If you live in the state of Virginia and you’re looking to do something special for the Thanksgiving week, consider fostering a pet for the holiday so they can enjoy themselves as well. The Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) has created its annual “Thanksgiving Foster” program, which gives people a chance to invite a foster pet into their homes for Thanksgiving.
The program is in its 5th year, and RACC is hoping for a “record number of animals spend the holiday out of the shelter.” Last year they had 94 animals who were fostered for Thanksgiving, and this year, the organization is hoping that they’ll be able to “empty the shelter.”
If you’re interested, it’s very easy to partake in the program.
As the RACC explains on their Facebook page, “You host a RACC pet (dog or cat) for the Thanksgiving Holiday, shower them with love and snuggles and try to find them a forever home with friends and relatives or you; we do not judge if you foster fail-frankly we encourage it!”
Families are welcomed to participate, however, the shelter does have one minor condition.
“We need families with no other pets or kids the most this year as we have so many dogs that need one on one time so please talk your kid-less/pup-less friends into participating.”
Shelter director Christie Chipps Peters is the one who came up with the foster program after she reflected on the fact that during the holiday, friends and family come together to enjoy themselves, however, for homeless animals it’s just another day stuck in the shelter. And that is when she was struck that perhaps something could be done for them.
She figured it wouldn’t hurt if the RACC asked people to foster shelter pets for Thanksgiving dinner. The shelter would then provide the foster family with everything that they needed to care for the pet’s weeklong stay – food, medication (if the animal requires it), plus a crate. Once the Thanksgiving week is over, families can bring the pets back to the shelter if they don’t want to adopt them – but thankfully, many do end up adopting the pets.
Four years ago, when Peters pitched the idea to the community, she quickly received 35 invitations. And since then, the event has continued to be an annual success, with many of the pets fostered finding their forever homes by the end of the holiday. Another additional incentive given to those who want to keep the pet they foster is waived adoption fees by the shelter. By removing these barriers, the adoption rate has been successful.
Sheldon is coming to my house for Thanksgiving!!! #thanksgivingfoster #sheldon #racc
In fact, it’s been so successful that one year, more than half the animals were adopted by their foster family, or by friends of the foster family. One of these success stories was Miss Belle.
Eva Gilliland posted a picture from last year of Miss Belle on Facebook, captioning it, “My foster failure from last Thanksgiving, Miss Belle.”
Another dog had a similar experience as new owner Ka’DeeDee Harris recounted on Facebook, “Soon as I brought her (on the right) home last year she was attached to all of us…she had to stay in the family.”
And dogs aren’t the only ones experiencing a bit of luck either. Cats are also getting adopted as well, and Alexandra Francis proves it with her post, “My foster failures from last year! Best decision I made!”
In 2018, Peters discussed the program to the Dodo, stating, “It’s a fun twist to a traditional fostering situation for people who might’ve never done it before. The emails we get from people are so great. 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.’ It’s just a feel-good moment as the city shelter that we can open this up for people who love animals.”
More shelters need to start adopting this fantastic idea because all animals deserve to spend their holidays in a warm and loving home.