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Today Luke Skywalker [formerly Barrett] celebrates his first adoption anniversary! He came to us a skinny, timid young dog with no training and diagnosed with worms and heartworm. A year later, Luke is confident, playful and extremely intelligent–he loves dogs, cats, children and adults–in short, his great big heart has love for all. He is the most beloved dog in our entire apartment complex, and even inspired a Christmas drive for donations for Homeward Trails this past winter. We are incredibly proud dog parents, and love the way people respond to him.


A special shout out to Robin who helped Luke find his way home, and to everyone at Homeward Trails, thank you for all your support that you provided from his rescue to his treatment, and for all the wonderful work you do to save lives. Here’s a collage of Luke’s photos–on the first day we met him, his first day in his furever home, and what he looks today.

– Tazreena and Anders


Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade members of the after-school DC SCORES team at Bancroft Elementary School hosted a one-miler race fundraiser to help save the homeless animals of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue and raised $1,286.50!  Homeward Trails is proud to thank the DS SCORES team for all of their hard work and dedication!

DC SCORES team members at Bancroft Elementary School hosted HT rep Leslie Shedd on April 29th in order to learn more about the plight of homeless animals and ways to help.

DC SCORES team members at Bancroft Elementary School hosted HT rep Leslie Shedd on April 29th in order to learn more about the plight of homeless animals and ways to help.


The students chose to help homeless animals and invited an HT representative, Leslie Shedd, to meet with them and tell them more about why the animals need our help and what we can do. Among other things, the students learned “We can help by raising money or get donations, talk to your friends and family about the importance or spaying or neutering so they can’t have babies so that less animals are put to sleep every six seconds, talk to your friends and family about taking their dogs to the vets to get check ups… etc.”

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In December 2007 one of our tenants moved out and left Barney, a boxer mastiff mix, tied up outside in the cold with no food and water so we took him home with us. We advertised everywhere we could to find someone to adopt him, but he was so hyperactive that no one wanted him. Our older two dogs would not play with him and Barney had lots of behavioral problems. After seeing how well-behaved he was when he had someone to play with at the dog park, we decided that adopting a 4th dog was our solution. In December 2008, we contacted Homeward Trails after picking out a black and tan coonhound puppy on We didn’t know at the time that Badger was in a high-kill shelter in West Virginia with her sister Hayley.

Badger & Barney 2We volunteered to foster both pups so that HT could pull them out of the shelter. A few weeks later a nice family put in an application to adopt Hayley (you can check out Hayley’s happy tale too) and we formally adopted Badger.

Badger and Barney bonded instantly even before Hayley was adopted. They are always together. Badger’s energy and playfulness was such a great match for Barney that his behavioral problems soon dissappeared. He has finally stopped pestering his older two sisters and focuses his time wrestling and tumbling with Badger. They spend hours playing tug, chasing a tennis ball, and exploring the yard together. Their constant antics provide us hours of entertainment. Barney showed his new little sister how to behave on a leash and at the dog park, and shares his favorite sleeping sofa with her.

We’re so greatful to Homeward Trails for bring Badger into our lives. Badger has brought joy, laughter, and lots of love to our family. She was perfect puppy for us and we are so happy that we were able to rescue two deserving dogs from the shelter.

-Tami, College Park, MD


haileyWe had a wonderful chocolate lab, Casey.  Sadly, she passed away, and we were all upset about it.  A few months went by, and we were throwing around the idea of getting a new dog, but no one wanted to “replace her“.  One day in March 2009 my dad was at Starbucks, and he saw that there was an adoption event at Bark.  He went, just to see the dogs, and Hayley caught his eye.  We requested to adopt her.  Luckily, we were chosen to be the family to adopt her.  She is so happy here!  She loves to go on walks, play, go to the dog park, etc. Hayley is such a wonderful addition to our family, and we just love her so much!!! Thanks!

-Danielle and Family, Olney, Maryland


As soon as we bought our house we started looking for a four-legged friend. I found Sampson (formerly Cotton) on Petfinder and instantly was interested. He was handsome, active and loving. At our first meet and greet Sampson was aloof because he was completely loyal to his foster family. In spite of this, we adopted him and he has become my shadow! Sam follows me everywhere and is always at my side.



A few months later we decided to start looking again for a friend for Sam. Ryder (formerly Sarge) was at a high-kill shelter in West Virginia and we decided to foster. Fostering immediately turned into ownership because we fell in love! Scrawny and skinny with matted fur, Ryder wasn’t exactly a sight for sore eyes but now he is healthy and very happy and boy, can he run! He is a beautiful dog and the most loving.



The two boys have become fast brothers and friends and our household is definitely complete…although I always joke with Seth about adding to our “Aussie” pack! 🙂

P.S. Just wanted to add how grateful we are to the volunteers who initially took Ryder in while we were dealing with a major flooding disaster at our home!

