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Be a Holiday Elf For The Animals of The VBSPCA This Year

The holidays are a time to reflect and give back, and what better way to do that than fostering a shelter animal for Christmas.

The Holiday Elf program was started as a way for animals to get a break from the shelter and get some extra love for a few days. Heather Ford, a experienced foster mom, loves the program because of how it benefits the animals.

“The shelter is a stressful environment for an animal. The shelter staff and volunteers do a great job to try to minimize that, but it is still stressful,” said Ford. “Fostering with the Holiday Elf Program is an opportunity to help out in ways that can fit almost any schedule while having a very positive impact for the animal. And in return you get to cuddle with a dog, cat, or other critter for the holiday season. It is a way to give and get at the same time.”

Cat Walker, the VBSPCA foster manager, said that in addition to allowing staff to spend more time with their families, there is a change that happens when the animals are in a home environment for a few days.

“There is such a huge difference in the animals when they come back,” said Walker. “Especially in our seniors, there were a few that had become shut down because of the stressful environment. But when they came back, they were very interactive and they even came back with cute sweaters and toys. Some even came back a little heavier because of all the great food and treats they were eating.”

Every family that chooses to foster has an animal chosen to fit their needs and how much time they can commit during the busy holiday season. However, Walker said that an animal helps remind foster families the reason we celebrate the holidays.

“We work with families to find the best match for them and a dog that will fit into their lifestyle,” said Walker. “We want to make it an easy transition for the animals. The holiday season is busy, but we believe that having an animal in the home can bring a sense of calm and unconditional love during those crazy days. Something with such a great purpose can help you slow down and see what is truly important.”

If you would like more information or want to sign up to be a Holiday Elf, please email cat.walker@vbspca.com.