Each night, Zoe had a job to do.
Her foster family included two young boys, and although she lived with them only three weeks, the 160 pound Newfoundland dog took her role in the household seriously.
"She would wander into my boys' room and look them over as if to say goodnight," said foster mom, Sarah. "And as soon as she got up, she would run in to check on them."
Zoe was rescued in northern Ontario after a volunteer with Newf Friends Newfoundland Dog Rescue heard about her situation. But, despite the efforts of some volunteers, several months passed before Zoe was surrendered.
"We were aware there was a Newf in need and had extended the offer to help, but the family didn't follow up," said Sandra, founder of Newf Friends.
Eventually she was surrendered. When that happened, Sandra looked to her volunteers to help transport Zoe to southern Ontario.
"Doing transports is extremely time consuming, trying to sort out who's going to meet the dog, finding volunteers who are all available on the same day," she said. "If someone's late it may throw the transport off. It's one of the more challenging aspects of the process."
Zoe's journey was certainly a challenge. It took five people more than 12 hours to transport Zoe to her final foster home.
When she embarked on her journey, Zoe was shy, suffered skin issues and had an ear infection. But it wasn't difficult to see, despite the hardship she'd faced and her haggard appearance, Zoe was a gentle soul.
After half a day on the road with different Newf Friends volunteers, Zoe arrived in southern Ontario and met Sarah for the first time.
"My first impression was she was pretty reserved, but still as sweet as they come," said Sarah, who works at an animal shelter and regularly fosters dogs and cats.
Socialization began right away. First stop? An elementary school.
"After we dropped the boys off at school, she was fine. She just leaned on us and watched through the fence," she said. "You could tell she was a little out of her comfort zone but nothing negative."
Next up, a visit to some local pet stores. Zoe couldn't walk in the door at first - she was petrified of a bird squawking inside. So they stood outside and absorbed the environment.
But the big test was Halloween.
"She was the most well-behaved dog you'd ever meet in your life," said Sarah, who has three cats and two dogs of her own. "Once we did the trick-or-treating she soared."
Through three weeks of fostering, Sarah took Zoe everywhere with her. And when it was finally time to say goodbye, the timid Newfoundland had gained confidence and healed.
"I took her to the pet stores a couple weeks later and she walked right in the door. It shows we just needed to show her the world," she said.
While letting go of Zoe was particularly difficult, Sarah said she has to think about why she fosters.
"I always remind myself it's not about me. It's about the animals," she said. "I'd rather feel sad and help, than not do anything."
Zoe joined her forever family from Quebec in late November.