Turning pain into helping paws

Howard Loftin’s story of survival is one of intense pain and great courage.

Facing a life of domestic violence, he was able to escape his situation – but he had to leave his dog behind with his abuser.

His own sister lost her life to domestic violence, and in her situation as well, her dog was often used as a tool to keep her from leaving.

Taking these experiences to heart, Loftin opened Road Home Animal Rescue 2002 to help the animal victims in domestic violence situations. Often pets have to be left behind when someone escapes a domestic violence situation. Most shelters will not allow pets. Loftin wanted to do something to help these animals and hopefully help them avoid the same fate as his dog.

Before leaving the state to get away permanently, Loftin chanced contacting the abuser to try to get his dog back.

“I called him to tell him I was leaving the state and that I wanted to come pick up my dog. He said the dog is not here, that he got out. He said that he was happy that I was getting out and getting a new start and he said that if I wanted to come over, I could come over.”

Howard was hesitant about going over, but once again, the abuser knew what to say. Howard spent a lot of time in the garden landscaping. He had a very rare bamboo plant that he had for years.

“He said I know you did a lot of landscaping and everything, I know you brought that bamboo with you. He gave me a shovel and I started to dig it up. I found my dog’s body at the bottom of the bamboo. I dropped the shovel, turned around and saw him smiling from the window. I threw the shovel at the window, broke the window, got in my car and drove away. That was my last encounter with him.”

“I opened Road Home Animal Rescue and immediately went down to the local domestic violence center. I worked closely with them and found out they handled five counties.” Soon he was servicing 95 counties.

“It is an Underground Railroad situation at best,” Loftin said. “Sometimes the animals are not even from this state. Some situations are so dangerous they have to move the animals from state to state.”

What is special about Road Home is they not only shelter the animals, they also work to rehabilitate them. They will also keep the animals until the victims can come and reclaim them.

Last year, Road Home took some hurricane Katrina animals into their shelter. They helped rehabilitate them and get them adopted out.

Like many non-profit groups, Road Home struggles with funding. Though they have many celebrity friends, money is hard to come by. Donations are always welcome. Check out

Road Home Animal Rescue
4586 Hwy 127 S
Crossville, Tenn. 38555.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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