Animal Shelter Invites Community To Foster Pets for Thanksgiving

They think nobody should be alone for the holidays, not even shelter animals.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner most people are making plans to visit family, or maybe you're having the whole crew over to your place to celebrate. Why not add a four-legged friend to your guest list?

The Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) shelter in Virginia is asking families in their community to consider fostering a pet over Thanksgiving weekend. Shelter director Christie Chipps Peters started the program four years ago when she was getting ready to take time off for the holiday.

Richmond Animal Care and Control Facebook

"I was feeling so sad about the dogs being alone in the shelter for Thanksgiving," Peters told The Dodo. "I thought, 'Wouldn't it be fun if people could invite them over for Thanksgiving dinner?'"

After putting out a call to the community, 35 animals were adopted for the weekend and were able to spend Thanksgiving with a loving family. Along with a delicious meal, the pets received love and plenty of attention. Some even joined their foster parents for a post-dinner nap.

The program has since tripled its participation and Peters is thankful to all of the families that have reached out to foster an animal. The shelter even added the incentive that if families decide to keep the pets, they'll waive the adoption fees.

"It's a fun twist to a traditional fostering situation for people who might've never done it before," Peters said. "The shelter provides the supplies you need, such as food, medication and a crate, and the following Wednesday after Thanksgiving the pet comes back. But a lot of the times, the pets never have to come back to the shelter. We try to make it really easy for people to say yes and keep that pet forever."

Miss Belle, one of the shelter's "foster fails" from last year's Thanksgiving foster program.Richmond Animal Care and Control Facebook

Families decide to foster pets for a variety of reasons, and Peters is always happy to hear peoples' stories.

"The emails we get from people are so great," Peters said. "They run from, 'I'm here in Virginia on work and my family's far away. I'd love to have a friend to cook with for Thanksgiving' to messages like, 'We just lost our Labrador of 13 years and we have an empty house now ... We'd love nothing more than to have a pet here for the holiday'."

The shelter interviews each foster candidate to match them with just the right pet, and Peters said that more than half of the pets usually end of getting adopted, either by the foster family or someone who knows them. Peters is sending out a few senior animals this year in hopes they'll find their furr-ever homes, or, as Peters says, "We'll always support a 'foster fail'."

Richmond Animal Care and Control Facebook

If you're in the Richmond, VA area and would like to foster a pet for Thanksgiving, you can contact Christie Chipps Peters: The shelter is asking families to take the pets from 11/24-12/4. Or, consider signing up to foster an animal at your local animal shelter.

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