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Homeward Trails seeks to find permanent adoptive homes in the Mid-Atlantic Region for dogs and cats from under resourced shelters or whose owners can no longer care for them. In so doing, we seek to reduce the rate of euthanasia of adoptable animals through the rescue and placement of homeless animals; to support proactive spay/neuter practices; to promote positive and ongoing behavioral training; and to educate the public about how to care for their animals in a humane way. Homeward Trails not only facilitates adoptions from local shelters, but also supports a large network of foster care providers who take homeless dogs and cats into their homes, care for them, rehabilitate them when needed, and prepare them for their permanent adoptive homes.
Homeward Trails started by accident! In December 2001, Founder Sue Bell was vacationing in Fayette County, WV when she happened upon the local animal shelter. During a quick stop to drop off biscuits, she was told the sad history of this shelter. Their facility had been hit by a flash flood a few months prior, drowning more than 50 animals. Now operating out of a small trailer, the shelter had little space to house the animals and the euthanasia rate was almost 98%.
Bell and decided to rescue three dogs that day, setting into motion a future no one could predict. Once back in the DC area, the three dogs - Brown Dog, Black Dog and Lucy were "put up for adoption" via e-mails to friends and ads in local papers. In just one week, all had homes. But the calls and e-mails kept coming from folks asking Bell to help them find a pet.
Recognizing a demand from local animal lovers and a large supply of animals in Fayette County, Bell began driving the 6 hour one-way trip every weekend to bring dogs and cats back to DC for adoption. At first, the goal was just to rescue 50 animals in honor of those that drowned in the shelter flood.
Now, 16 years later and more than 25,000 animals rescue, Homeward Trails is going strong and has no plans of stopping until every homeless dog and cat out there can be assured of a loving home.
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