News & Announcements

fireLast night, a devastating fire hit Ritchie County Animal Shelter in West Virginia, one of the shelters Homeward Trails works regularly with. The building that housed cats, puppies and kittens burned entirely, killing more than 50 cats and kittens, several puppies, at least one mother dog and a few small dogs. The shelter also lost all of its supplies.  They now have no food or medication for the animals who did survive. The shelter staff is devastated, as are we at HT. Please help if you can!

The most immediate need now is to replace the destroyed food, vaccines and cleaning supplies. You can donate money by going to and clicking the donate button about 2/3 of the way down the page.

Homeward Trails will be driving donations to the shelter on the morning of this Friday, January 15th as well as in the following weeks, so direct donations of dog food and crates can be dropped off at Dog Paws and Cat Claws University in Arlington. Space is the van is limited so if you can make a financial donation, please do so.

As the staff focuses on the clean up effort, any cats or kittens, puppies or small dogs that come into the shelter will have nowhere to go. And thus, they will be turning to HT for help in getting the animals to safety. As we assess our situation at HT, we may be coming to you soon to ask for emergency foster support.

Please donate through Paypal if you can! And please let us know if you would like to foster a dog that is still at the shelter. The dogs at this shelter survived because they are kept in outdoor pens – so they are cold, but alive. And boy, we would love to get them out during this very difficult time so that the staff can focus on regrouping.


Smiles and Amie are STARS! Visit to learn more about this adorable duo….our animals are FAMOUS!!!!



starYes, it’s true. Your pet can be a STAR and you can help hundreds of homeless animals at once!

All you need to do is enter your HT adopted pets in the BISSELL Most Valuable Pet (MVP) Contest at Our friends at BISSELL are accepting pet photos from the public through March 25, 2010.

Keep reading for exciting details…..

Homeward Trails could receive a $10,000 donation from BISSELL Homecare Inc.

All you need to do is enter your HT adopted pets in the BISSELL Most Valuable Pet (MVP) Contest at Our friends at BISSELL are accepting pet photos from the public through March 25, 2010.

In addition to having your pet featured on BISSELL pet product packaging, the lucky winning pet parents will receive a $500 shopping spree AND a $10,000 donation to the pet cause of their choice. Imagine seeing your pet as a star AND helping the homeless animals of HT!!!

Four runners up will also be featured on BISSELL packaging and have donations of $5,000 or $1,000 made to their favorite pet cause. Help HT be that favorite pet cause!

Submit a photo of your most valuable pet at and then encourage everyone you know to vote for you. Not only can your pet be named MVP, you could be responsible for helping many more pets like him by selecting HT as your favorite pet cause. Winners will also receive a BISSELL pet-cleaning product. Whoo hoo


medicalHT helps dozens and dozens of animals annually who need serious medical care.  Learn how you can donate to the HT medical fund to help animals with special needs!

You can now donate to a fund in HT that is specifically designed to help animals that have injuries or illnesses that require beyond-routine medical care.  Broken limbs, heartworm, parvo, FIV/FelV, other diseases, etc. These are ailments that so many animals in shelters suffer from and often cause them to be the first to be euthanized.

While almost all illnesses HT sees are treatable, it can cost thousands of dollars to make that happen. Chester, pictured here, came to us with a broken jaw, a broken leg, buckshot in his side and a mouth full of broken teeth. He has required many vet visits, fluids, meds and will require a long-term foster as he slowly heals. Surgeries for broken limbs, etc often cost over $2,000!

You can now make a donation to the HT Medical Fund to be used to help these special needs animals.

To donate to the fund online, click the button below to donate through Paypal.

To donate to the fund by check, simply write a check to “Homeward Trails Animal Rescue” and write “Medical Fund” in the memo/notes section. Send it to:

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue
PO Box 100968
Arlington, VA 22210

Our goal is to have a minimum of $10,000 in this fund at all times so that we never have to turn away a sick or injured animal.

Able to make a gift of $10,000? HT is offering the opportunity to have the HT Medical Fund named after YOU – our $10,000 donor. Please consider this today. We would like to give this very special fund a name – after a very special animal lover!


lucy1Homeward Trails turns 8!  Meet Lucy, the first HT dog ever adopted! Read on to learn more about our humble beginnings, how HT grew to a vibrant organization that touches the lives of thousands of people and animals!  It was a cold day in December 2001 when founder Sue Bell happened across the Fayette County,WV animal shelter……

Driving by, while she vacationed in WV over the New Year holiday, she saw many dogs tied up outside in the cold and had to stop and drop off some treats and inquire about the situation.

She learned many terrible things. The shelter had been hit by a flash flood that summer where 50 animals had died by drowning when the staff was unable to reach the shelter to free them from their cages. Now operating out of an old trailer that was previously used for white water rafting, the shelter was euthanizing almost 99% of the animals that came in. They had almost no space, very few adopters and many, many animals of all ages being brought in daily.

Bell was distraught as she looked around at the dismal situation, seeing so many sweet faces and knowing their fates.  She left that day very sad. And not knowing that this one trip would quickly change her life.

lucy2On January 1, 2002, Bell, her husband and several friends stopped back in to the shelter to say good bye and left with three dogs and a cat. Not knowing what the heck they were doing (as Bell and her husband already had two rescued dogs back home), they simply jumped in the deep end and figured something would work out for these poor pooches.

The first HT cat, CATFISH, found a lovely home in Indiana with the father of one of Bell’s friends.  The three dogs camped out at Bell’s house for a week while she worked her e-mail network searching high and low for homes, taking a few days off of work to care for the dogs, get them vaccinated and acclimate them.

LUCY was the first dog adopted. She found a great home in Alexandria with a fellow book club member of Bell’s. Shortly after, BROWN DOG (now HARVEY) was adopted to a friend of a friend in DC where he quickly took to inside living and summer boating trips.  BLACK DOG (now MIKEY) went to a Hill colleague of Bell’s husband who fought allergies to keep Mikey in her family. Ironically, Mikey’s adopter would later marry a “Mike”, thus making it two Mikey’s in the family!

Now, 8 years later and more than 7,000 animals rescued, HT is one of the largest, most successful animal rescue organizations in Northern Virginia. Boasting more than 500 volunteers, Homeward Trails continues to work with Fayette County in addition to 12 other rural shelters throughout VA, WV and as far as NC and GA!

Celebrate our 8 years of saving lives! Adopt, foster or donate today to keep our amazing work going!


snowWe are grateful to our adopters and fosters for giving so many rescued HT dogs a warm home. So many came to us from out in the cold and now they have the opportunity to enjoy the snow…and then come home to warm beds.

Happy Holidays! WOOF

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