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A service dog foster story: Heidi

In February 2020, Beth Harvey, operations manager with Monongalia County Schools, and her two 

Photo of teenage girl sitting in toy car next to black dog.

children went to meet a litter of Hearts of Gold puppies and instantly fell in love. They decided they'd foster one of them. Her daughter likened it to doing their service to their country. 

Her husband, however, was apprehensive. Harvey was able to convince her husband to make the trip to see the puppies—and that was all it took.

On March 16, 2020 – three days after schools were closed due to COVID-19 – they were given 12-week-old Heidi Hope, a Labrador retriever-Great Pyrenees-poodle mix.

“She provided my teenagers a lot of entertainment and happy moments throughout the pandemic,” Harvey said.

Heidi easily formed a bond with the human members of the family; the other four-legged and furry pets in the house were another story. After an adjustment period, Heidi and the family’s older Great Pyrenees became friends. Because her cat doesn’t like dogs, she kept them separated. 

Participating in the community foster program helped Harvey become a better pet parent.

“I wish I would have done this prior to having my dog,” she said. “It’s a great program. They assist you in learning how to train the dog, which is wonderful. And it even works on my Great Pyrenees, who is very stubborn.”

Having had Heidi Hope for more than a year, the family's only concern was the day she'd eventually match with a veteran. 

“Even though you tell yourself you’re not going to get attached, you do, but you know that she is going to go and enhance the life of someone else,” Harvey said. “As noble as it sounds, were we sad and did we cry when it was time to let her go? Yes, but I know she’s going to serve a greater purpose. I think that eases the pain a little bit.”

Harvey is hopeful that the program will have more puppies so they can continue to foster. Hearts of Gold currently has dogs aged eight months to two years old that need community fosters. There will be a new litter of puppies this summer that will also need community fosters. 

“You can’t replace the one you had but maybe ease that transition,” she explained. 

Other fosters have already experienced just that. 

The Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will be sharing stories of local community fosters over the next two weeks. For more information on how to become a short-term or long-term foster, email

The Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design envisions a world sustainably fed, clothed and sheltered. To learn more about the Davis College, visit Keep up with the latest updates and news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following @WVUDavis.



CONTACT: Leah Smith  
Public Relations Specialist
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design  


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