Thanksgiving is a time to be surrounded by friends and family while enjoying delicious food. However, for many shelter dogs, it’s just another uneventful day. It’s not fair that so many dogs need to spend holidays like this alone, so Richmond Animal Care & Control (RACC) decided to do something about it. Four years ago, they reached out to the community to find shelter dogs a foster home for Thanksgiving.
During the first year, Christie Chipps Peters, the shelter director, announced this special Thanksgiving event. Before she knew it, 35 animals had already found a loving home to celebrate Thanksgiving in. They get a delicious meal and they all get plenty of love on this special day.
“People who’ve never considered fostering before reached out to us, so excited to host one of our animals,” Peters said. “More than half of the animals that year were adopted, either by the family themselves or someone who met them through the family.”
If the family chooses to adopt the dog that they’ve hosted for Thanksgiving, the shelter waives the adoption fee for them. Lots of these families have happily adopted their foster dogs, allowing them to have a forever family for the rest of the holiday season.
A Yearly Tradition
This is the 4th year that RACC has done this Thanksgiving tradition, and it is likely to continue for years to come. The number of animals that have found homes for the holidays has just about tripled since the first year! More and more animals are having happy holidays thanks to kind foster families.
“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 [dog] comes back. But a lot of the times, the [dogs] never have to come back to the shelter.”
This year, the shelter is pairing animals with families from November 18th to the 21st. That way, every animal will be matched with the perfect family by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Once a dog finds a family, a note is posted on their kennel at the shelter: “I’m on Thanksgiving holiday! Check out my other friends that still need a foster!”
Many people have sent heartwarming emails to the shelter about how much they appreciate this event. Not only do these dinners help make dogs happier, but sometimes the dogs help make Thanksgiving more exciting for humans as well.
If you are looking to host a dog for Thanksgiving this year or in any of the years to come, please reach out to RACC. No dog deserves to be alone on Thanksgiving, so every kind foster parent can make a difference.
Not in the Richmond area? Click here to see a list of other shelters around the U.S. that have participated in holiday foster programs in previous years – check with them to see if they’re running the program this year!
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