This article was featured in WYDaily on 1/20/23.
There’s a new face waiting to be discovered at The Heritage Humane Society. It’s yellow with black spots, has two inquisitive eyes, and is waiting to welcome you to Greater Williamsburg’s largest animal shelter. Meet Dash, the leopard gecko! In addition to meeting Dash, little ones who visit the shelter and look for his new plush counterpart will receive a prize.

Discover Dash and win

Dash the actual, living and breathing leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) just celebrated his first anniversary as the Humane Education Animal Ambassador at The Heritage Humane Society. In his honor and to the delight of those who love to visit the shelter, children who Discover Dash wherever he is hiding throughout the facility can receive a small prize at the front desk.
In addition to finding plush Dash and earning a little keepsake, people are welcome to join in the social media fun of tagging uploads with #HHSDiscoverDash.

Meet Dash

Dash joined The Heritage Humane Society in Dec. 2021 when his owner surrendered him. The interesting little fellow captured the attention of many and soon the shelter decided to make Dash its official ambassador.
The plush version of Dash easily resembles the actual Dash. The colorful leopard gecko sports yellow skin with black spots. He likes living a tropical lifestyle preferring his balmy 85F deluxe enclosure in the administration offices when he is not taking the occasional stroll about the shelter to greet children in particular especially during Animal Camp.
Like many lizards, the leopard gecko has a tail, which breaks off readily when grabbed by a predator. This permits the gecko to get away if attacked. Unfortunately, it leaves a valuable food resource behind; the tail is used as a fat storage for lean periods. Dash’s favorite snack is crickets although he will also indulge in mealworms and waxworms. His “talking tail” moves back and forth when he is hunting crickets. Leopard geckos can live up to 20 years. They are normally nocturnal, keeping out of the heat of the day, emerging at night from holes and crevices to hunt for food. Fun fact: They eat their own skin shed after they finish shedding, which can happen in as little as 10 minutes.
For children and adults alike, the thrill of interacting and learning about animals can spark a lifelong passion. The shelter staff hopes little Dash can help them spread the message of responsibility, compassion, and awareness towards all animals big and small.


Animal Camps 2023

As the Humane Education Animal Ambassador, Dash wants to remind everyone about the shelter’s 2023 summer animal camps. He was a part of the 2022 animal camps and helped educate the youth participants on what is involved in having a reptile as a pet. For instance, did you know The Heritage Humane Society does not just care for furry adoptable pets? The shelter occasionally receives pet birds, reptiles, and fish, too, who are also made available for adoption.
In 2022, The Heritage Humane Society hosted five week-long camp weeks. A total of 84 campers had the opportunity of experiencing this busy animal shelter that cares for more than 1,000 furry (and sometimes scaly) friends each year.

Mark your calendars for Animal Camp 2023! The shelter’s popular summer animal camps are returning for another summer of hands-on fun. Visit the Animal Camp webpage to submit a camp interest form to be among the first to be notified when online registration opens.


Other ways for kids to get involved

A key aspect of The Heritage Humane Society’s vision is to provide youth members in the community with the best tools to create a brighter future for people and animals. Through the shelter’s Humane Education programming, it hopes to help cultivate responsibility, compassion, and empathy and to increase youth’s understanding of animal welfare and conservation.

The Heritage Humane Society offers proven ideas for children to become involved in supporting the shelter, which is a critical part of the community.
 Host a donation drive. While donation drives can happen at any time of year, the homeless pets at The Heritage Humane Society have often received an outpouring of donations when children ask for shelter supplies in lieu of gifts at their birthday parties. For instance, if a child is turning eight years old, they may ask that party attendees bring eight cans of dog food, or really, just anything from the shelter’s wish list, which also includes what the shelter does not accept.
• Get creative. DIY toys, homemade treats, or even pet portraits are engaging ways to tap into talent as a means to share love with the shelter’s homeless pets. Click here to learn about the many ways you can help the homeless pets in our care. Make homemade pet treats, create some dog and cat toys from recycled items in your house, fashion a cat tent from on old t-shirt, or have a group create portraits of some of our adoptable pets.
• Read to the pets. Just as people find it soothing to be with pets, pets can find it just as soothing to spend quiet, quality time together. A great way to do this is to when children visit the shelter pets and read to them. It builds the child’s reading skills while calming the pet in their busy shelter environment. Children can even bring a sketch pad and draw. Many of the shelter’s pets love the extra attention and human interactions.


Pets in-need of a fur-ever home

The Heritage Humane Society has over two hundred catsdogs, and small pets in their care. Here is one who is eager to no longer be homeless.
This week’s spotlight returns to shelter dog, Moses. This sweet boy thought he was leaving The Heritage Humane Society to what would eventually lead to his forever home, however, sadly, the plan fell through. Moses is the shelter’s longest current resident 249 days. The big bundle of love is once again hoping to find a forever home.
Shelter Volunteer Amanda Ibrahim, recently wrote about him, “Moses has stolen my heart! This big boy has been my favorite walking buddy for months! He gets extremely excited when he first sees me, so it takes him about 2-3 minutes to settle down and stop jumping. However, after that his walking skills are fantastic. He truly loves taking in all the scenery and loves a good back scratch in the grass as well. This brings him so much joy and a much-needed break from the shelter. He has been at Heritage for way too long, and he is so deserving of a loving home where he can be a part of a family again!”
Janet and Mike Zikes recently took Moses on a Fido Field Trip and reported back, “Moses rides in the car really well. He hops right in and sits or lays quietly during the entire ride. He is a great walker too. He doesn’t pull and doesn’t react if he sees a squirrel. We took him to PetSmart, and he enjoyed walking around taking in all the smells. He did see some other dogs and he was excited to see them, but it was not a negative reaction, he simply whined and wanted to say hi. He has a very sweet personality. He really is a gentle giant.”


The Heritage Humane Society’s visiting and adopting hours are 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday.
To learn more, visit, call 757-221-0150, or visit The Heritage Humane Society located at 430 Waller Mill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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