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Home for the holidays: Fosters sought for homeless pets

HUNTSVILLE  – As the old song goes, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.”

To that end, Huntsville Animal Services is asking the community to consider opening their hearts and homes to a furry friend, even if it’s only temporary.

Animal Services Director Karen Sheppard said animals can become stressed in the shelter environment. She said fostering an animal can ease an animal’s anxiety while also providing a trial run for anyone thinking about adopting.

“If you are going to be in town for the holidays, but you aren’t ready to commit to owning a cat or dog full-time, this is the perfect time to consider temporarily opening your home to one of our shelter animals,” she said.

Fostering allows pets to receive one-on-one attention they wouldn’t otherwise receive in a shelter. Feedback received during short-term stays can also help the shelter and potential owners learn more about the pet.

“We usually have good success in adopting out animals that have been lucky enough to make it into a foster home,” Sheppard said. “The foster parents take photos where we can really see the animal’s true personality shine, and they provide write-ups that help a potential adopter better understand how that pet might fit in their home.”

The animals aren’t the only ones who benefit from fostering.

“The holidays can be a lonely time for some people,” Sheppard said. “Studies have shown that having a pet’s companionship can reduce stress, relieve anxiety and depression, alleviate feelings of loneliness and improve overall mental health.

“It’s a win-win for everyone in the foster home.”

Animal Services provides supplies and any required medication to support animals in foster care. If a foster parent falls in love with the animal they are caring for, they have first dibs on adopting that pet.

Adoptable pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and come with a city license and free bag of pet food.

Click here to see photos, ages and descriptions of available animals.

The shelter, at 4950 Triana Blvd., is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For information, call 256-883-3783, visit HuntsvilleAL.gov/Animal or check them out on Facebook or Instagram.

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