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It is an important and exciting time for us at Homeward Trails and our Puerto Rico-based GuaniCARES program. On Wednesday, September 11, 2019 HT officially signed a contract with the Guanica Mayor’s office to take over operations for animal control. This is a truly amazing opportunity that we hope will give more dogs in Guanica life-saving outcomes. This has been several years in the making.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
There are hundreds (likely thousands) of dogs and puppies living in the streets, the forests, on the beaches of Guanica. We see them every day as we drive through the area. We see puppies, ranging from newborns to older. We see friendly dogs. We see feral dogs. We see dogs cared for by the community and dogs that are horribly neglected. We see gravely injured dogs and dead dogs in the streets. It is a very, very, very difficult environment for dogs here.

To date, when the community was faced with “nuisance” dogs they called the Mayor’s office and “dog catchers” from a nearby jurisdiction would come to to town and round them up to be taken to a shelter and killed. With few resources, these catchers were most likely rounding up the friendliest and easiest dogs to catch. And these dogs stood no chance at life.

For four years now we have been working in Guanica. Since 2017 we have taken 633 dogs and puppies from Puerto Rico and brought them to the US for adoption. We have also provided Trap/Neuter/Return services for almost 500 cats. And we have provided more than $15,000 in supplies including food, traps and other animal supplies, thanks to our amazing donors.

We currently have one full-time staff person. So our accomplishments to date have been remarkable on the little resources we have.

We know that rescue is not a long-term solution to the dire situation of homeless animals anywhere. Especially here. We must have government involvement and support. We must have community involvement and support. And we must have the support of our loyal followers and donors.

Puerto Rico faces tremendous challenges and while there are so many people here who care about animals they simply do not have the information and resources to help. We want to change that.

https://www.mightycause.com/story/Guanicareslaunchofficial

With this contract we hope to achieve three major things:

1. To provide more dogs in the community with life-saving outcomes. This will mean adoption in the US or TrapNeuterReturn (TNR) to the community. Our TNR efforts will stop the reproduction of puppies, minimize aggressive behaviors of dogs towards other dogs and people, aim to eliminate the poisoning of dogs as a means to control the population and allow the dogs to live in the community safely and under the watch of community care givers. TNR will be used when the dogs are not deemed potential candidates for adoption due to a lack of socialization

2. To engage community members to join our efforts by helping us to identify priority dogs, fostering puppies, sharing our efforts to stop poisoning and other harmful methods currently used and recruiting and training volunteers to assist with TNR. We have our first community meeting this Sunday.

3. To hire individuals from the emergency response division and the police department, many of whom have had their hours cut by 50% due to budgetary issues, to work as GuaniCARES Animal Resource Officers (AROs). These people will be trained to go into the field to trap animals, respond to community calls and further our outreach and education efforts.

We are already overwhelmed but energized by the opportunities this partnership will bring to save more lives and make what is a huge community problem a community collaboration for life saving.

In the 3 days we have been here this week we have trapped 8 puppies living in the woods, taken in 4 dogs abandoned in Guanica recently and neutered 3 additional community dogs. In addition to caring for the dogs in our care, which takes an average of 4 hours daily.

This new partnership will have its challenges for many reasons. But we will endure for the animals and remain positive and committed. And we will share each step with you in hopes you will be a part of it. We would not be where we are today without your support.

The contract comes with a $2,300 annual payment. Yes, you read that correctly. $2,300. So we cannot be successful without our donors.

Our goal for Year One is to raise $20,000 for the following:

Hiring of two part-time AROs asap. $10,000
Secure additional large traps and trapping supplies $5,000
Print materials for community distribution $750
Training for youth outreach interns $500
Vetting costs for TNR dogs $3,750

We hope you will consider supporting this worthwhile project and helping GuaniCARES become a MODEL PROJECT for other areas. Long-term solutions are our goal.

Please stay tuned for photos and updates of our activities in live time this week as we are out in the field.

We recognize the TREMENDOUS support and partnership of the following people who have gotten us here today and will play integral roles as we move forward.

Clínica Veterinaria, La Suiza who vets our animals, boards them while

they recover and has provided countless hours of veterinary support and guidance for our efforts. Without them we would have no program here.

Ricardo Guzmán our San Juan-based attorney and CPA who meticulously guided us through the very detailed 24 documents and filings with 7 departments that were required in order to sign the contract. And for his tremendous help writing and negotiating this contract.

Lynn Descoteau who started our involvement here in Guanica by reaching out to ask for help for the dogs she saw everyday during her 10 years on he island. He care and concern and efforts are what brought us here.

Animal Welfare Institute who so generously donated our transport van. Without it, none of our transport to/from the vet and to/from San Juan airport would be possible.

