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Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays

December 2nd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Open Your Heart and Home to a Shelter Animal This Holiday Season

Open Your Heart and Home to a Shelter Animal This Holiday Season

Participate in Petfinder’s First-Ever Foster a Lonely Pet Program

Inspired by the book A Dog Named Christmas, by Greg Kincaid, Petfinder has introduced the Foster a Lonely Pet program.

A Dog Named Christmas is about a developmentally challenged young man who, in spite of objections from his father, decides to foster a dog from a local animal shelter during the holidays.  His relationship with the dog, a yellow Labrador Retriever he names Christmas, influences others in the community to open their hearts and homes to animals in need.  And his bond with Christmas changes perceptions that others have about him and his capabilities.

Motivated by this inspiring story, Petfinder is working with a network of thousands of shelters and rescue groups across the United States to give families an opportunity to share their homes with an adoptable dog or cat during this holiday season.

Fostering a shelter animal for the holidays is a great idea for so many reasons.

  • It could give the dog or cat a chance to spend the holidays in a loving home during the holidays instead of in a crate at the shelter.  Animal shelters are often overflowing and understaffed during the holidays.
  • It could provide a break for someone, like my friend Valerie with Animal Friends Society (a program participant), who is currently fostering a number of animals.
  • If you are thinking of adopting a dog or cat, fostering one for the holidays could provide you with a chance to see how a pet will fit with your family and lifestyle.
  • It is a good deed, and those are just worth doing anytime, but especially during the holiday season.

Fostering an animal through the Foster a Lonely Pet program is not a forever commitment.  You may choose to provide a loving and safe environment for a lonely animal for a few days or for the entire holiday season through the New Year.

Lucy Still Loves Her Foster Mom

Lucy Still Loves Her Foster Mom

Go to Petfinder.com to locate a shelter or rescue organization in your local area and celebrate the holidays in the company of an animal who needs you.

Incidentally, the aforementioned Valerie was our Lucy’s foster mom before we brought Lucy to her forever home.  Lucy still remembers Valerie and has plenty of love for her former foster mom whenever we see her.  So, even though fostering a shelter animal is not necessarily a permanent commitment, it is certainly possible to build a permanent bond with an animal through fostering.

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Categories: Dogs in the News
  1. December 5th, 2009 at 06:57 | #1

    I have a hard time with this post. I know it means well. the reason i have a hard time is I’d never be able to let the pet go back to the shelter! I don’t believe pets know holidays like we do. Fostering a pet for the holidays and until finding a forever home, may be a better idea. sigh. I wish i could foster. my current situation does not allow me. :(
    Wild Dingo´s last blog ..French Friday My ComLuv Profile

  2. Suzanne
    December 5th, 2009 at 12:36 | #2

    @Wild Dingo
    I know that it would be difficult to give the pet up after fostering him or her, and I’ve known several foster pet parents who became forever parents for just that reason. :)

    And I agree that animals don’t know the holidays from any other day of the year. But I think this program is really more about seeking to alleviate some of the burden on shelters, which tend to be overpopulated and understaffed during the holiday season as people get pets they decide they don’t want or can’t keep, and as shelter volunteers take breaks from volunteering.

    I think it is also an effort to get more people involved in fostering. More and more people support no-kill shelters in theory. That is, they agree that they would rather see strays and unwanted animals sheltered and then adopted as opposed to euthanized.

    But many people may not make the connection between “no-kill” and overpopulation in shelters. These animals need to be housed and cared for if they are not going to be euthanized, and no-kill shelters really do depend on fostering for a lot of the care the animals receive between the time they are turned over to the shelter and the time they are adopted (which, for some animals, may be years).

    So, while this program encourages people to get involved in fostering on a temporary basis through the holidays, I do think one of the larger (if unstated) goals is to encourage some of these temporary first-time foster parents to consider fostering throughout the year.

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