The dogs and cats at Saint Frances Animal Center are all dressed up for the holidays with no place to go. So the staff is reaching out to the community and asking people to open their homes and foster a pet for the day, a week or longer.
“If an animal is out of the shelter even for a day, its stress levels go down,” said Devon Smith, the center’s executive director.
Smith said there is no cost to the foster family. Each pet comes with food and a crate or carrier. Cats will also come with their own litter pan and litter. Each animal has been checked for its ability to engage successfully with people. There are animals that are socialized to get along with other pets that may be in the home, too. The available animals do not include puppies and kittens, Smith said, and all of them have been given a clean bill of health.
“We really would like an empty shelter for the holidays,” Smith said.
As of Dec. 10, five families have offered to share their homes with the animals. Ideally, Smith said, she’d like to see 50 dogs go visiting for the holiday and a full complement of cats.
Animals will be ready to go starting Dec. 21 and will be available as late as Christmas Eve.
The no-kill shelter at 125 Ridge Street offered a similar program for Thanksgiving, and is expanding it for Christmas.
“Anybody can fit the profile of a successful foster,” Smith said. “We have high-energy animals as well as those who are content to be calmly close to people.”
Interested people can fill out an online application www.sfanimals.org to be a foster home for the holidays, call 843-546-0780 or stop by the shelter during business hours.
While the St. Frances staff has been concentrating on getting the dogs and cats home for the holidays, the staff and volunteers also have been wrapping gifts at Orvis in Market Common. All donations for the gift wrapping go to the shelter.