HT Celebrates 8 Years & 7,000 Animals!

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!

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