We’re giving shelter pets toys – and training – for Christmas

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Elizabeth fills Kongs with canned food and peanut butter (left), then gives them to the dogs at the shelter.

What does a shelter dog want for Christmas — or any day of the year? A new trick to learn; a fun toy to play with. And our grants provide both: Train to Adopt helps shelters teach adoptable dogs basic social skills, and we’ve given more than $7,000 in enrichment toys from our friends at KONG to 10 shelters over the past two years.

We were recently reminded of how much these gifts mean to homeless dogs when we received this email from Elizabeth Richardson, a longtime volunteer at Train to Adopt shelter Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control in Charlotte, NC:

“This morning, long before dawn, I turned on the Christmas tree lights and sat in silence. Mia, my dear old Border Collie, sat close to me, as she does every morning during quiet time, staring and making sure I sit in my appointed place. Then Artie came and laid down with us. Artie is an older Chocolate Lab, but she does not sit still very often.

“The three of us sat on the floor for quite a while, and my gaze fell on the Christmas tree, which has only a couple of gifts beneath it. I prefer not to buy into December’s shopping frenzy. Yet I could not quit thinking about gifts, the furry kind with four legs. What gifts dogs are! I would rather have the company of a couple of dogs than a thousand fancily wrapped presents under the tree.

“My thoughts shifted to the dogs at our shelter, beautiful dogs waiting for someone to come along and see them. I wanted to jump up, drive quickly to shelter and tell all the dogs how good they are. And bring them gifts. I will do that later today. I will give them the gift of love, made evident in a KONG stuffed with canned food and peanut butter.

“For a little while, the shelter dogs can enjoy some peace and quiet, like Artie and Mia and I did this morning. And maybe, in those quiet moments, a good person or two will walk in and see the beauty of these dogs, and give them the gift of loving homes.

“For the dogs at Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control, more gifts are coming, from Karen Owens, our fabulous trainer, and all the volunteers she has engaged in our Train to Adopt program. What a gift the Train to Adopt program is, bringing Karen, and hundreds of KONGs, and so many positive activities, enormously lessening the stress of kennel life.

“December 21st is the day of the year that stays dark the longest, but into this darkness, gifts of light and love will shine. I remain deeply grateful to the Petfinder Foundation, the KONG company and every person who continues to make our Train the Adopt program the gift that it is to our shelter dogs.”

All of us at the Petfinder Foundation are thrilled to be part of a program that brings such joy to homeless pets. We hope all of you will enjoy a wonderful holiday season with your family, both two-legged and four! And if you are still looking for the perfect gift, think about giving the Gift of Hope. There is no better gift than knowing you have helped a homeless pet!

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