As someone who loves to write about the Frederick County Division of Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center, I am always happy to find someone with a similar enthusiasm. Animal sheltering is an experience like no other. Combining that experience alongside personalities and backstories and you have a recipe for a literary work of art. Hearing the words “I could write a book” is not uncommon from a staff or volunteers who help a family reunite with their beloved pet or a foster care provider who reflects upon the animal they worked with to make adoptable. Once upon a time, one of those animals had been Jess.

Jess was a beautiful Siberian husky-German shepherd mix who started her journey to the shelter in April 2011. We placed her in foster care to build up her weight and work on behavior. Our shelter’s foster care program had at that time — and still has this many years later — the most selfless volunteers in our county. Fostering animals requires dedication, skill and uncompromising patience to take less-than-adoptable animals and turn them into prospective pets. Foster care animals are often sought after because of the one-on-one attention they receive and the information available from their foster family.

Jess’s foster mom, Jenni, kept us up-to-date on Jess’s progress via a series of writings I affectionately referred to as “Adventures with Jess.” In 2012, Jenni sent me an email stating “Jess … now knows ‘Sit’ and will do so most of the time. I’ve taught her to play ‘fetch’ in the exercise pen at Animal Control — she LOVES this and will even bring the ball back and drop it in your vicinity. A retrieving Husky is a bit of a novelty! (OK, I’m not sure I can claim that I actually trained her to do this but I kept throwing the ball and one day she fetched it!)”

Jenni Williams recently published a book “Rescued. Adventures with Down and Out Dogs.” The book features experiences with Jess, Hank, Sam, and other Frederick County shelter dogs and was written to encourage others to consider fostering. We are always looking for foster care providers who can help animals that end up at the shelter through no fault of their own.

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