When Warwickshire writer Ginny Davis saw a desperately neglected dog tied to a tree in Crete, she knew she would be returning from her holiday with more than some duty-free Raki and perfume.

Already a dog owner, she was moved by the plight of the unhappy animal.

"She was starving, frightened, no water, minimal food, nothing to sleep on and tied up 24 hours a day. She’d been left like this for a month.

"It was a bad situation. I did everything I could to try and alert people who might be able to help. The police and animal welfare."

It was agreed the distressed dog need to be saved. Ginny was on a deadline though and enlisted the help of an Englishwoman living in Crete to care for the dog and feed it after she returned to England and started arranging for it to be flown home last year.

It is an impulse many animal-loving British have when they are visiting foreign countries and see apparently abandoned and starving strays. Not all of them act on it like Ginny though.

"I knew there was a neglected, frightened dog and I thought I can either go home and feel sad or I can actually do something."

When she sent her husband Bill, who wasn't with her on the holiday, a text about her intentions, he thought she was joking.

"It was only when I got back that the awful real truth dawned. My family weren't excited about it because we had already got an old dog.

"They took the far more pragmatic approach and said 'We don't know anything about. We don't know what breed it is. It is presumably completely untrained and you are planning on bringing it here?'

"I just thought 'That's all totally irrelevant. There is a living, starving creature that needs help and I am the only person who is going to'.”

Ginny researched the breed and discovered it was a Greek Harehound.

"When you read the characteristics of a Greek Harehound they are stubborn, independent and when they get bored they start to do a thing called house breaking. I don't even know what that is but it didn't sound good."

Ginny Davis with Juno, who was recsued from neglect in Crete
Ginny Davis with Juno, who was recsued from neglect in Crete

She was also having to wrestle with Greek bureaucracy from afar as she planned to have the dog flown back to the UK and she would pick it up from the airport.

"I had to sign something called the Heraklion Truth Statement, which couldn't be more badly named because I had to say I was traveling on the flight from Heraklion, which I wasn't, so they would let it on the plane.

The form was all in Greek, and although Ginny used to work as a translator before re-training as a barrister, this was not a language she spoke.

"Suddenly I remembered that our local chip shop was run by Cypriots. It turned out they spoke Greek but they didn't read it. But they could at least tell me the bit that said name, address and phone number.

"I figured out that as long as they (the officials) are paid the money and the form was stamped, they don't actually care what's on it."

Happily, the dog, Juno, showed no ill effects from her neglect. Cleared by the vet, she has settled into her new home with the Davises.

"She is a very lovely dog and she hasn't been destructive at all. The family have been won over one by one and she and other dog get on really well. I think it is because Juno is a bitch and doesn't threaten his territory.

After successfully writing three comic monologues about her alter ego, harassed housewife Ruth Rich, Ginny used her adventures in international dog-rescue as the basis for a new play.

She is taking Hound Dog up to the Edinburgh Festival from this week and will be staging it there while she is appearing in two of her acclaimed solo shows – Double Booked and Something Fishy.

"Hound Dog is basically about this mother who is driven to do this despite all practical impossibilities and the fact her family don't want it. And then what happens when the dog does come home.

"It is really about taking a calm situation and throwing in a hand grenade. It could have been a new husband or an adopted baby. I did it with a dog."

Juno will traveling to Edinburgh too, as a four-legged advertising strategy.

“Juno’s going up to work. I think she’ll be brilliant because dogs do start conversations among other dog owners and dog lovers.”

Though Ginny has written and will be directing Hound Dog, she has taken a step back from performing, casting a local amateur actress as the mother. Two talented drama students will be playing the dogs.

The dogs in Ginny Davis's play Hound Dog
The dogs in Ginny Davis's play Hound Dog

Ginny's husband Bill, better known as His Honour Judge William Davis QC, The Recorder of Birmingham, finally gets a starring role as the father.

Though Bill has acted with the Loft Theatre in Leamington and the Talisman in Kenilworth, on previous trips to the festival he has only been able to had out flyers as Ginny's monologues have been one-woman affairs.

“He’s keen,” reveals Ginny. “He has always been the support staff before and taken over looking after the house we are in with the team of flyer-ers that we have, but this time he is in a play.

“He loves acting. It is not easy being directed by your wife, I don't think. He gets enough of that in real life. He’s a rubbish dancer, though. There is a dance at the end of the play – to Zorba The Greek – and everybody else gets it then, two days later, Bill does.”

Also joining them is their 17-year-son Ralph, who is bringing his own play, Daughters.

Writing and acting is clearly a passion for the whole family. Daughter Rosie, who played Pip in The Archers, is studying English and Drama at Leeds, though she won’t be making the month-long trip to Scotland.

Ralph, a pupil at Warwick School, is a member of the National Youth Theatre and has already worked with the RSC and in Ambridge Extra for radio.

“I think he has got a very promising career as an actor. He has had some fantastic roles,” enthuses Ginny. “But he is also like me, he can’t stop writing. I know that feeling, but I hope he is going to do it in a much bigger, more successful way.

“He has got good people coming to see him in Edinburgh – Bush Theatre. I would die to have Bush Theatre come and see my play. He got in touch with them and they said yes straight away. He’s quite young, 17, younger than most people who actually get as far as doing it. I’m impressed.”

Ralph Davis in his play Daughters
Ralph Davis in his play Daughters

Like Ginny, Ralph has taken domestic relationships as his inspiration for Daughters, but it is a much darker tale of dysfunction.

“I would describe it as unnerving and uncomfortable,” says Ginny. “It shows a very ugly aspect of family life.

“I am not surprised because I write as a middle-aged woman (she is 58). Ralph writes as a teenager. He loves Harold Pinter so I think there are influences of Pinter in it.

“He has got his own voice and his own style.”

Ginny feels she has found her niche in comedy, spinning amusing stories from her acute observations of the day-to-day.

“There is no money in theatre but I can’t help but do it now. I find it completely fulfilling. When you’re young you think ‘what is it in me I want to satisfy and give scope to?

“For me, making people laugh was very high on that list. I have always wanted to do that, ever since I sat at the back at school and giggled.”

• Double Booked and Something Fishy are both at The Pleasance Courtyard from Aug 1–24. More information is available at www.pleasance.co.uk

Hound Dog is at Sweet Grassmarket from Aug 2-11. Daughters is on at Space@surgeonshall from Aug 19-24. More details at the Edinburgh Fringe website .