Barks of Hope and Leo the BOH Director here in PR who we are lucky to partner with and have her amazing support. Collaboration truly does save more lives.

Doris Draeger and Bonita Stoudt who continue to help us engage community members and support our efforts every day.

And so many more people who we know only by phone. And to all of our donors, fosters and adopters. These animals would not have a chance without you.

Get started here: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Guanicareslaunchofficial

Time to clean out the attic and sort through your closets, we need your donations for the the Homeward Trails booth at the Lyon Park Community Yard Sale on Saturday, October 12 from 8 am to 1 PM!

Don’t miss this opportunity to turn your unwanted items into much needed funds for the animals of Homeward Trails.  Last year the sale raised over $1,200 to help our animals!  The sale will take place on at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N. Fillmore St., Arlington, VA).

It is very much recommended that if you can bring your sale items directly to the Homeward Trails tables on the morning of the sale that you do so.  If you can’t do that, we will begin accepting donations at the Homeward Trails Adoption Center from October 5-11.  We can use clothes, shoes, household items, small appliances, dishes, kitchenware, collectibles, children’s clothes, toys, games, small furniture, rugs, towels, tableware, holiday decorations… you-name-it, we will take it!

In addition, we will need volunteers to help unload and set up (6:30 am – 8 am), help sell items (8 am – 1 pm), and help pack up what is left after the sale (1 pm – 2:30 pm).  Many shoppers come very early so we can use lots of help in those first few hours!!  If you can help anytime from 6:30 AM – 2:30 PM, please let us know when you can be there!  We will also need a few volunteers the week prior to the event to help organize the donations dropped at the Adoption Center and load the transport van.

Sign up here to volunteer https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f084ea8ae2da5f49-lyon2

Please contact Rebecca at rebeccag@homewardtrails.org with any questions.

Announcing our fun new fall event – Chili Bingo! Based on our ever popular sell-out Spaghetti Bingo event, Chili Bingo will feature a similarly entertaining evening with a new spin!

Get your tickets today and join us for a family friendly night of fun at our Chili Bingo fundraiser! Ticket prices include all you can eat chili and all the fixins’, soft drinks, desserts and 6 bingo cards. Additional bingo cards, raffle tickets, and beer and wine will be available for purchase and there will be many great items on the silent auction. We do expect Chili Bingo will sell out so get your tickets today before it’s too late!

Chili Bingo

Saturday, October 5

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Lyon Park Community Center

414 N. Fillmore St.

Arlington, VA

 

Thank you to our Chili Bingo sponsors!

Selma Barroso

Dean and Shauna Kattler

Chili Bingo 2019 on October 5th










Announcing our fun new fall event – Chili Bingo! Based on our ever popular sell-out Spaghetti Bingo event, Chili Bingo will feature a similarly entertaining evening with a new spin!

Get your tickets today and join us for a family friendly night of fun at our Chili Bingo fundraiser! Ticket prices include all you can eat chili and all the fixins', soft drinks, desserts and 6 bingo cards. Additional bingo cards, raffle tickets, and beer and wine will be available for purchase and there will be many great items on the silent auction. We do expect Chili Bingo will sell out so get your tickets today before it’s too late!

Chili Bingo

Saturday, October 5

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Lyon Park Community Center

414 N. Fillmore St.

Arlington, VA

Your Registration Info

Event Fee


$30.00



$20.00


Children under 10



$3.00


6 additional cards



$2.00



$5.00

Can’t Attend But Want to Help? Support Spaghetti Bingo with a Donation!


Total Fee(s)

