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Friends of Homeless Animals to the Rescue

Updated on September 10, 2013

Barktoberfest is a day to celebrate the human-animal bond while supporting Friends of Homeless Animals mission of saving abused, abandoned and neglected cats and dogs that have found sanctuary with Friends of Homeless Animals while they await permanent homes.

As some of you might recall, we adopted Ajax, our AmStaf, from Friends of Homeless Animals ten years ago October 4. He has been an amazingly sweet and loyal companion. Recently he had developed several external tumors, not atypical for the breed. Just over a week ago one of them suddenly grew to many times its size the previous day and developed an infection. Within days, this powerful dog was so weak that he had trouble walking down a few stairs. Office visits and the medication necessary to prepare him for surgery cost about $600. The surgical procedure would be another $1,000. As I now rely solely on Social Security—not the windfall some would have it—the expense was frightening. The alternative was to euthanize him, but he was otherwise healthy and neither of us was ready for him to go.

When I reported our plight to the president of Friends of Homeless Animals, she talked with our vet and arranged to pay half the cost. Not only had FOHA provided me a wonderful pet, but the organization would also make it possible to save his life ten years later.

Obviously, I am indebted to the organization on both counts. The expense was more than I could comfortably afford, but FOHA made it happen.

Ajax is now recovering well, and a less than a week after the operation he has a couple of scars, one about ten inches long and stitched with super-strength ligatures, and he has learned to wield the cone of shame as a bull dozer. He also has a sparkle in his eye again and is teasing me for treats.

I have been sleeping on the first floor with him, both because I need to keep an eye on him and because he wants to be near me. In truth, we want to be close to each other.

Read maudlin thoughts here, but I am grateful to still have him with me, healthy and happy and looking forward to being together for years to come, a quality of life that has been much improved, thanks to excellent medical care and the commitment of Friends of Homeless Animals.

Within the past week, I have found it necessary to part ways with the people I was working with on a long-term project for which I had surrendered some contract work (writing and public affairs, if you know anyone….) so I don’t see my financial situation improving. Although I don’t have the luxury of money to give FOHA, I do want to spread the word in the hopes that other animal lovers in Northern Virginia and beyond might be able to provide some financial support to Friends of Homeless Animals, either directly (, or through the organization’s annual Barktoberfest (

On September 28, hundreds of dogs and their families are expected to participate in FOHA’s annual fundraiser Barktoberfest, presented by The Life Centre, at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds.

Activities for FOHA’s biggest fundraiser of the year get underway with the Mutt Strut at 9:15 a.m. Register here and join walkers for the one mile Strut to support Friends of Homeless Animals, a no-kill shelter that has saved more than 15,000 dogs and cats since 1973.

Other activities throughout the day include agility and training demonstrations, live music performed by a number of bands, kids games, vendors selling their unique wares, opportunities to “ask the vet” and “ask the trainer,” contests that include pet costumes and best tail-wagging, raffles, an auction, the canine belly rub hub and a range of other activities for family and pet-oriented fun, all for a donation of only $5 for each adult. Kids and dogs are admitted free.

Here is your chance to watch a parade of dogs in need of a good home, while other pets in need of adoption will mingle with supporters and enjoy the many activities in their honor.

Register to Strut and find further information, including a schedule of activities, online at Barktoberfest is a wonderful opportunity to meet the pet that is waiting to meet you.

Tell them Ajax sent you.

The before pictures were far worse than a humbled AmStaf with huge scars and the cone of humiliation.
The before pictures were far worse than a humbled AmStaf with huge scars and the cone of humiliation.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks, Stella, I hope that it helps others to think of the good work these organizations do. Sometimes it is invisible.

    • stella writes profile image

      stella writes 

      5 years ago

      Thank you Clive for your inspiring story.


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