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Opening your heart and your home to a furry friend for the holidays

Everyone needs a home over the holidays, and the Lakeland Humane Society (LHS) is hoping residents will open their doors and their hearts this holiday season. From Dec.
Animals who currently call the LHS home are hoping residents will open their doors and foster them for the holidays.
Animals who currently call the LHS home are hoping residents will open their doors and foster them for the holidays.

Everyone needs a home over the holidays, and the Lakeland Humane Society (LHS) is hoping residents will open their doors and their hearts this holiday season.

From Dec. 21 to 28, the LHS runs a holiday foster care program, where residents can fill out an application and bring a furry friend home for Christmas.

Kyla Hunter, shelter manager for the LHS, said it's a great opportunity for a family to try out having a pet at no cost.

"We provide everything they need such as food, a litter box, and toys," she explained.

All they need to do is fill out an application, which can be found online or at the LHS. The shelter has even offered to email them to anyone wanting more information.

Not all animals at the shelter are available to foster however, only those with a clean bill of health.

"We can't foster all of the animals over the holidays, obviously because of new strays or any animals with medical conditions, lice, or fleas," Hunter said.

But, animal lovers shouldn't worry, because LHS staff will be keeping them company over the holiday season.

The program is open to all animals up for adoption. However, the LHS doesn't allow families to pick their specific pet, unless they have their eye on them for adoption.

LHS animals have been fostered for the holidays for over 10 years. It was started as a way to give the animals a bit of a break, and a home for Christmas day.

Since starting the program, there have been dozens of success stories.

"So many people send us really cute pictures of our animals in front of a Christmas tree with antlers on or a Santa hat. Lots of people even buy them Christmas presents, so they get a special bone or toy. It's so cute and sweet," Hunter expressed.

In some cases, residents have been repeat customers, taking in a cat or dog every year. For others, it's a chance to test the waters and see how a furry friend will fit in with their family.

"We also have people who are interested in fostering and looking at adoption and this may make them fall in love with that animal," said Hunter.

The LHS has seen nothing but success with their holiday foster adoption program.

They will be accepting applications up until a week before Dec. 21. Hunter said the more applications they receive the more pets they can give a home for the holidays.

"People enjoy doing it. They're giving Christmas to an animal that doesn't have a home. Sometimes, those become their permanent home, which is always great. Even for the ones that don't, they get a vacation away from the shelter and get a chance to be with a family."