Blog Archives

Back by popular demand – our annual Spaghetti Bingo fundraiser – now with two dates! Join us as we celebrate 10 years of the fun-filled event!

Due to the overwhelming popularity of this event and the difficulty people have experienced getting tickets the last couple years we are now offering two Spaghetti Bingo dates – March 7 and March 14.

Get your tickets today and join us for a family friendly night of fun at our 10th annual Spaghetti Bingo fundraiser! Ticket prices include all you can eat spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert and soft drinks 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. Even with two dates we do expect Spaghetti Bingo will sell out so get your tickets today before it’s too late!

Spaghetti Bingo

Saturday, March 7, 2020 or Saturday, March 14, 2020

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Lyon Park Community Center

414 N. Fillmore St.

Arlington, VA






Thank you to our 2020 Spaghetti Bingo Sponsors!




dogfish Dogfish Head Alehouse in Falls Church, VA will be hosting a fundraiser for Homeward Trails Animal Rescue on July 14th where a percentage of their sales for the day will be donated to the Rescue.  There is no flyer to print or secret handshake to remember, just come and enjoy!

There will be a silent auction and live music so come join us for a great day of fun!


Dogfish Head Ale House
6220 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA, 22044
11:30 AM – 11:00 PM


Bring the whole family and join HT as we walk in the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade on Tuesday, March 10, beginning around 6:00 PM.  People and pups alike always have a blast at this high energy annual event.  We’ll have costumes available for the dogs and a few accessories for their humans too. We’ll have beads with the HT logo to hand out to folks along the parade route.  Email if you would like to participate.

Enjoy these photos from previous years


Come out a join us on October 6 for a family-friendly howlin’ good time at Hot Dog Roundup at Paradise Springs Winery.  Bring your favorite two and four-legged friends and enjoy an afternoon of food, music, wine and great company.  We’ll have games for the dogs and kids and some great silent auction items.

Ticket prices include food, soda and water.  Leashed dogs are welcome, please no retractable leashes.

Sunday, October 6, 2013 1-5 PM

Paradise Springs Winery
3219 Yates Ford Rd  Clifton, VA 20124
(view map)

Hot Dog Roundup

Ticket Prices

Children under 12 $20
Adults $30
Adult with wine tasting included $40

Buy Tickets


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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Paw-Casso-Logo-Final-2013-smallSponsored by Urban Pace

We are thrilled to announce that PawCasso 2013 raised $25,000 for the Homeward Trails Medical Fund. This fund allows Homeward Trails Animal Rescue to take in animals with correctable, but often expensive medical needs.

Two hundred art and animal lovers joined the festivities to make it the most successful PawCasso event to date!
The evening, held at The Washington Post, featured the live art of more than 30 local artists, which alone generated over $10,000! Julie Carey, Northern Virginia Bureau Chief for NBC, emceed the event, which also included the live auction of four fantastic non-art items including trips, private catered dinners and wine tastings.

The evening ended with dancing to the music of Bad Hair Day!

We thank all of our wonderful artists, donors, volunteers and attendees! See you next year on April 26, 2014!

More photos on our facebook gallery


Homeward Trails Animal Rescue Third Thursday Education Series

Everything you ever wanted to know about your cat’s health!

Dr. Marcus Brown of NOVA Cat Clinic (formerly Capital Cat Clinic) will be discussing comprehensive cat health including urinary tract issues, dental health and diet which are very important topics for our feline friends.  Dr Brown will also answers questions from the audience.

Date/Time: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 7:15 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: Dog Paws ‘n Cat Claws, 5818-C Seminary Rd. Falls Church, VA 22041


Cost: $5 donation to Homeward Trails

Dr. Brown knew that he wanted to become a veterinarian at age 5.  He was fortunate to be able to work with his father, a veterinarian, and became passionate about helping animals.  He is the founder NOVA Cat Clinic and he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1986 from the University of Illinois.  He is an active supporter in local, state and national feline organizations and serves as the medical director for Alley Cat Allies.  Dr. Brown is the President-elect of the  American Association of Feline Practitioners  and was one of the authors of new wellness guidelines for feline practitioners. Dr. Brown is the AAFP alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates.  Dr. Brown lives in Arlington with his three cats , Spanky, Cosmo and Bootie. In his free time, Dr. Brown enjoys traveling, reading, and running.


Scooby Doo Book Reading Event

Scooby Doo Book Reading Event

HT Executive Director Sue Bell and Deputy Director Rebecca Goodhart brought a few lucky HT rescued pooches to meet with local DC school children during a live book reading with Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, who were in town to promote the opening of the Scooby-Doo Live Musical Mysteries show at the Warner Theater on February 16th.

