Dogs, cats spend holidays with foster families in Shenandoah Valley

November 29, 2021
Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center is trying to find foster homes for their shelter dogs over the holidays. One of their shelter dogs, Antique, is spending Thanksgiving with Diane McIntyre who fosters and cares for old dogs and hospice dogs from animal shelters in the northwest region of Virginia.


One dog that will be spending the holidays in a warm, loving home is Antique.

The founder of the Highland County Humane Society sent a picture of Antique to Diane McIntyre who often fosters old dogs and hospice dogs and McIntyre then reached out to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center who is sheltering the dog to give her a temporary home.

 “Antique is certainly as her name implies,” said McIntyre. “Old. God only knows her story but she is very underweight, has some renal issues and low vision. Dogs like her don’t fare well in a shelter setting. Their health problems tend to multiply each day.”

Antique was picked up a stray, so she had to be held at the shelter for a period of time to see if an owner came forward. 

“Obviously, one did not,” said McIntyre. “So she was moved from the stray list to the adoptable list. But face it, no one wants an old broken down dog. So, I will take her for a few weeks, get some weight on her, get her groomed and perhaps my friend Daphne will adopt her.” 

Her friend rescues old elkhounds, even hospice elkhounds, so maybe Antique will find a soft spot, McIntyre said. Even if her friend can’t take Antique, she has a home with McIntyre for as long as necessary, she said. 

“I make that promise to my fosters. All of them, and they are legion. Some found homes, some were transferred, and some died. But all of them were loved every day under this roof.”

McIntyre has fostered for Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center and fosters for other groups in the Northwest region of Virginia as well. She said she doesn’t think most people understand how difficult it is to run a shelter over the holidays. 

“If more people would step up to give a shelter animal a break from the noise, confusion and boredom, those animals might have a better chance to find a new home because they will show better,” said McIntyre. “A relaxed happy dog is infinitely more adoptable than a snarling anxious one. Cats, too.”

Shelter staff need a break, too, she said. Fewer animals gives them the time to enjoy the holidays with their families. 

“Everyone benefits,” said McIntyre. “Holiday homes for the homeless.” 

More:SAW’s desperate push to save its local animal shelter’s legacy — before it’s too late

Fostering a furry friend for the holidays

Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center is looking for families to foster a furry guest for the holidays. 

The shelter is most in need of fosters without other pets, but their residents change daily, so they have someone for everyone. 

Considering adopting? This also is the perfect time to exercise a trial run, the shelter said.

They are looking for families who will be home for the holidays and willing to foster a dog or cat now through Dec. 3. Email manager Erin Wiles at [email protected] to get the process started.

“They provide the supplies (as available),” the shelter said. “You provide the love.”

Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center is the municipal animal shelter for Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County.

An open admission shelter that takes in all stray, abandoned and owner surrendered animals, the staff strive to improve the lives of people and pets in our community. They offer community-minded programs such as low-cost spay/neuter, pet food assistance and pet rehoming services, the website reads. To contact them, call 540-943-5142 or email [email protected] The shelter is located on 1001 Mt. Torrey Road in Lyndhurst.

Monique Calello (she/her) is The News Leader’s health reporter. You can reach her at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @moniquecalello.

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