PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Can your Thanksgiving celebration accommodate one more guest? If so, the Portsmouth Humane Society has an addition that won't comment on your cooking or talk about politics at the table.
The shelter's Foster for Thanksgiving program allows people to take home an adoptable dog for the long holiday weekend and then return them to the shelter. The dog can be picked up next Wednesday and returned on the following Monday.
"At the very least they get a Thanksgiving dinner, maybe some nice treats, a nice warm spot to lay, a break form the shelter and get them exposed to more people," said James McLaughlin of the Portsmouth Humane Society.
Last year, 13 dogs went out to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to enjoying some treats, 11 of them also found their forever families.
Shelter staff says even if the dog's don't get adopted, their experience in a home and around people is beneficial.
"If they foster for the weekend, they can give us some feedback," explained McLaughlin. "Hearing they were great with the kids or really great with my cat - these are things that we don’t always know from just being in a shelter environment. That is giving us some more tools to get that dog adopted after the holiday."
Each dog fostered during the long weekend comes with a list of foods the dog can and cannot eat as well as an emergency contact number that can be called if needed. McLaughlin hopes, though, that the focus of the dog's temporary foster will be fun.
"We are encouraging them to spoil them a little bit. Give them some treats that they don’t normally get," he said.
In addition to the Foster for Thanksgiving program, the shelter is also waiving all adoption fees this upcoming Saturday and Sunday. They say they have recently had an influx of strays and dogs being surrendered at the shelter and are hoping to make more room for other dogs in need.
For more information about the Foster for Thanksgiving program, visit the shelter's website or call (757) 397-6004.