-Jennifer (and Seth), Washington, DC


Our Daisy (formerly Miss Muffet) adopted us January 25, 2006. She came to us on a home visit and never left. Although my husband was in favor of the adoption, he wasn’t sure he really wanted a beagle. No one told Daisy that. She walked in, looked around, sniffed a little and promptly peed on my husband’s favorite rug! He burst out laughing and she’s been with us ever since.

DaisyDaisy was incredibly shy and we weren’t sure of her age–our vet guessed her to be 6 or 7. She had been used as a breeder and we later found out that she had actually been shot at (she still had the buckshot in her back). Her foster dad told us she had been put out on the streets and was nearly run over (like her brother) when she was found. So, we were facing several hurtles in getting her used to us.

The biggest thing in our favor was her amazing nature. After all she had been thru, she only every showed love and appreciation. She quickly took over our home (and our hearts) and became our constant companion. She loved car rides and belly scratches and fireplaces and snow and shrimp. She gave love freely and brought warmth into a room every time she entered it. She had the ability to sense emotions and respond to them. If I was sad, she was warm and affectionate. If I was upset or angry, she became a three-ring circus. She never met a hand she couldn’t love. She made us realize that a hand not scratching a dog, was a hand wasted.

As you can tell, I’m speaking in the past tense. Daisy went over the rainbow on Saturday, October 23, 2010 after a valiant struggle with cancer. She only had us for three short years, but we will have her forever in our hearts. Thank you Homeward Trails for bringing me the happiest three years of my life.

God bless you all.

-Claudette White, Bowie, MD

See all posts about: Older Dogs | Shy Dogs | Special Needs


In September, 2008 we adopted Joy as a companion for our aging American Eskimo. She was shy and skittish, but since he was so calm, she soon learned to be more easy going. When we lost him in February, we soon knew we needed to fill the hole in all our lives. Enter Eli, a fun and lovable beagle!

Joy & EliWhen Joy came to us, she didn’t know how to play and was never fond of the dog park. However, Eli has changed all that. Now she frequently starts the tug-o-war and is first into the car for the frequent trips to the park. We can’t thank Homeward Trails enough for bringing these wonderful dogs into our life!

-The Rauscher Family, Gaithersburg, MD

See all posts about: Shy Dogs


We’ve had Jorgie (formerly Mavis) for almost 3 weeks now and we couldn’t be happier! I found out that not only is she a puggle, but a puggle and Boston terrier mix. She is so full of love and kisses (TONS of kisses!). She has so much energy and loves to play outside with her “big sister” Puggle.

JorgieShe also has become very popular with other people and dogs in are apartment community! Everyone adores her! Jorgie’s favorite things are going to the dog park and watching thunderstorms roll by on the balcony. We are so thankful to Homeward trails and our volunteer Kim for all of their help. We couldn’t have picked a better pup to join our happy family!

-Anna & Glenn, Annapolis, MD


While in the process of adopting Bella (formerly Kinsey), I found out she might be a Pit Bull mix. It made me hesitate. We have a puggle at home and the thought of a potentially aggressive dog coming into our home was a little frightening. Since then, Bella has taught me so much about dogs and dog breeds. She is the sweetest dog I have ever met. All she wants to do is sit on the couch and get love all day.

BellaShe completely changed my perception of Pit Bulls. I have learned that Pit Bulls are the worst guard dogs; they will lick any stranger’s face. She and her puggle sister, Meg, get along famously. We could not have asked for or trained a better dog! We are now adamant about teaching others about Pit Bull breeds and are advocates for responsible Pit Bull ownership.

Martin-Davis Family, Alexandria, VA

See more posts about: Pit Bulls


My name is Nelly.

NellyI was adopted a year ago and I thought it would be a good time to take stock of the situation. I include a few pictures, one where I don’t look my best and another which I like much better. This is what happened between.

I was dumped in a rural shelter by a lady who lived in a domestic violence situation. I was already 9 by then, and was not too hopeful about any improvements in my life. But Homeward Trails changed everything! They picked me up, brought me back to DC, cleaned me up, spayed me and pulled 9 rotten teeth out of my mouth!

Nelly_beforeNelly before

After about two weeks in a wonderful foster home, a couple (not too young, like me) came to visit and liked me so much they came back and took me home with them! I was nervous at first… When they extended a hand to pet me, I ran to hide under furniture and was afraid the leash was not meant to take me for a walk. Loud noises still scare me, but all in all, I’m pretty satisfied with my situation..

My dad works at home, so I’m rarely alone. I may be only 12 pounds, but I’m a fantastic guard dog as I hear absolutely everything. Actually, I don’t know how they managed without me; they miss everything, the UPS guy, the door bell, you name it.

I’ve heard some people BUY dogs! Can you imagine that? When there are hundreds, no, thousands of dogs, as good and as wonderful as I am waiting for a better life. So think about it.

Gotta go, I distinctly hear some interesting noises in the kitchen!


-Nelly (via Laetitia & Robert), Bethesda, MD

See all posts about: Older Dogs | Shy Dogs