foster dogs, fostering, hound dogs, Humane Society of Shenandoah County

Get the Foster Party Started

It’s quite the dog party at my foster cottage. The last month with the hound dogs has been relatively quiet. Other than the occasional concert, they are a pretty quiet pair. Lots of sleeping, casing the joint for treats, and counter-surfing, but no real rough-housing.

Enter Gina, our party girl. She has definitely upped the energy level here.

Rufus is thrilled to have a playmate. The two have regular play sessions all day long – chasing, wrestling, rolling, and lots of keep away with a toy (but no tug, Gina doesn’t seem to understand tug, she just gives the toy up). For a dog who is supposed to be seven, Rufus has some serious game.

Gina arrived last Saturday and after a teary good-bye with the family she’s been with since they rescued her last December, she stayed in the future puppy room in the foster cottage.

She was anxious and understandably confused, barking at me and Nick, and dodging my hand when I tried to come in and put a leash on her. We left her alone, knowing she needed a shut-down of sorts, giving her food, water, and tossing her treats each time we checked on her.

The room is slated to be gutted later this spring, so we figured if she tore anything up, she’d only be helping us, but by morning she’d only chewed a little at a piece of plywood covering a door that opens to the driveway but isn’t functional. She was quiet, only barking if she heard us outside.

She was still anxious and evasive, but let me leash her for a short walk outside. We gave her the quietest day possible. I sat with her reading, took her for short walks around our back field, and by evening she was more settled, enjoying some time in the playyard with Nick and I.

On Monday she met the hound dogs and brightened up even more. She’s definitely a dog who’d love to have a friend (or ten).

It’s been five days now, and she has warmed up a little more each day. Now, I’d say she’s bordering on aggressively friendly – pushing me with her nose for pets when I’m writing too long and ignoring her, assuming the play position (downward dog) in front of both Rufus and Ladybug again and again, and even barking at the cows we pass on our walk and offering to play.

The family who has fostered her for the last three months left me with a bag of toys/treats for Gina, an enormous bed, and their story. I was busy with the transition and didn’t have time to look over all the paperwork until this morning. I knew some of it, but I read over her history included with her medical records and the notes on her behavior, schedule, and likes/dislikes discovered in the almost four months she spent with the amazing family who not only rescued her, but have become her strongest advocates.

Gina was surrendered by her owner to Saving Webster Dogs, a rescue shelter in West Virginia, when she was less than a year old. If she’d been taken to the county pound, she would have been euthanized that day.

[And here I have to interject to explain that the pound is also considered a 3-day kill shelter, which means that the dogs who are picked up as strays are held for three days and if not claimed are destroyed, and owner surrenders are killed on intake. This may sound horrific, but it goes on all over the rural south. If you’d like to learn more, visit Who Will Let the Dogs Out, the national nonprofit I co-founded to raise awareness and resources for homeless dogs and the heroes who fight for them.]

SWD is an outdoor shelter and Gina lived there from November 2021 until December 2022, the better part of her puppyhood. For part of her stay, she was kenneled with a dog named Chip. Their chainlink enclosure was in the woods, had one igloo dog house, and no roof. She was fed/watered once a day by a dedicated woman who is overwhelmed by the immense need in the county and is single-handedly trying to help.

This past fall, when her foster family met her, she was alone in her kennel (Chip had gone to foster and eventual adoption). They noticed that she did all of her pottying behind the igloo dog house, keeping herself housebroken for the 13 months she was there (she was completely housebroken when they brought her home and has had no accidents here either). She also kept herself pretty clean for a dog living outside in dirt.

The family looked in vain for someone to foster her or pull her for rescue, but when none turned up they brought her to their Eldersburg, MD home last December and made it work. With four small dogs of their own, it wasn’t easy, but they nurtured Gina, treating her for Lymes, Anaplasmosis, and tapeworm. They gave her all the attention they could, but it was a challenging situation as their small dogs were aggressive towards Gina, who was a much too big (and eager) playmate. They were clearly heartbroken when they dropped Gina off here, but keeping her wasn’t workable. They left us with bags of treats and toys, food, supplements, a giant bed, and even a sound machine to help her sleep, and the words, “Anyone who adopts Gina will be the luckiest person on earth.”

While they couldn’t keep her, they most certainly saved her. Now, we will do our part to try to find her forever family.

Only five days in, I can tell this is one special dog. If you want to see more of her in action, especially the full-on play sessions with Rufus and her adventures out and about (Gina loves field trips and going anywhere in the car!), be sure to join the Another Good Dog Facebook group, where I will share pictures, videos, and the occasional live.

Mostly, I hope you’ll join me in getting this darling dog home. If you or anyone you know is looking for a new family member – especially one that is up for adventures or you need a playmate for your playful dog, the Humane Society of Shenandoah County will be handling her adoption applications, but please feel free to reach out to me with questions.

Until Each One Has a Home,


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at

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