Mutts are known by many names: hybrids, the more well-known mixed breed, or, if you’re a native Pittsburgher like me, we often call them Heinz 57s.
These lovable mixed breeds may have the wrinkly jowls of a bulldog, the wiggly corkscrew tail of a pug, or big lovable Labrador eyes. No matter what they look like, they are wonderful additions to any family.
Many of these mixed breeds are longing for a new home. According to the ASPCA, over three million dogs enter shelters every year. Many are abandoned and abused. And yet, contrary to popular belief, many mutts often learn and train just like purebreds. They can be faithful companions, just like any other dogs.
“When you adopt from a shelter, not only do you save an animal by making them part of your family, but you open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it,” says Ashley Valm, director of adoptions at the Humane Rescue Alliance. “As people struggled with social isolation and being separated from friends and family during the pandemic, we saw so many people find joy, companionship, and even entertainment from sharing their homes with animals.”
Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation in Arlington currently has dozens of adoptable dogs on their website. There’s Tony, with his lovable puppy eyes, a two-year-old Shepherd mix, or fellow two-year-old Blu, an American Pit Bull mix. My first dog with my now husband was from this rescue, and Moe was a dog who brought us more joy than we could have ever known.
The Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation, or LDCRF, was incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit 20 years ago, when a couple of Arlington restaurant owners (Pam McAlwee and Ross Underwood—Lost Dog Café fans anyone?) decided to formalize their ongoing efforts to save homeless pets in their local community. They purchased 63 acres in Sumerduck and built The Lost Dog Ranch, a kennel for homeless pets. The rest, as they say, is history.
Northern Virginia is also home to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. They find homes for abandoned hunting dogs and dogs (and cats too) who are rescued from low-income, rural animal shelters. They also help rehome dogs whose owners can no longer care for them, as well as dogs who may have been injured, abused, or neglected.
With the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic, Homeward Trails has temporarily suspended all offsite adoption events, and adoptable animals are only available by appointment only. The rescue recommends scheduling a meet and greet with animals you’re interested in, and you can do so by visiting their website. A couple available dogs at Homeward Trails include happy-go-lucky hound mix Lola, or Beagle mix Reese, who loves to smile for the camera.
If you are thinking of bringing home a “mutt” of your own, it’s important to remember a bit of advice. Petfinder.com recommends determining in advance where your dog will spend most of his time, making sure you have a crate if you plan to crate-train your dog, train your dog as soon as you get home, and consider making up an ID tag with your information on it and microchipping your pup in case your dog ever gets loose.
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