This article appeared in the November 19, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A home for the holidays? Volunteers needed to foster pets.

Kendall Warner/The News & Advance/AP/File
Lindsay Terwilliger holds her foster cat, Millie, at her farm in Elon, Virginia, on Dec. 17, 2020. Ms. Terwilliger, who has been fostering and rescuing animals for 15 years, said animals have a tendency to “choose” their owners, which she believes all of her animals have done with her.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

How would you like to host a furry guest this holiday season?

All across America overcrowded animal shelters are looking for fosters to provide temporary shelter for homeless dogs and cats. Many are running “Foster for Thanksgiving” or “Foster Through Christmas” promotions to lessen their load during one of their busiest times of year.

From Florida to California, Ohio to Oklahoma, shelters have been stressed by the pandemic. Staff have dwindled due to COVID-19 concerns. Donations have dropped off. A vet shortage has delayed rescue pet spay and neuter operations, causing a backlog in preparing animals for permanent homes.

Even short-term fostering is good for stressed animals. It gets young ones used to people – and gives people experience in handling pets.

The benefits can spread outward. Lori Irby, a Southern California woman, has fostered about 60 pets in recent years. She takes in three or four kittens at a time, cats so young they need to be bottle-fed.

She began bringing them to her work at a retirement home in Anaheim. Residents started dropping by to see them.

Long story short, the weekly “Kitten Therapy Day” at the residence has become a huge hit. A dozen or so residents attend to play with the kittens, which are put up for adoption at about the age of 8 weeks.

“For many, it’s the highlight of the week. ... There’s just something really warm and comforting about holding a purring kitten,” Ms. Kirby told The Washington Post.

This article appeared in the November 19, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/19 edition
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