BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The Toledo Humane Society staff and volunteers worked hard this month to clear the shelter temporarily in time for the holidays. The annual Home for the Holidays campaign allows shelter animals – from dogs and cats to bunnies and hamsters – to find short-term foster homes over Christmas.
Due to weather conditions, foster families who had applied for this year’s program picked up their animal houseguests on Thursday, December 22.
“We then have different return dates,” explained THS development manager Abbey Hall. “We do earlier return dates for the dogs as they can be a little bit more time-sensitive for some people, and the cats have a little bit later of a return date.”
When filling out the application forms, prospective host families were able to indicate what type of animal they could accommodate, along with their lifestyle, so shelter staff could find the best match for them.
“We’re fortunate that we’re able to make the matches on your lifestyle. If you need a small dog, or if you’re able to handle bigger dogs, we’ll make the match. Luckily, there are no true requirements other than all information is accurate and submitted on time,” Hall said.
Additionally, those who took pets home were supplied with food, crates, litter boxes and other items they might need to care for the animals from December 22 until their return, which ranges from December 28 to January 6.
“They really only supply the home and love and care,” Hall said of the temporary host families.
The THS shelter is typically close to full at this time of year, Hall noted. While there aren’t as many newborn kittens making their way into the shelter in the wintertime, the staff sees more calls to the cruelty officers and from people concerned about animals found outside in the cold.
Regardless of the reasons animals end up at THS, Hall touted the annual campaign that temporarily springs them from the facility.
“There’s so much more to the program than just getting the animals out of the shelter. It’s so good mentally to get out of the building, have a change in routine and relieve some stress. It’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.
For those who didn’t have the chance to provide a temporary home for the holidays, there are several other ways to assist the humane society and the animals that rely on it.
“Our kennel sponsorship program seems to be very popular during the holiday season. It allows individuals, families, companies to sponsor a kennel for six months or a year. They get updates on the animals that reside in their kennel. It’s a fun way to give back. It’s on our website under giving options,” Hall explained.
Additionally, on the website toledohumane.org, those who are able can provide monetary donations or consult the wish list of items shelter staff have put together.
Volunteering is another way the community can give back, too. More information on volunteer opportunities is also available on the THS website.
“We are completely reliant on the community for what we do,” Hall stated.
For more information on the Toledo Humane Society, Hall encouraged those interested to check the website at toledohumane.org or follow THS on Facebook.