Credit Card


*


*


*
 


Billing Name and Address

*


*


*


*


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In May, HT took its first group trip to Guanica, Puerto Rico where we have been operating since 2015. Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of support on World Spay Day with over $7,000 raised, we ventured to Guanica with staff and volunteers to provide Trap Neuter Release (TNR) to 100 cats. It was an intense week with long days and busy nights, but in such a short amount of time we were able to save SO many lives!
This trip was the official launch of our GuaniCARES program – (Guanica CompanionAnimalRescueEducationSterilization)! It was a week of 17 hour days but we left having achieved even more than we set out to thanks to our dedicated volunteers, staff, veterinarians and you! 
Our goal for the week was to TNR 100 cats. Months in advance we set up plans with three local veterinary clinics, our GuaniCARES staff and our wonderful on-the-ground cat lovers, Eliana and Tonito. You might remember our story about Eliana and Tonito from our earlier visit this year. They are an elderly couple who feed and care for more than 100 community cats every evening, spending their retirement money every month on the cats. Their dedication is endless and it was amazing to work side by side with them each evening to fan out in their neighborhood and watch the kitties come running as they arrived in their broken van to feed. We would quickly set our traps and sit back, allowing the kitties to explore and investigate what was going on. Eliana was crucial in our efforts, helping to identify kitties that we trapped who were nursing and thus, needed to be released and trapped at later dates. 
Our days started at 5 am with volunteers headed out to set traps for kitties that feed in the morning to supplement those we trapped the evening before. We then would go in all directions, taking them to the vet and then arriving back late each morning to prepare for that night’s trapping and to head into the field to care for the homeless dogs and puppies we would find.
We ventured into fields where we treated and fed dogs with mange. We visited homes of locals who had asked us for food or supplies. We handed out our GuaniCARES dog collars that we brought along to encourage community members to put them on their dogs to identify them as “owned”. We visited our vets to drop off and pick up not only the cats we brought them but injured and sick animals we found each day needing immediate assistance.
We ended up keeping a group of 6 kittens and one friendly mom who had no care takers. One of the kittens had been hit by a car and had a broken leg – a common peril of being a street animal in Puerto Rico. These adorable kitties will arrive in the DC area soon for adoption!
Our days would normally end around 11 pm with us all dirty, exhausted but invigorated by the progress we made each day. And then we would rise again to do the same the next day!
Support our rescue efforts in Puerto Rico
Donate Money
Donate Supplies

Barley Mac is teaming up with Homeward Trails, a local non​-profit, no-kill rescue center for cats and dogs. Please join us Sunday, July 15th from 4-7pm for specialty cocktails and treats! Adoptable dogs on site! Monetary and/or supply donations for Homeward Trails preferred. We’ll see ya there!

See the wishlist below for appropriate items:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3HIEQLQC63BK5

JOIN US

As you have all seen and generously supported, HT has been working hard to assist the dogs of Puerto Rico by covering medical care for them as well as transport off the island to adoptive homes here for over three years. This has been a rewarding experience as we have taken more than 290 dogs over this time, We have participated in both small and larger transports. Each fuzzy face that has arrived represents an amazing story of survival.

Most of our partnering has been with the The Guanica Animal Rescue Project (GARP), an amazing group that was founded by Lynn Descoteau who moved to Puerto Rico from the US and was quickly overwhelmed by the number of animals needing help. She had to do something and contacted HT more than 3 years ago to partner. Her efforts have been instrumental in saving the lives of so many animals. She is a hero on the ground!

However, as we all know, transferring animals is only a small part of the solution to a much larger problem. Transporting off the island alone will never solve the growing problem. While we continue to bring dogs to the US, the population of homeless dogs is growing, made worse by so many pet owners abandoning the island after Hurricane Maria and leaving their pets behind. And thus, we have decided that the time to further invest in this area and these animals has come.

Starting on April 1st, Homeward Trails will be opening a branch in Guanica, Puerto Rico, the community in which we have been working for the last three years. What will this mean?

We will continue with working the GARP founder under the umbrella now of HT. We will also be working in partnership with with several veterinarians in the area including our long-time partner, LaSuissa Vet Cinic. We are also very excited to have the support of the Guanica Mayor, who has officially invited Homeward Trails to Guanica to partner with his office and our vet partners to provide TNR (trap, neuter, return) programs for cats, ongoing transport for adoptable dogs, low-cost vaccines and spay/neuter for owned animals and community outreach programs about humane care of animals.

We will have a full-time staff person on the ground in Guanica overseeing the animals we rescue and preparing them for shipment here. We will be increasing the number of transports we do in order to continue moving dogs off the island. We are SO grateful to the Animal Welfare Institute who has donated funding to purchase a transport van which will make larger transports possible!

We will be implementing a targeted TNR program for cats. No one is talking about the cats and it’s heartbreaking to see all the homeless kitties who continue to multiply. We are thrilled to announce that we have received a donation of 20 traps which will be used to trap cats for TNR and dogs who are n need of prompt medical treatment.

We will be working in conjunction with our partners to host community events where we will offer low-cost vaccines, education on TNR and humane animal care, and volunteer recruitment! We will be providing community outreach to residents including information on vaccines, spay/neuter, humane care of community animals and ways to get involved and assist our efforts.

We also hope to begin offering hands-on volunteer opportunities for HT volunteers to travel to Puerto Rico to participate in these activities! There is SO much work to be done and we can’t do it without you.

So much to do and we are SO excited to get started on this next phase. We are kicking off this program with a two-day fundraising event on February 26th and on 27th to celebrate WORLD SPAY DAY! For every $50 donated a cat will be spayed/neutered. Please consider a donation of any size to help us save kitties.

***We will post an announcement with the link to donate on Feb. 25th. Every dollar will make a difference and save lives.

Join us on this new and exciting mission to alleviate suffering and bring long-term solutions to the animals of Puerto Rico who desperately need us. LET’S DO THIS HOMEWARD TRAILS!!

 

 

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