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My boyfriend and I attended a Homeward Trails adoption fair in Arlington in October of 2006 and adopted a then one-year-old domestic short-hair named Dusti.

When I first saw her meowing and purring in the cage I knew she was meant to come home with us  — but we joke that she adopted us, and not the other way around!


She waits at the door meowing every day when we get home from work and goes to bed with us every night.   I refer to her as our “fuzzy child” since she never leaves our sides.

She loves to cuddle in front of the television or chase her toys around.  She is the light of our lives and always makes us smile.

-Lauren Kiefer
We decided to look for a new dog about a year after our beloved 14 year old lab Madison died. We had several neighbors who successfully adopted wonderful dogs through Homeward Trails. We decided to do the same thing and give a rescue dog a forever home with us. We were looking for an adult dog that was house-trained and was already through most of the puppy stage. We worked with the fosters at Homeward Trails who helped us to figure out the best dog for our family. They suggested Red as the perfect dog for us.
Red BuddyWe feel so fortunate to have Red in our family. Our kids wanted to name him Buddy, but we didn’t want to take away his identity so we decided to combine the names. Red Buddy is a wonderful companion with a sweet demeanor. He is playful and active, but not hyperactive. He tries so very hard to please us and his tail never stops wagging. Red Buddy has learned to sit, lie down and shake paws – and he looks so proud of himself when he follows these commands. He is a fast learner and we can’t wait to teach him more. He joins us on our morning walks and interacts with our human family and friends and their dogs. He loves playing and snuggling with stuffed toys and his favorite game is racetrack in our basement. We couldn’t ask for a better companion and friend for our family. Thank you Homeward Trails!



This is my story about Diamond Girl, a dog who had such a pitiful existence she had given up on life. She had spent her entire life tied to a tree and now found herself in a shelter nursing puppies with no certain future ahead of her. I read about her on PetFinder and found I was unable to get her plight out of my head. I decided to try to help her by fostering her and then find her a forever home.

When I picked her up the first day she was basically catatonic – she wouldn’t even eat a hotdog! She wasn’t afraid, she just didn’t care. She had never spent time indoors and had no idea how to be a dog. Hardwood floors scared her, she didn’t know what chewies were for, ignored affection and growled at my mellow submissive lab. She had no interest in  being around us or in anything that was going on around her. The ony time you saw her tail was on walks and even then it was tucked up under her belly. The outlook was not good and I was worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew.

Despite all of that, we continued to force our affection and attention on her. On the third day I saw the most amazing thing – she was in the yard running around with her tail up.At the end of that day we found her sneaking a nibble on a chewy and by the fourth day I caught her rolling on her back doing the happy dog wiggle. A trainer came out and gave us some simple tips and the aggresive behavior stopped. She even let me work her into a cuddle for the first time. Then, one week after she came to me she finally smiled! A big goofy toothless grin that told me she would be would be okay after all.

A few applications came in for her and then an adoption fell through. When it did, I was so relieved! I finally realized that her forever home was really with us. So we adopted her and she became Heidi, or Chunky as we often call her.

The miserable dog that came in to our lives four months ago has blossomed int the happiest dog ever. She is the living, breathing picture of happy. Ahe smiles and wags her tail constantly and she repays attention with a full blast of joy. She and my lab are BFFs and she has finally learned how to be a dog – a sweet, wonderful, happy dog. She makes me laugh out loud every day and it is impossible to be around her and not feel the glow.

Thanks for letting me share this. I love this goofy dog. We were supposed to be rescuing her, but I can’t put into works how much she has brought into our lives.


After the loss of our 16-year-old golden/chow/collie mix we didn’t even want to think about getting another dog. Bet after waiting almost a year and a half, we decided we were ready to add the love of a dog back into the family equation. We knew we wanted a female, about 30 pounds, mild-mannered and good with cats, dogs and children. We thought it would be relatively easy to find the perfect dog – boy were we wrong! We reached out to a number of rescue organizations. We were most impressed with Homeward Trails who were really committed to finding the right dog for our family. Working with our adoption coordinator Patty Sharma it took only took one month to find the perfect dog – Coba. She was already spayed, housebroken, knew her basic commands and was leash trained.
And none of that is as important as her adorable personality. She looks at you as if you are the best person she has ever met. When we come home she gets so excited that she bends her head and nose together to form a crescent roll. Our cat Calamity is thrilled that Coba never bothers her and let’s her rule the roost. Though not a morning person, I find that being at the river at 6 a.m. with my little girl is so soothing for me. Since Coba entered my life I have been so much calmer and sleeping better. I’ve even met many of my neighbors because of her! She is such a joy and we could not be happier to have her in our lives
Alexandria, VA

After our previous Homeward Trails dog passed away, we came back to ask for help in finding another dog for our family. The biggest obstacle we faced was that the dog needed to be cat friendly, or to be more precise; it had to be tolerant of our very in-charge cat Dunkles. After the initial meeting, Dunkles seemed to approve of him, so Freckles joined our family.


Freckles is the nicest, calmest dog we’ve ever owned. At eight, he’s an older dog, but because of that we have benefited in so many ways. He was already housetrained, past the puppy crazies and is a total gentleman. Our nieces just adore him and he is gentle enough that they are able to take him on walks. He travels with us when we go to visit family and gets along with all the dogs and cats there.

We volunteer at a retirement home and we recently started taking Freckles along with us. He generally sleeps through the activities the residents take part in, but after that he joins in the fun. The residents throw the ball for him and spoil him with treats. If we leave him home the residents all ask where he is and ask why we left him home!

Our thanks to Homeward Trails, Tammy, and Freckles’ foster mom for all the good work you do!

-Addie, Chris, Dunkles and Freckles,
Falls Church, VA

See all posts about: Older Dogs


We got Olive when she was just 3 months old. She’s now almost 2 and a half and we all love her dearly.

She is very smart, cute, happy and laid back. We are devoted to her and she to us. We are lucky to have her in our lives.


-Katie C., Washington D.C.


From the day we moved into our house we knew it would be too empty without the love and companionship of a dog. Through a friend we heard about Homeward Trails and decided to get in touch to see if they could help us find a great dog. Within a very short time we completed the adoption process and went to meet a litter of puppies. They told us the puppies were a mixture of Plot hound, lab, pit bull and Shepherd – basically we have no idea what they were because it never really mattered. We just wanted a puppy!

There were two adorable puppies to choose from. While we were playing with the puppies a fire truck drove down the street. One puppy jumped up looking so brave and bold that we knew we had to have him! We decided he would be our fearless puppy. Since that day Mack has become terrified of his shadow, his reflection and strange noises. Okay, so he’s not so fearless. But he has become an amazing companion and the perfect compliment to our family. He loves camping, canoeing, swimming, kissing and sleeping with his head on our pillow. He might be a little spoiled, but it’s the least we can do to thank him for bringing so much joy and happiness into our lives.

-Tara and Ben, Clarksburg, Md.