Alumni Stories

We always love to hear stories of how our dogs and cats are doing. When we become tired and life becomes difficult, reading stories from our alumni helps to remind us of why we work so hard. We are so proud of how well our little ones are doing that we wanted to share their stories.

If you have an Alumni Story you would like posted on our website, please send it to the Webmaster. Feel free to include digital photos with your Alumni Story. Stories without photos are welcome too!

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Gus - October 23, 2018

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My family and I fell in love with Gus when we met him at an adoption event. He has been with us for about 4 weeks, but we can't remember life without him. He is a member of our family.

Gus is a sweetheart. He is my shadow, following me around the house everywhere I go. He loves to sleep on the couch and give lots of kisses. Gus has made several dog and human friends, and has a BFF, Boomer, that he takes walks with every morning. Our elderly neighbor loves him and let's him come in her house, but won't let her own sons' dogs in.

Gus went on his first camping trip where he got to sleep in a tent, go to the beach, eat bacon, and "get married". His beautiful bride, Diamond, is a sweetheart, and we are happy she has come into his life. He loved the water, but not the waves.

Gus is looking forward to Halloween. He is going to be a cop and will be keeping his BFF, Boomer, who is going as prisoner, in line.

We are looking forward to many years with Gus.

Maggie - August 21, 2018

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My boyfriend and I adopted Maggie when she was about a year and a half old sometime around Easter of this year and have loved every moment since. We fell in love with her the moment we saw her. Right away all we could think was how much we wanted to rescue this dog and spent the entire week thereafter thinking about her.

When we first brought Maggie home and she realized she was here to stay we had a little bit of trouble getting her to go outside. I think she thought she wasn't coming back in but she slowly got over that fear. She's definitely got some issues with men and some anxiety issues that we're still working on with her.

Since Easter, we've learned that all Maggie wants to do is give us lots of hugs and kisses and cuddles. She's the sweetest and kindest dog we've ever known. She's a little shy with new people, occasionally sleeps with her eyes open, and has some strange fears like caution tape or any type of door opening/closing. We love all of Maggie's little quirks no matter how strange and she certainly keeps things interesting. We love her so much and have enjoyed having her in our lives thus far and couldn't imagine life without her.

Thank you HART for helping us find the perfect addition to our family!

Bune - May 7, 2018
(Formerly Weizen)

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I'm Bune (formerly Weizen). I've been with my family since July 2016, when I picked them out at an adoption event at the Chantilly Petsmart. Since I came into the family, we've gone on lots of adventures at local parks, lakes and hiking trails. We've spent summer weeks camping at a state park. And, we've graduated from dog obedience and agility classes - I'm an AKC Good Citizen! My family is so happy I found them, and so am I.

We are all so thankful for Hart. Thank you!

Toby Beagle - March 2, 2018

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Mr. Toby Beagle!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet Darling Toby Boy, we adopted on 1/2718........We were told he perhaps was 13 or 14.....Well Mr. Boi went to our vet, and they figured he may be 9 or 10 yrs old. HE IS A LOVE.....Sweetest Boy ever. He will walk for an hour, loves the Bark Parks.....loves riding in the car and going to "Pet Supplies Plus" where he can sniff out all his treats he wan'ts, then, get's a free bag of goodies! AND gets lots of loves and Pets. Took him to our Vet, He's quite well, and now going to Dogtopia in Manassas with his other "sister" who we adopted from HART in March of last year. They are bonding well, and he's a comfortable and happy boy! Has taken over everything with his Sis Bonnie.....

Thank you Hart! He is one Happy Boy!

Rosie - January 19, 2018
(Formerly Cass)

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I adopted Cass (now Rosie) in November. I met her at her first adoption event at Petsmart and I knew immediately that she was my girl. I can't explain what it was; we didn't get a chance to bond very much at the event because she was pretty nervous with all the other dogs and people around, but I felt something was right, and I filed to adopt her. It was a rocky start - she had come down with kennel cough, so she wasn't able to be spayed right away and she stayed with Nancy for two weeks while she recovered (thank you Nancy for restoring her to health!)

Rosie and I have been a team for a couple of months now and it feels like she and I have grown up together. She is a very spunky and energetic girl - she loves running and jumping over everything and most of all, she loves to sniff and "hunt" down squirrels and birds on our walks. Rosie is also a big cuddle bug; she will lay on your chest and snuggle you when Netflix-bingeing.

She recently won a "dog of the month" contest at Copperwood Tavern for January 2018 and we have been doing some hiking and exploring - she is going to love going on the Shenandoah trails once it gets warmer! Aside from that, she's going to dog training once a week (and learning super quickly!) and getting some play dates in with some of my friend's pups. She is a wonderful and loyal companion and I am so grateful to have her doing life with me.

Jellybean - December 21, 2017

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We adopted Jellybean in August of 2016 and she became little sister to Hart alum Cher. It didn't take Jellybean any time at all to settle into our house but it took Cher and Jelly a while to settle into each other. They're exact opposites in that Jelly loves toys and zoomies around the living room and Cher prefers naps but they've helped to balance each other out and we now can all snuggle happily together on the couch. The girls are our road trip buddies and have their own special seats in the car for their safety and comfort and we take them as many places as we can. Jelly has also become a lover of my hand knit sweaters so that she stays nice and warm in these colder months. We love, love, love our girls and can't wait for more adventures in the years to come.


Hugsley - November 27, 2017
(Formerly Pugsley)

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Nick and I (Anisha) adopted Pugsley (now Hugsley) in April. He got his name after I misheard Leslie introduce him to me, and the name stuck! The name is very fitting for him - he loves hugs and cuddles 100% of the time. Hugsley enjoys long, leisurely walks at all hours of the day, napping, and of course, hanging out with his parents. We live in very dog friendly town center, so Hugsley gets to join us on many outings and gets lots of attention (especially from the ladies!). He has acquired many nicknames over the past months - Hugsely the Derp, Derpus, Bubba...the list goes on and on. Due to his mini-celebrity status, we've even created an Instagram for him - @hugsleythederp! All in all, Hugsley is a very happy pupper and always has a smile on his face. We could not be happier with our decision to add Hugsley to our family!

Anisha and Nick

Stella Bella - November 14, 2017
(Formerly Star)

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Good Morning from Star (now Stella Bella)!

We adopted her after fostering her here in SC in August. She was transported up to VA and we went to get her. This is her looking at my daughter getting ready for school. She sleeps with her every night. Stella is trained on the invisible fence now, but her strong prey drive and impulse to react to things before thinking it through made her a slight challenge to work with on that project. She is a thousand times better than when we first got her though. She is an ideal house dog, mellow, and gets along with our cats and two small dogs. Too well, perhaps because she thinks she's a cat. I caught her standing on my nightstand once following my cat! Monkey see, monkey do. She watches everything they do and copies it. She has absolutely no spatial awareness for her size, it's become a household joke. All in all, she's where she belongs and we love her a lot.

Thanks for all you do for these dogs!!
Tara Loos

Lilly - June 7, 2017

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Hello! I adopted this 3-year old scared girl, Lilly, in July 2006. Last week, Lilly celebrated her 14th birthday! It's hard to remember life before Lilly. She is an absolute love, and we have a wonderful life together. Thank you for bringing us together all those years ago! She and I are both older and grayer, but we like to think we're wiser, too :)

Jill Baker

Eli - June 5, 2017
(Formerly Handsome)

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We adopted Handsome now known as Eli on May 18,2017. In such a short time I have grown to love this handful of energy. He is a younger brother to Lily who is also a Hart Alumni. Lily came into my life two years ago this October after losing a pup to Cancer and Eli has come into my life after losing my boy dog to Cancer. I'm not sure if it is more heartbreaking to lose a dog to Cancer or to help a dog heal when you know he has had a rough life. I will say healing a dog from a rough past is far more fun.

I will never understand is full past life, I will however know his future and his enjoyments of life as they are now full of Frosty Paws, Liver treats and long walks with his mom and Lily. I will work to positively train Eli, I have noticed when you raise your voice or make sudden movements it scares him. He is a strong young boy and has put on a bit of weight with me which pleases me since his body now seems to fit his big block head. Eli in the Hebrew translation means one who will ascend to great heights. He will definitely ascend to great heights, he is a strong boy who has a full life ahead of him.

Lady Collington - March 2, 2017

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It's been almost 5 months since we adopted Lady from HART and we can't be happier to have been chosen to be her forever home. Lady, at 65 lbs now, constantly forgets how big she is and loves to climb in your lap for a cuddle. She is eager to greet anyone that comes within sight and has made friends of every human in our apartment complex. Lady is very smart and now has 8 tricks under her collar and is willing to learn new ones every day. My boyfriend and I spend our work days just waiting to get back home to lay on the couch with Lady and relax as a family.

Thank you so much for giving us the chance to be fur-parents to this sweet girl, she truly makes every day better for us. We hope you enjoy these photos of her!

Penny & Leonard - January 18, 2017
(Formerly Dixie & Moe Moe)

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Hi everyone,

It has been 8 months since you gave us the chance to be the forever home of our two kids Penny (formally Dixie) and Leonard (formally Moe Moe). They have settled in very well as you can see frome the pictures. Penny even allows us to scratch jer ears and for everyone at jart that knew her that would have been impossible without some huge vocalization. Leonard took some time to learn the rules but he caught on. When he first got home he decided to redecorate the house such as to many pillows on the sofa and the carpet on the stairs didnt have enough holes. Leonard did his first camping trip with dad while Penny stayed home with mom. They enjoy car rides and you cant say walk without them jumping for joy.thank you from the new family to all of you for the wonderful work you do every day.

Roger, Jen, Leonard, and Penny

Henry - November 6, 2016
(Formerly Nicholas)

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To the HART family!

It has been about four weeks since I have been adopted!!! I love my new family. Mom and Dad have been spoiling me rotten. I have made a lot of new dog friends. I recently met my grandparents who visited all the way from California; they bought me A LOT of toys!!! I love my new forever home!

***Thank you HART for choosing us to be parents to this beautiful fur baby of ours! We are very grateful to have been able to adopt from the HART family. We are blessed for our Henry boy; he's been such a joy in our lives.

Thank you again!

Henry (formerly Nicholas), Gabriela & Steven Tennyson

Daisy - November 6, 2016
(Formerly Lauren)

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Daisy has become a sea dog - adjusting to life on a boat like a champ. She surprised us by getting on and off using a ramp as though she had been doing it all her life. Daisy is a sweet girl and we love her dearly, as do all the dogs and people she meets.

Thanks, HART!

Kaia - October 23, 2016
(Formerly Kya)

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To my HART family -

10 years!!! Woohoo, I just celebrated 10 years with my furever family. It's been amazing, exciting, fun and most of all loving. I've been on more adventures than I could have ever imagined - the beach is still my favorite however!

My mom works from home every day so I have a companion to let me out to sun myself, back in to nap, back out to sniff around the yard and back in for well, whatever I want. Oh yeah and lots of long walks daily, everyone in the neighborhood knows me and of course, loves me.

Thank you to Dick, Charlie and all the other volunteers who helped get me ready for the best life a dog could ever hope for. Rescue dogs rock!!!!

Kaia (formerly Kya) Cindy & Norma

Tucker - September 6, 2016
(Formerly Wilbur)

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Tucker (formally known as Wilbur) has brought joy to everyone he comes in contact with. He's always ready to greet you with his wagging tail and wiggling body. He loves his toys and his fury brother Chance, he will do anything for turkey treats and enjoys play time with his friends at the park. I encourage all, if you're thinking of adoption, do it! Not only will you save a life but you will get so much back in love.

Tucker and family

Sage - August 12, 2016
(Formerly Tiny Dancer)

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We adopted Sage (Formerly "Tiny Dancer") on November 19, 2015!!! As soon as I saw those big bright beautiful eyes, I knew she had to be mine and as soon as I held her and looked into those eyes it was an instant connection!! Sage just recently celebrated her 1st birthday on July 27th!! She is the sweetest little baby girl, she has adapted very well to her new home and 3 other fur siblings, they are all the best of friends. Sage is full of energy, very curious and loves to play with her toys especially her kitty soccer ball... she loves to play fetch back and forth, oh and let's not forget her favorite feather toy!!!. Sage brings our family such joy, happiness, love and a ton of affection!!!! We are truly blessed that we found each other. Attached are some pictures that I wanted to share of our girl and her siblings, enjoy! Thank you Hart for everything that you do and most of all thank you for our sweet precious girl Sage!!

