This article was featured in WYDaily on 3/17/23.
The Heritage Humane Society is asking the community it serves for help. It is overloaded with dogs. Each one of them is wishing to find their forever home or at least for the time being, be fostered or picked up for a Fido Field Trip. The community’s largest animal shelter is doing its job of keeping homeless pets off the streets, however, finding new, loving homes for them is not happening fast enough. Here’s how you can help whether it is adopting, becoming a life-changing foster, or adding a buddy to your next walk around town.

Ready for their fur-ever homes

This week’s spotlighted pups are just a few of the more than 65 dogs currently within the shelter’s care who wake up everyday hoping it’s their day to be adopted.
Chester. This one-year-old hound mix loves a good snuggle fest after playing. He was originally adopted from The Heritage Humane Society as a puppy, however, through no fault of his own, returned when his owner didn’t have the time to properly train him. He is friendly with adults, children, and familiar dogs. Chester has lots of puppy love to give and is crate trained and potty trained. He will thrive by continuing to learn and to stay busy with a new family.
Chester is currently getting a well-deserved break from shelter life and is in a foster home. He is easily available by appointment. His foster family shares,
“Chester has settled in and is loving life. I can’t say the same for our cat who refuses to be in a room with him. I don’t think it’s because he’s not a good fit for a house with other pets but rather my cat who is just a jerk and wants to be an only child. He is such a puppy though so he is playful, energetic, and full of life. He’s still working on being house-trained but is quickly learning to follow commands and instructions. Such a sweetie!”

Evie. This well-mannered, engaging girl is an eight-year-old hound mix. Evie is currently at the shelter and available for meet and greets. During a much-needed break from the shelter, Evie enjoyed opening up to her foster mom who so helpfully shared,
“Evie is an exceptional lady that would love to find her forever home! She is incredibly sweet, loving, and well-behaved. I’ve only had her for a little over a week and every day she comes out of her shell a little more. Adorable little chortles and sounds when I’m preparing her dinner and she’s ready for it. When she realizes we’re about to go on an adventure and starts happy prancing, so cute. This beautiful lady has the most amazing ears and a side eye to beat all other side eyes (in the kindest and funniest way!)
She is a mature lady and knows what she needs from moment to moment. I work from home and most of the time she is curled up on her bed next to my desk, patiently waiting for me to finish up so we can go for a nice walk. If I end up working late, she very cutely reminds me to have some work-life balance and get outside for some fresh air. Sometimes she takes some time to herself and will nap in the other room white I’m working, always by the sliding glass door so she can watch what’s going on outside.
She is completely housebroken, not at all food or toy aggressive, and just a wonderful girl. She is exceptional in the car, too. From what I can tell, she definitely prefers women over men, but warms up quickly to males that give her a few minutes (and maybe treats) to get comfy. She doesn’t like other dogs, and from afar, I’m guessing she would rather not have cats around either. I haven’t been around any small children to see how she would be, but she warmed up very quickly to my best friend’s 14-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy.”

Dolly. This nine-year-old German Shepherd mix is a sweetheart who loves the quiet life. Dolly loves to go for walks, knows basic commands, and enjoys playing keep away with a ball. She is used to being an only child. Dolly was well cared for by her previous owner and his veterinarian. Dolly is available now at the shelter. Her recent foster family shared,
“We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Dolly. We had her for three-and-a-half days. She is such a sweet girl. She settled in just fine here and had a full run of the house without issue and is very well house-trained. She was quite calm and playful (likes to play chase) by the first night. She likes tennis balls and squeaky toys. She loves being outside and enjoys walks in the woods. We made sure to walk her away from other dogs as that does get her excited. She does very well on a leash as long as you ‘tell’ her to not pull (keep her on a short leash until she does). She ate quite well. She slept fine with us and was on our bed for most of the night during the first night. By the last night, she was content to be on her bed at the foot of our bed. She is sensitive to loud noises (e.g., TV) and will run around (we think) to try to figure out where it is coming from. We will definitely foster her again but hope she finds her forever home before we get a chance!”

Radar. Guess who definitely does not look his age? Meet Radar, a 17-year-old American pit bull and terrier mix. This dapper gentleman is all about living up his golden years in style. He is calm and sweet, easy to walk on a leash, and does not appear to react to other dogs and cats.
Radar is available for adoption and currently enjoying a shelter break at his foster’s home, who says,
“Radar is a very loving, docile senior citizen. He’s a medium sized mixed breed, perhaps a pit bull/hound mix. He’s 100% housebroken, and loves his walks! He wags his tail at everyone, and I have yet to hear him bark. We have left Radar alone for several hours and he just enjoys his bones and sleeps. There’s nothing not to love about this sweet boy.”

Saluda. This fun-loving girl arrived as a stray. She is likely a four-year-old American pit bull and terrier mix. She is energetic and friendly with strangers. Saluda is a social butterfly and loves being with other dogs at the shelter’s playgroups.
Currently in a foster home, but ready for adoption, Saluda’s foster family shares,
“Saluda is a good dog! She obeys basic commands, like sit and lay down. She is house trained. She is very loving and attentive. Unfortunately, our family dog seems to not enjoy Saluda’s attention or affectionate play. However, our family members all love her. She loves to run in the backyard, but also walks well on the leash. All in all, Saluda is a great family dog.”

Become a life-changing foster

The Heritage Humane Society, like shelters everywhere, relies heavily on volunteers to include fosters. Fosters have various reasons for temporarily providing a loving home for shelter animals. Some wish they could have pets, but work travel keeps them from being able to do so. Others enjoy helping provide much-needed shelter breaks for dogs like Chester, Saluda, and Radar. Some fosters enjoy helping a senior pet rest in a quiet home rather than a noisy shelter. Others enjoy the thrill of preparing pets for their forever homes such as teaching manners and proper socialization. With the start of kitten season, others enjoy caring for pregnant or nursing cats, or even being trained to bottle feed orphaned neonatal kittens.
Every foster has a different motivation, however, the common goal is to help care for pets in need at the community’s largest animal shelter.
The Heritage Humane Society is always looking for new foster volunteers. Those who are interested can learn more online about becoming a foster. From there, they can submit an application and a member of the shelter staff will contact them. Fosters receiving training and ongoing support from the shelter team.
Fosters provide a safe home and lots of love. The shelter provides everything else including food, toys, blankets, bedding, and medical care. Some pets only need a few days of fostering while others need weeks and months. It is up to the individual foster’s desired level of commitment.
“Fosters are a critical support for caring for the shelter’s homeless pets and we are so grateful for them here at The Heritage Humane Society,” shares Kimberly Laska, Executive Director of The Heritage Humane Society. “In addition to providing a loving safe home, they provide us with invaluable feedback about each pet they care for because they get to be with them in an open environment versus a shelter, and this helps our team share more about the pets with potential adopters.”

Fido Field Trips

For those who are looking to give a shelter dog a break for a few hours, The Heritage Humane Society offers Fido Field Trips. From walks around Colonial Williamsburg, playing ball in a field, going for a run, to swimming at nearby beaches, the shelter always has pups who would love a field trip and some one-on-one time. Fido Field Trips are a part of the volunteer program at the shelter.


Getting started

The Heritage Humane Society has nearly 200 catsdogs, and small pets currently in their care. These featured pups and the other adoptable pets are available during The Heritage Humane Society’s visiting and adopting hours from 12 to 4:30 p.m., Tues. through Sun.
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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