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Finding a home for the howlidays for shelter pets

The Lakeland Humane Society is hosting their holiday foster program

COLD LAKE – The Lakeland Humane Society (LHS) is looking for help to bring some of their animals home for the howlidays.  

The local shelter runs their holiday foster care program where they hope residents will open their homes and hearts for animals looking for their "fur-ever "homes.   

“Every year, we try to find homes for as many of the cats and dogs as possible,” explained animal care attendant for LHS Caitlin Baskerville. “It not only gives them a break from the shelter but if you’re home and alone this Christmas... this gives you a chance to have a little friend over Christmas.”  

Baskerville described the program as a ‘test run’ for those considering adopting a pet as it gives them an idea of what introducing an animal to their household would look like.  

There’s no charge for people participating in the program and LHS will provide all of the items needed for each animal, including food, toys, and bowls for water and food.   

It’s not just limited to residents of the City of Cold Lake. According to Baskerville, they’ll accept applications from those residing in the Town and MD of Bonnyville and even as far as St. Paul.   

After filling out an application online, foster parents will be matched with a dog or cat from the shelter that would best fit them.  

“We can’t guarantee that you’ll get the cat or dog that you’re specifically wanting,” Baskerville stressed. “We do always hold space for adoptions up until the foster period. We’re hoping that animals are going to find their furever homes but we do try to place an appropriate animal to the appropriate home.”  

The pick-up window for the animal assigned to you is between Dec. 13 and 23 and they can be dropped back off at the shelter between Jan. 4 to 8. Unless, of course, you fall in love with your new furry friend.  

“We’re always hopeful that a foster will end up as an adoption, but we’re very aware that this program we do run, a lot of cats and dogs will come back and that’s okay,” Baskerville explained, adding it allows the staff to learn how an animal may be in an environment outside of the facility.  

“It gives us an idea of how they’re going to be in a home because we don’t know. We’ve only seen their personalities here, so we can have a cat and say ‘this cat is really shy, they’re probably going to hide the whole week and a half you have them.’ Then they come back and say ‘no, this cat was out and about, hanging out, playing with the kids and things like that.’ It gives us an idea of what kind of home they might be better for in the future.”  

Baskerville described the program as a success in the past and last year alone saw roughly half of the animals being adopted by the family who took care of them.  

The LHS has anywhere between 80 and 100 animals at their facility right now and the dream goal for Baskerville is to get between 50 and 60 fostered out this holiday season.  

“We always try to aim high and see what we can do but we totally understand that it’s not for everybody. We just do what we can.”  

For more information or to apply to become a foster, message LHS on social media or email admin@lakelandhumanesociety.org.   

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle