FOHA: Forty years of helping animals

Blog the ChangeFor this round of Blog the Change for Animals, I wanted to highlight an organization that has been helping animals since before I was a twinkle in my parents’ eyes.

Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) in northern Virginia has been serving the DC area since 1973. Last year, FOHA gave me a wonderful place to volunteer and a new pup in the form of Tavish. This year, FOHA celebrates its 40th anniversary.

FOHA is a no-kill shelter dedicated to saving dogs and cats, generally housing over 100 dogs and 30 cats on site at any given moment. (That’s not even counting animals in foster homes!) The organization estimates that it helps approximately 500 animals per year find their forever homes.


You know you want me…

There are a lot of things that make FOHA special. The following information from FOHA’s website tells quite the tale – I think I’ll let it speak for itself:

FOHA continues to be unique among the local animal rescue groups in its strict no-kill policies, the quality and extent of veterinary care it provides (we treat our animals regardless of the cost), its careful adoption policies with interviews and home visits for all animals adopted, its lifetime return policy for all animals adopted, and the size and quality of our kennel facilities and an excellent staff on site.  None of our animals, dog or cat, is housed in a cage.  We have 110 dogs at the shelter and 30 others who require special care in foster homes.  All our regular kennels are both heated and air-conditioned and have indoor areas with comfortable bedding and fenced outdoor areas where the dogs can play.  Every Saturday and Sunday, dedicated volunteers come to the kennel to walk, play with and love each dog individually.  We have an exercise area, pools for the dogs in summer, and forty acres of wooded trails where the volunteers walk them.  In addition to our kennels, a number of elderly and long-term-resident dogs live in the Fred Sanders Memorial Village in individual houses each of which is furnished, heated and air-conditioned and has its own private run with artificial turf.


I’m the purrfect pal!

In addition to the 140 dogs in Friends’ care, we have unique facilities for healthy, feral, and FIV+ catteries (the only one in Virginia) and they too are showered with attention by their own special volunteers on the weekends.  At present, approximately 60 cats live in the communal catteries, 25+ in foster homes, and 18 others in Friends’ feral colony.

Over the last four decades, Friends of Homeless Animals has saved and placed in forever homes tens of thousands of dogs and cats who would otherwise have been abandoned or killed.  

When I read that, all I can think is… wow. Forty years of dedication and care. Forty years of helping animals. Inspiring, right?

If you’d like to help me honor FOHA on its 40th anniversary, here are a few options:

I know I’m inspired… and we’re just getting started. Obviously, I’m not the only blogger participating in Blog the Change for Animals today. I highly recommend you visit the other great sites blogging for the change – you can find them below. Finally, if you’re a blogger, consider writing about a cause near and dear to your heart, and then add your post to the list!

Similar Smells:




21 thoughts on “FOHA: Forty years of helping animals

  1. Wow A.J. – what a great place! No wonder you wanted to feature it for Blog the Change Day. I love the concept of cageless shelters – to me, it seems like a much better living arrangement for the dogs and cats. They can become socialized to other animals, and thereby become more “adoptable” to people considering a second (third or fourth) pet. I also love that they take FIV+ cats – there are so few places that do. Thanks for participating in Blog the Change Day and for being part of Team BTC!
    Vicki Cook recently posted..January 15: Blog the Change Day

  2. FOHA sounds like a wonderful place, if I lived in the area I’m sure I’d volunteer there. It sounds exactly like the kind of place I myself would like to have some day and a great model for other rescues.

    We have Our Companions, they are just being built on 40 acres not too far from us, I have to figure out a way to get involved.

    Great post and thank you for sharing, they are very lucky to have you as a volunteer!!
    Jodi recently posted..Wild Heart Ranch

  3. Great post! FOHA sounds like a fantastic organization that deserves more recognition for what they do and how they treat their shelter pets.

    Grizzlebees here. As a former no-kill shelter dog resident, I spent over a year in an outdoor pen that wasn’t heated or air-conditioned and have to say, it sucked. It was better than the alternative to living alone in the wilderness but I think that more shelters should aspire to be like FOHA!

    Thanks for sharing!

    -Grizzlebees and Dillinger-

  4. Thanks for sharing the details about the rescue you’ve been volunteering with. I can see why you chose them. It’s quite an impressive organization. Do you know if they are involved with perpetuating their model out among other shelters? It sounds like we could learn something from them up here.
    Leslie recently posted..Saving the Satos – BtC4A

  5. No wonder you’re impressed with FOHA! It sounds like an exemplary organization – and one the pets might not be in any hurry to leave. BOL…. talk about nice digs!

    BTW…kudos to you on getting involved, imparting your gifts to benefit homeless pets. Now that’s truly awesome! 🙂

    Thank you for blogging the change for animals!
    Kim Thomas
    Team BtC4A
    KimT recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Waitin’ on Some Real Snow

  6. I am so proud of you for dedicating so much time to helping such a valuable organization. You are the definition of knowing what it is to be the change you want to see and I have no doubt your community has benefited greatly as a result. Thank you for sharing their, and your, hard work!
    Kristine recently posted..Went to Bed. Took the Dog.

    • Aw… thank you, Kristine. I wish I was able to do more – compared to many of the volunteers, I’m only able to spend a very small amount of time helping out. I do like handling the Twitter account though – makes me feel like I’m able to be involved even when I can’t make it to the shelter.

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