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Home for the Holidays

This holiday season, we're asking everyone to help us find homes for our canine and feline friends. Through our Home for the Holidays challenge, we're seeking to place 150 of our lovable companion animals in foster and find forever homes for another 150 homeless pets. We achieved a live release rate of 98% for November and are looking to increase it to 99% for the month of December.


While we do everything we can to keep our animals healthy and happy while at LCHS, the reality is that an animal shelter's group housing environment isn't a natural or ideal place for animals to live for an extended period.


Above anything else, we care about our pets' wellbeing, which is why we invest so much into getting the word out about each wonderful and unique individual kitty and pup that we have. To adopt, visit leecountyhumane.org to fill out an adoption application. Please allow 24 to 48 hours for us to approve your application and send you an email saying that you’ve been approved, or to call for more information.


The Importance of Fostering


In the meantime, foster homes can provide enormous quality-of-life benefits for our animals, including a much-needed break from shelter life, along with the individualized attention, playtime, and quiet, restful environment that all pets need. Longtime foster and volunteer Krista Wignall shared some information about her experience fostering. "I really enjoy holiday fostering and will do it anytime I know I will be in town,” Wignall said. “The dogs and cats need a break from shelter life, and if you can give an animal even just a three-day vacation... it is worth it!"


She provided tips for making the foster experience rewarding for your foster pet, "Let them snuggle up in blankets on the couch and run around your house and yard. Give them tasty treats they don't normally get in the shelter.”


She also mentioned how fosters can play an active role in helping pets find the best forever home. "You can learn so much about an animal while fostering them, and that information can help them become more desirable to a potential adopter," Wignall said. "You can learn if they get along with other animals in the house, do they like children, how high energy are they, are they a couch hog or a running buddy?"


Wignall brought up photographing a foster pet can also be a valuable resource to help them get adopted. "And take pictures! Dogs and cats are much more appealing and charming in photos where they are comfortable and happy in a home, rather than lonely looking in a kennel."


To foster, visit leecountyhumane.org/foster to fill out a foster application. Please allow 24 to 48 hours for us to approve your application, after which you may set up an appointment to meet pets to foster.



Free Ways to Help LCHS


If you're unable to adopt or foster at this time, there are still numerous ways to make an impact. In addition to volunteering and donating supplies or funds, we have several free ways to help LCHS to obtain donations. By texting PAWS to 31996, supporters can access the Express Feedback for Good Platform, through which anyone can complete surveys to support the shelter. For each survey you complete, the company donates $2 to LCHS! Another free way to help is by downloading the ResQWalk app created by Best Friends Animal Society. Then, select LCHS as the shelter to support, and before engaging in outdoor activities, hit the "Start Walk" button and tap "Finish" when done. Using the iGive, Giving Assistant, or AmazonSmile platforms when doing routine online shopping will generate funds for the shelter as well.


We will be having an adoption event on Thursday, December 17th from 4 to 7 p.m. at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, and on Saturday, December 19th from 11 to 4 at PetSmart. At both events, we will be offering gift wrapping as a fundraiser to help our pets. We hope to see you there!


Keeping Pets and Families Together


It's also helpful for shelters, pets, and pet owners for pets to be able to stay with their current owners, as shelter surrender is quite stressful for pets and their owners. The holidays can be stressful in even the best year, and the pandemic has presented considerable and unpredictable challenges for many people, including those who are pet owners.


Pet owners currently experiencing problems and those who have questions about preventing future issues are encouraged to email pethelp@leecountyhumane.org. We understand that pets provide an invaluable source of comfort and stress relief during uncertain times but that behavioral problems can create stress. Fortunately, many pet problems can be reduced or eliminated through training, consistency, and veterinary care.


Spaying or neutering pets can resolve many behavioral issues while also helping shelters to avoid overcrowding. For more info on low-cost spay and neuter options, visit https://www.leecountyhumane.org/low-cost-spay-neuter.


We can provide general information and support while referring pet owners to expert, evidence-based information sources, such as the ASPCA, AVMA, and Best Friends Animal Society, in addition to providing info on national grants available to financially assist pet owners. All discussions and email exchanges with our volunteer team will remain strictly confidential.


If rehoming is necessary but isn't immediately critical, our pet owner outreach team can provide rehoming options that avoid the severe anxiety that many animals experience when admitted to a shelter.


Avoiding shelter surrender when possible also helps LCHS because when too many animals are admitted to a shelter, overcrowding can contribute to stress and the spread of illnesses among shelter pets. Open-admission shelters like LCHS should be considered a last-resort option for those experiencing an emergency or crisis that doesn't provide other alternatives. That way, we can provide the best care possible for the individuals who are in the most need and find homes for them more quickly.


Through adopting, fostering, donating, spaying/neutering, and spreading awareness of the needs of homeless companion animals, we can all make a difference in the lives of these amazing pets.


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