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Foster A Lonely Pet for the Holidays
While I rewrite A Christmas Carol
Freckles is one of hundreds of cats and dogs looking for a little foster love during the holidays.

I recently watched A Christmas Carol—the überschmaltzy George C. Scott version with weirdly campy ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. It got me thinking that someone needs to make a dog-centric version of this holiday classic—not in least part to erase this one from my memory banks.

Scrooge would be a lonely old man, running a huge puppy mill. His visit to Christmases Past would flash on young Scrooge playing with a beloved family pup (his only friend) and then 20-something Scrooge dumping his best buddy at a shelter to take his first big job in another city.

For Christmas Present, he’d be forced to witness the destitute breeder moms in their cages and visit a home where children are surprised with the gift of one of his mill dogs, blissfully unaware of the incipient signs of temperament and health issues Scrooge can’t ignore.

Christmas future? Well, that’s a puppy mill raid on Christmas Day, which means rotting away in prison for Mr. Scrooge (this is a future where cruelty laws have real teeth). But, of course, he is redeemed when he wakes. The old black-hearted villain converts his acreage into a cage-free animal sanctuary, pours his ill-gotten gains into lobbying against puppy mills, and surrounds himself with healthy, happy rescue pups. Sigh.

Write your own Christmas miracle script this year through PetFinder.com’s “Foster A Lonely Pet for the Holidays” Program. Now in its third year, the program aims to “empty out animal shelters from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.”

The goal of the program is to spread awareness about fostering and find temporary homes for adoptable pets while giving shelter workers and volunteers a much-needed break. A list of participating shelters and rescue groups can be found at www.petfinder.com/fosteralonelypet.

A short-term foster is a wonderful way to capture the spirit of the season, learn how fostering works and maybe discover you like it and want to continue, which could lead to a very happy new year for a pup or two.

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

Photo courtesy Petfinder.com and the Alabama SPCA. Learn more about Freckles.

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Submitted by Marcia | December 16 2011 |

I've been thinking of a similar concept lately: fostering a dog while on vacation. We regularly travel to Hawaii and don't take our dogs, but we miss the companionship. It might be nice to foster a local dog during our stay.

Submitted by cj | December 20 2011 |

We do this! Every year we go to a timeshare in Myrtle beach, where dogs are allowed on the beach after 5pm (yeah heaven!)
The local shelters make prearranged fosters and we have a companion for the week. i really prefer the seniors!

Submitted by Micra | December 27 2011 |

The veterinary hospital where I work is also the shelter for the city. We have participated in the foster a lonely pet program for seveal years and have always have a great response. Frequently we have adopted the pets to the fosterer, which is thrilling for us. This year we started with cats that had been at the hospital for at least 6 months. As of the 26th we were down to only two that have not been fostered/adopted. It's a great program!!

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