Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it is a time to celebrate with family all that we are thankful for. One shelter is determined to have all their shelter dogs and cats in homes for Thanksgiving by asking people to invite them to dinner.
The holidays are time to spend with friends and family, and no one should have to spend them alone- especially shelter pets. At least this is what an animal shelter in Richmond, Virginia thinks. Christie Chipps Peters, shelter director of Richmond Animal Care & Control (RACC), had a revelation four years ago around the holidays.
She tells The Dodo, “I was feeling so sad about the dogs being alone in the shelter for Thanksgiving. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if people could invite them over for Thanksgiving dinner?”
That is how the tradition started and it is entering the fourth year. Peters started by asking the public to open their homes to a special fur guest for the holidays, and people loved it. The pets enjoyed a special meal and then snuggled up on the coach with the family for a nap. The adorable shelter animals worked their way into the hearts of the foster families, with many being adopted.
“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.”
Each year more and more people apply to foster one of the homeless pets. The program has been a great success. The shelter posted the plea this year with an adorable dog holding a food bowl with the caption, “Can I come to Thanksgiving dinner at your house? Please?”.
The shelter provides everything you will need to care for the pet, so all you need to give is love and a extra plate at the table. “We will provide food/crate anything you need-you provide the love (and maybe a ham biscuit from dinner)!”
Peters explains, “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.” If a foster family decides to adopt the shelter animal, the adoption fee is waived.
There are a few senior pets that the shelter would love to find a forever home for the holidays. “Elton is my favorite old little man,” states Peters. “He’s a 9-year-old pit bull who would love to find his forever home. And then there’s Taco, my favorite of the cats. He came in ear-tipped, which means he was feral, but then he decided he didn’t want to be feral anymore. He’s a huge fluffy guy and would make a great Thanksgiving friend.”
Anyone interested that is not traveling over the holidays and willing to take the shelter animal in their home for 7-10 days, can apply by emailing Peters at Christie.Peters@Richmondgov.com. They are in most need of homes with no other pets.
What a great way to help shelter animals and give them something extra to be thankful for. Hopefully, this tradition will start in shelters all across the country. Have the best holiday ever by welcoming a homeless dog or cat into your family.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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