggling to catch his breath. Something was seriously wrong, and there wasn’t a moment to lose!

We rushed Blue to the vet. He was hospitalized for pneumonia. Gratefully, after a few days of intensive treatment, Blue was released to continue his recovery back at the Adoption Center. He is getting stronger day by day, but will need to take it easy for a while. In two weeks, he will need to go back to his vet for a re-check to be sure the pneumonia has cleared his system. That means more x-rays and more bloodwork.

Without prompt intervention, pneumonia can easily turn deadly. We shudder to think what may have happened if we had waited any longer to seek help. The hospitalization and treatment he received saved Blue’s life! We are glad to see him on the mend, but now need to figure out how to pay the bill.



UPDATE 6.7.2021–Goal increased! We’ve raised Howie’s goal to cover the costs of an abdominal ultrasound. He will also need monthly bloodwork to keep an eye on his albumin levels, and he’s been put on a prescription food plan to ensure he stays as healthy as possible.

Howie has a VERY severe case Heartworm Disease. We don’t usually see dogs in his condition, but poor Howie has been living with heartworms for so long. All this time, they have been left unchecked and untreated, multiplying and growing inside his heart. Now that we’re here to provide treatment, his vet didn’t feel comfortable prescribing the normal medications. The heartworms are so extensive, that Howie’s only hope is to see a cardiologist and have an echocardiogram done. Only then can we see just how badly the heart is affected, and what can be done to save it.

Howie’s eyes are so sad. We aren’t sure all that he’s been through, but we can imagine his life hasn’t been easy. Maybe he was a hunting dog, discarded as soon as he no longer seemed “useful.” Maybe he was an outdoor dog, living life on a chain through heat and snow. Whatever his past, we can be sure it didn’t include access to veterinary care or the preventative medications that could have saved him so much pain.

Specialists are always expensive, but we think Howie deserves this chance. He’s made it this far–we have to do everything we can to give him the life he’s always deserved.



UPDATE 5.31.2021–We are thrilled to announce that Latte made it to Homeward Trails! She is still settling in, be we are all so happy to know she is in safe hands.

While she has already arrived, we still have to cover her vetting and transportation costs. On top of the trip from Puerto Rico, Latte has tested positive for Heartworm Disease. Worms are growing inside her heart, and will continue to multiply until there is no more room–until Latte’s heart and lungs begin to fail her. Until there is nothing left for her to give.

This terrible condition is preventable, but it’s no surprise that Latte never had access to the medications that could have saved her. Now that she finally has her chance a real happy ending–a home and a family to love her for all her days–we have to give her every opportunity. Heartworm Disease can be treated, but it is pricey. We need your help.

Sweet Latte has had a really tough life. This loving 1.5 year old girl lived on a property in Puerto Rico where the owner had neglected to spay and neuter the various dogs that they own. Because of their refusal to prevent pregnancies by fixing the dogs, several litters are born every year on the property. Latte herself has recently raise 7 healthy puppies in Puerto Rico. As luck would have it, all 7 of her puppies have come to Homeward Trails already and have been adopted! However, Latte has been left behind. The PR rescue team has worked hard to remove Latte from the unfit home, as well as many of the remaining dogs so they no longer have to live their life roaming the property and breeding unnecessarily. Latte is thrilled she no longer has to live outside in those conditions, but her troubles are far from over. In addition to the obstacle of getting to the DC area to find a loving home, Latte has tested positive for heartworms. Every day her body fights hard to overcome the disease, but without life saving treatment, her days could be numbered. Latte loves playing, loves people and loves other dog. She is such a catch for a lucky family, but without donations to get her a flight to Homeward Trails as well as sponsorship to treat her deadly heartworms, Latte’s happiness may fade away. Please don’t let this happy girl down. Donate to her big rescue and treatment today!



Valentino has been in such pain for so long, we wonder if he can even remember what it’s like to be a care free pup. He hasn’t been able run or play. His knees are so bad, he can hardly straighten his legs, making the simple act of walking a painful challenge.

You may remember Valentino. He came to us in April in rough shape. After several trips to the vet, we learned that Valentino suffers from severe arthritis and hip dysplasia. And he’s only 4 years old!

His arthritis stems from an old ACL injury which went untreated, and therefore never healed properly. We started Valentino on joint supplements and other pain management, hoping it might take the edge off. Unfortunately, his pain has persisted.

Valentino met with an orthopedic surgeon, who determined he will need BOTH knees operated on. In dogs, the procedure is called TPLO–but is analogous to the ACL surgery performed for humans. This is the only option for poor Valentino–the only hope he has of reducing the excruciating pain and suffering he endures each day.

Valentino needs this surgery, and he needs it soon. But with an expense like that, as much as we want to, we cannot say yes until his fundraising goal has been met. But each day brings renewed pain, as he waits for us to find the funds he needs.

We know it is a big ask, but Valentino is a young pup with a whole life ahead of him! And he deserve to live that life free from the pain and trauma of his past. He deserves all the love and support we can share with him to ensure he has a healthy, happy future in front of him.