This article was featured in WYDaily on 12/16/22.
As ads fill our screens and the news touts shoppers’ purchases and spending, The Heritage Humane Society asks, “please adopt, don’t shop.” If considering a furry friend teeming with unconditional love to join your home for the holiday season, Greater Williamsburg has 83 homeless pets hoping the holiday magic includes a home for them. With more than 200 pets in their care, even more are hoping to spend this holiday in a foster home until they too can join the ranks of “available for adoption.”
Even if adopting isn’t a possibility right now, but you’d like to help the overcrowded shelter particularly with the high volume of dogs currently there. The Heritage Humane Society is asking community members to consider the joys of being a dog foster even for as little as one week, which gives a homeless dog a much-needed break for shelter life.

Success Story for Dora

In last week’s Dec. 9 Furry Friends Feature, Dora the Explorer was one of 12 homeless shelter dogs featured. Since then, Dora found her forever home, and two others spotlighted, Athena and Loki, found a permanent home and foster home, respectively.
Every homeless pet at the shelter has a story. For Dora, she came in as a stray on Oct. 23. She was found living in the woods on her own and evaded capture for close to a month. The shelter team didn’t know how long she spent living without human companionship, and when she arrived, it was clear that Dora hadn’t been around people for a long time. She made incredible progress with the staff at the shelter and began to build trust in humans. Dora’s biggest requirement is that her new family must have another confident dog to help teach her the ropes.

Dora’s story resonated with the Celeste-Fleehart family and they were curious to meet her. They came to The Heritage Humane Society on last Fri., Dec. 9, and instantly fell in love with the sweet, shy girl. The next day, Dec. 10, was Gotcha Day for Dora. They brought in their dog, Donny, the pups hit it off, and Dora headed home with her new family that day.
Dora with her new family on her Gotcha Day.
“Dora is doing really well! A few years ago, I rescued a mixed breed dog found on the side of the road in North Carolina, who is now our Donny, so we felt prepared for the responsibility that comes with rescuing a dog that has lived outside,” said Madeline Celeste.
“’We were ready to have to earn Dora’s love, no matter how long it took. I’m elated to share that she’s acclimating nicely and seems to feel at home. She’s responding to house rules and we’re starting to see more of her puppy-like playfulness. Dora is the dog we rescued because of the care of Emily and her team at The Heritage Humane Society. We are so lucky Emily took the time with Dora, so she’d trust us as quickly as she has. Donny and Dora are best friends- she’s going to have a great life.”


Dora’s wishes for her shelter friends

The Heritage Humane Society is feeling the hustle and bustle of the season, just in the form of overwhelming dogs needing to be adopted or even fostered.
As the shelter is out of room for dogs, Dora’s Christmas wish is for her former shelter pup friends to find their perfect – or foster – match with human companions. Meet six of her buddies:
Niyah. The Heritage Humane Society team affectionately calls Niyah their “little warthog” because she tends to grunt and grumble like a warthog. You will have flashbacks to Pumbaa in the Lion King when you hear her adorable snorts. This three-year-old Staffordshire Terrier mix is the perfect mixture of energy and laziness. She loves to play and romp around, but will then gladly take a long afternoon nap by your side. She has done well in doggy playgroups at the shelter and has lived with other dogs before. Niyah has been in the shelter’s care for almost five months.
Gemma. Lovingly nicknamed “Gemma Bemma,” this lovely lady is an eight-year-old Pit Bull Terrier mix. She’s a looker with her beautiful coat of black and white fur. Gemma is as sweet as can be, quite smart, and not afraid to use her heart-melting superpowers on you. She’s already has everyone at The Heritage Humane Society wrapped around her toes. Gemma is at the wonderful phase in a dog’s life where she is young enough to play and is always up for a walk, but she also loves the leisurely life of chilling at home. She also enjoys the company of other dogs. This sweet girl had to sadly be surrendered four months ago because her owner became ill and could no longer care for her.


Alice. Fall down the rabbit hole and come meet wonderful Alice. This five-year-old brindle beauty is all about the love. A good snuggle is all this gal wants. She is a quiet young lady and the gentlest treat-taker you’ll ever meet. She loves toys and really enjoys a good game of tug. Alice is a pint-size pit mix. Such a good girl, she’s just patiently waiting for her forever family.


Queen. Is your kingdom lacking a queen? Need a bit of regal flair in your home? Look no further. Her royal highness, Queen, is ready to have an audience with you. She is a four-year-old American Pitbull Terrier mix with a very loving and cuddly personality. Queen adores people and has lived with another dog before. This girl is pure sunshine wrapped up in a cute canine package. Give her a little love and she will show off her beautiful smile and adorable wiggle. She’s been at the shelter for almost two months and is ready to rule over a different kingdom. Will you help find Her Majesty a home for the holidays?


Roman. This distinguished gentleman already knows the ropes of being the perfect pooch. Roman is pretty laid back but still enjoys his leisurely walks and sometimes playing with another friendly dog. This handsome hunk has a chill vibe and is just waiting for someone to scoop him up after being in shelter care for four months.


Moses. Meet Moses, the shelter’s longest current resident at almost seven months here. This three-year-old American Pitbull Terrier mix is seeking a home preferably without other furry friends. You see, he’s a bit of a male diva and he tends to want all eyes on him. Can you blame him? He is pretty stunning to look at with his perfect block-shaped head and beautiful brown eyes. Need an exercise partner? A dog to make sure all the food crumbs are picked up? One to show off all the tricks he already knows? Moses is your man!


There are many dogscats, and small pets at The Heritage Humane Society whose holiday wish is to be adopted.
Located at 430 Waller Mill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, The Heritage Humane Society’s adoption viewing hours are from 12 to 4:30 p.m. daily except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when it closes at 3 p.m. The shelter is completely close on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Holiday scratchers where everyone is a winner

During the holiday season while supplies last, new adopters will also receive a special Heritage Humane Society holiday scratcher. When they scratch it off, a shopping discount will be revealed for any purchase they make the day of adoption at the ReTAIL Store.

Fosters needed…even “unicorn” fosters

Unable to adopt at this time? There are other ways you can help. Foster volunteers are desperately needed to help the homeless pets at The Heritage Humane Society. With 52 homeless dogs currently within the shelter’s care there is an immediate need for fosters for an overwhelming number of dogs in particular. There are many pups who need a special someone to help them, snuggle them, love on them, and feed them, as they wait for their next chapters to begin.
There is always a need for “unicorn” fosters, too. These pet-lovers don’t have other dogs, or cats, or small children in their home. Perhaps it is someone who travels often so owning pets isn’t practical, but could foster for a few days at a time.
“We’d love to find foster homes for the holidays for our live longer residents,” asks Tracy Magro, Animal Care & Pathways Manager at The Heritage Humane Society. “This improves the quality of life for these dogs, while also giving our dedicated Pathways Team invaluable information about the kind of home that would be best for each pet. Even a few days in a home can dramatically improve a dog’s path.
Other ways of support include shopping for your favorite furry friends and pet lovers at the shelter’s the ReTAIL Store, purchasing a bow for the community Holiday Fur Treedonating online, or gifting the shelter with supplies from its wish list.
To learn more, visit or call 757-221-0150.

Sponsored content by

Be Kind to them All – Love them All – Save them All.



Training Classes