Last week, I had to interrupt the “Dog Wars” to jump up and
down like I just sacked Peyton Manning on a fourth-down game clincher. One very special dog was adopted at a book
signing and I was pumped! Not being in
the dog-adoption business, it was exciting for me — though I am sure commonplace for others.
If I was giddy about finding a home for one dog, you can
only imagine the gymnastics that resulted from this letter from Pam at Florida’s Pine
Forest Animal Clinic.
I am a veterinary technician in a busy animal hospital in
Pensacola, FL. I picked up your book and loved the story. At the hospital where
I work, we had 37 abandoned, unwanted and repaired pets looking for homes. That
is, until I took your idea from the book and created “Foster a Lonely Pet
for the Holidays.”
The local news did a several-day piece on
the nightly program [here's one clip]. It was amazing!! All of the animals were
sent to homes for Thanksgiving and only three cats returned today; the other 34 were adopted.
I thank you for a great story and idea! We
plan to do it again in a few weeks for Christmas.
In my book, A Dog Named Christmas, Todd McCray
hears about a holiday fostering program called “Adopt a Dog for Christmas”
and pleads with his dad to participate. Todd’s father has some reservations about the concept and calls the shelter
for details. He soon sets his concerns aside: “Ultimately, it was one of those times in my life when I took a deep breath and
trusted that it would work.”
Thanks to Pam for taking a deep breath and trusting that
what worked in this story would work in the real world too.
Pam received “several hundred” calls and
assures me that she put the whole program together in 10 days and with very
little time or effort! There were not
nearly enough dogs to go around. She said
she had never seen such an enthusiastic response.
I hope other shelter and clinic staffers can set aside their
reservations, take a deep breath, and then promote similar programs to
temporary homes for their pets over the holidays. Many of the pets
fostered will end up finding permanent homes, but even if they don’t,
awareness and sensitivity for the
plight of shelter pets can be dramatically improved.
Pam is going to share her publicity packet
and fostering agreement with me. Within the next few days, I’ll post them on my
Web site for public use. Please drop me a line if
I can help. Hopefully, the concept of
emptying the shelter is incentive enough, but I would like to offer an
autographed copy of my book to the first 20 people who get a holiday
fostering program started at their local shelter.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a writer and prone to fictional
thinking, but I have a vision in my head of animal shelters across America
being empty on Christmas Eve and dogs and cats, recently released from cages, being pampered by the fire for maybe the
first time in their lives.
Pam proved it
can be so.
Please consider taking a deep
breath and doing your part to make it happen. If circumstances don’t allow this year, please forward this blog on to
others who may have the time, or consider the idea again next year.