Home for the Pawlidays program in Atlanta, GA
Image via Lifeline Animal Project


Volunteering to foster care homeless and abandoned pets can be an extremely rewarding experience. You're providing them with a less stressful environment than a shelter facility that is more than likely overcrowded and tensions are high among the animals. While being a foster pet parent tugs at your heartstrings, it makes you feel good that you're able to do what you can by providing a more stable environment.

Lifeline Animal Project

In Georgia, 20 lucky dogs have been chosen to experience that sense of stability for Thanksgiving through a program called "Home for the Pawlidays," a new initiative of the Lifeline Animal Project, an Atlanta-based animal shelter. The program's inaugural event allows the dogs to spend an entire week "as special guests in people's homes," spokesperson Karen Hirsch told TODAY. "We are providing the food, pet supplies and support, and participants will provide the love."

A Walk in the Park

The reprieve from the animal shelter lasts from November 18-25, 2017. During their stays, the animals will get an opportunity to snuggle and cuddle to their hearts' content and go for long walks outside away from the deafening din of overflowing kennels filled with agitated animals. The racket and setting can cause animals to lose hair, stop eating and in many cases shut down completely from despair.

Short-Term Fostering Programs

Fostering doesn't have to be until the animal finds a forever home. Yes, we'd all rather see them shuffled around as little as possible for their own emotional well-being, but that can't always happen. Because of this sad fact, shelters and animal rescues are always looking for people who are willing to open their hearts and homes, even for brief stays.

Spreading the Love

According to a recent study funded by Maddie's Fund, it’s been discovered that even one night away from a shelter in a home will reduce a dog's cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone even humans produce. "It is also beneficial for us, because dogs are the best therapy and bring feelings of happiness and contentment," said Angela Talbert, who will be fostering a dog through the Pawlidays program this year.

Making a Difference

If you're concerned about the welfare of shelter animals and their quality of life, contact your local animal rescues and see if you can't develop a program or programs similar to Home for the Pawlidays in your area. You might be surprised by the number of people that support your worthy cause.