As stressful as the holiday season can be, most of us are able to find our own little pocket of joy in it. For some of us, we look forward to spending an entire day with family we never see and for others, it can be getting to see that one distant cousin we click with. Or maybe you forgo tradition and host a Friendsgiving celebration with all your closest pals. Either way, you look at it, it’s rare for somebody to spend the holidays alone — that is, unless you’re a shelter pet. Every year, six to eight million animals enter U.S. shelters, but only three to four million get adopted. Although shelter animals have humans to take them on walks and maybe play with them for a few minutes ago, at the end of the day, they don’t have a human to snuggle up to at night. When the holidays roll around, we imagine that shelters have even fewer volunteers to interact with the animals. But one shelter found the best way to make sure that their dogs wouldn’t be alone for the holidays.

Christie Chipps Peters, Director of Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) was thinking about how sad it was that the dogs under her care would have to spend the holidays alone when she had a brilliant idea — what if, for one day, the dogs could spend one of the most family-oriented days with a family? So, she worked with her staff to release a promotion asking the families in the community to become a holiday foster for a shelter dog.  Once a family was approved for the holiday foster program, RACC provided food and instructions on how to give the dog the very best holiday experience based on their personality.

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According to Animal Farm Foundation, 20 of the 32 dogs who were fostered for Thanksgiving were either adopted or kept as fosters.

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Although the amount of dogs adopted was small, the impact the program was so popular that RACC is doing it again this year!

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According to Animal Farm Foundation, “if you’re a pet lover and would love to bring invite a dog (or a cat) over for Thanksgiving dinner, then contact your local shelter and tell them about this idea.” Who knows, you might find a brand new family member!

If you’re considering welcoming an animal into your life, always adopt and never shop. To learn more about what it means to foster a pet, read Why Fostering Dogs and Cats is So Important and How You Can Get Involved!

All image source: Richmond Animal Care and Control/Facebook

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