Princess Buttercup - May 17, 2016
(Formerly Cherry)

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Hi Hart!

We adopted Princess Buttercup (formerly Cherry) on Superbowl Sunday, 2016. We first saw her picture (those ears!) and her heart-tugging story on the Hart website, and knew we had to meet her. We instantly fell in love. As one of the dogs used for breeding, she was understandably timid at first. She has come such a long way in such a short time! Unsure of toys at first, she now loves fetching her toy pizza or stuffed lobster. Initially litter box trained with very little experience on a leash, she is now house broken and loves being outside in her fancy sweater. She is our constant companion, joining us on long walks, hiking, fishing, and even to the winery, where she is definitely everyone's favorite pup! Although she is always up for adventure, her favorite activity involves lounging on the couch, snuggling up in a pile of blankets and keeping an eye on us to make sure we aren't leaving her.

Since we have had her, her personality has really come out! We are always greeted by a loving and enthusiastic tail wag, and like most Iggies, she is always a step behind us wherever we go. Some of her goofier traits include her tendency to cross her paws while sitting and making some very funny faces. (See photos for some great examples!)

We want to thank Hart for giving us to opportunity to adopt our little peanut! We love her so much, and have you all to thank for bringing her into our lives. She is truly the best companion; with the greatest personality! I could write a lot more, but Buttercup is starting to paw at my laptop, which means it time to play!

We really cherished the experience to rescue an older dog, and hope that we can inspire more people to do the same!

-Eric, Caitlyn, and Princess Buttercup

Zahara - May 2, 2016

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I got Zahara from you guys back in October. She was very shy and timid from the moment I met her. After 3 short months, you certainly can't say that about her any more. She absolutely loves going out for our runs every day at the park and on the weekends when I'm out of town, she has a blast playing tag with her cousin Taelawne. She has grown into one of the happiest and friendliness dogs I've ever been with. There are times when I'm having a bad day and she comes and snuggles up, wanting to play and always manages to get me laughing and smiling in no time. Thank you so much for introducing me to her! I love her so much and she has helped me in my depression and got me back into shape. I have, and shall continue to, refer you to anyone who has given interest on adopting.

Keep up the great work!

With love,
Zahara and Tony

Stormy - April 18, 2016

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We adopted Stormy, one of the "Forces of Nature" pups, on Halloween, 2015, so she has now been with us almost six months. She has gained five pounds and grown a bit taller, and she is almost eleven months old. For the first couple of months, she really was a force of nature. Our three kids (ages 8, 6, and 3) would laugh at her crazy spells when she would run wildly around the house. As Stormy settled in to house life (she had been primarily kenneled with HART), she found all sorts of new joys: food dropped from the table, a cozy chair in which to snuggle, and toys left out for her to sneak off and chew... One of her favorite things in those early weeks was eating crayons. Despite our intense efforts to keep crayons out of her reach, there she would be, chomping away on one. Thankfully that phase has passed (though she still finds plenty of mischief)! Things were unpredictable those first weeks, but with each passing month Stormy has become more and more a part of our family. Stormy loves on our three-year-old during the day and greets the older two kids with licks and tail wags and hugs -yes, she really does seem to hug them! - when they get home from school. Despite being a hound, she is mostly a people-pleaser, and she likes to be where we are.

We were worried when we got her because we were told that she loved to play with other dogs, but she would be an only dog for us. I think it is fair to say that the kids (and husband) have filled in nicely as playmates, and she loves to run around the backyard with all of us, chasing balls or toys. Stormy also now has a best friend two houses down, an active two-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. They run and play in our fenced yards a couple of times a week. We go for lots of walks, during which Stormy insists that she could catch birds and squirrels if we would just let her off the leash. She also loves running, and she will go out for a three mile jog with my husband two or three mornings each week. Once she has her energy out, she is very mellow and is really just the sweetest thing. One of her favorite things this winter was to lie in front of the fire, chewing on her Benebone. She's content to relax a bit, and she'll take her own 'quiet time' in her crate during part of the day. In the evening, we'll find her upstairs snoozing on one of the kids' beds. We all adore Stormy, and she really has been a perfect fit for our family. She is our second dog from HART, and we will keep coming back!

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