Scooby Doo Book Reading Event

Scooby Doo Book Reading Event


scoobyTo celebrate the opening of the Scooby-Doo Live Musical Mysteries show at the Warner Theater on February 16th, HT is meeting up with Scooby and his buddy Shaggy at the Northwest One Library branch in DC on Wednesday, February 13th.  30 local DC children will meet lucky rescued dogs from HT, get to hang out with Scooby-Doo and participate in a book reading.

Representatives from the North Shore Animal League will also be joining the fun!


…and Where to Find a Positive Trainer

Training is a very, very important part of ensuring that your new family member settles in and successfully integrates into the family. Much of this success can be determined in the first few months of bringing your new dog home – but training can also be a lifelong commitment. With so much information out there these days online, on television and at your local pet stores it is difficult to choose between so many options.

There are many types of training and not one type will fit every dog. But what should always be consistent is that the training type be positive. But what does “positive” mean? How do you know if the trainer you choose is truly qualified? What if your dog needs help beyond a trainer in the form of a behaviorist? What does that mean and who is qualified to be a behaviorist?

The following article is courtesy of Fur-Get Me Not, an Arlington-based doggy daycare, pet sitting and dog training business.

Positive Dog Training: What Does The Term Really Mean?

There are two main approaches to dog training: traditional and modern. Traditional dog training evolved from the use of dogs in the military during WWI and WWII. It relies on using physical force and the standard equipment includes: choke chains, pinch collars, or shock collars. Modern dog training was introduced to the public in the 1980s and originated from scientific studies of animal behavior and the application of learning theory. The main scientific application in the training field at this time was with wild animals, particularly marine mammals. Studies followed a formal scientific process requiring trainers to base their results on solid data that could be replicated by other trainers and scientists. Karen Pryor, a marine mammal trainer, played a major role in popularizing positive training methods and expanding them to dogs. Her book Don’t Shoot the Dog (1984) was ground breaking. It translated behavioral concepts to a practical level and dispelled the myth that force and coercion to “show who is boss” was required to get an animal to respond. The positive dog training movement has never looked back.

Rachel Davino

Rachel Davino


What is positive dog training?

The Pet Professional Guild defines it simply as: “No Shock, No Pain, No Choke, No Fear, No Physical Force, No Physical Molding, No Compulsion Based Methods are employed to train or care for a pet.”


Characteristics of positive dog training

  • HUMANE: Does not use any methods that will deliberately hurt or intimidate the dog. Uses equipment such as buckle collars, martingales, no-pull harnesses, and head-halters. Applies the principles of the Humane Hierarchy as defined by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
  • SCIENTIFIC: Emphasis on learning theory (classical and operant learning) and animal behavior. Knowledge of canine body language and the ability to use techniques based in behavioral science to keep a low stress level and provide the optimum opportunity for learning.
  • MOTIVATIONAL: Recognizes importance of finding foods, objects or activities that motivates each individual dog.
  • RELATIONSHIP BUILDING ORIENTED: Understands the training experience is a partnership and the more you learn about and know your partner, the more effective the training. Takes into consideration the entire dog, including personality, genetics, past experiences, living environment, and immediate needs. Appreciates dogs are living beings with good and bad days and will adjust the expectations of the dog accordingly.
  • PROFESSIONAL: Realizes high standards are important.  A national and independent certification system has been developed.  Dog trainers are able to sit for exams (certification level #1 – CPDT-KA), and provide videotaped clips teaching a student how to train their dog (certification level #2 – CPDT-KSA). Continued education by attending seminars and participating in workshops in order to remain certified is required.

Positive dog training benefits:



  • It teaches the animal that paying attention to humans is rewarding so they do it because they want to.
  • It is an effective method for all dogs. All dogs have something they are motivated by that can be used in training.  The final behavior we are looking for is always broken down in many small steps to make sure we build on success.
  • It takes into account the entire dog, both physical and mental well-being. The goal is to change old behaviors and develop new  – not suppressing bad behaviors.
  • It encourages the dog to think, to be creative, and to problem-solve by offering a safe learning environment.
  • It teaches the dog what we want him to do – not punishing him for behaviors we do not want him to do.
  • It builds on success for both you and your dog. Errors are an integral part of the learning process, you both get more practice and improve your skill set but no one gets hurt in the process.
  • It will build your dog’s confidence level.

The below links are also excellent resources to ensuring that you select a qualified, positive trainer or behaviorist for your dog.

 Here are positive trainers in the DC area and an excellent organization that focuses on helping adopters secure positive training for their dogs: