Home for the holidays: Augusta animal shelter offers temporary foster option for holiday week

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Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock / NBC 26 at 7

Augusta Animal Services has a new program aimed at getting pets out of the shelter for the holidays. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta Animal Services is trying something a little different this Thanksgiving. They're tugging at heartstrings and hoping some people have a little extra room in the house to foster a pet -- at least temporarily.

Sweet and slobbery Bert is just one of many faces that need homes for the holidays, and beyond. Bert posed for a few shots for News 12 Tuesday at Augusta Animal Services. Bert and his friends at the shelter are all available for the Home for the Holidays program, a new initiative where potential fosters and animal lovers can bring a dog or cat home for the holiday week to give them some much needed time away from the cage -- and brighten the home.

"Nobody needs to be alone for the holidays. Even puppies," said Brandi Miller. She's a mother of five, but she's still looking for a new member of the family -- preferably one with fur, a wet nose, and a big heart.

"I came in Friday with my youngest daughter and we were looking to adopt a pet."

When Brandi heard about the shelter's new temporary foster program, she decided to bring yet another pup home.

"I saw they were doing home for the holidays, so I figured [I] might as well bring one too."

Crystal Eskola is the deputy director at Augusta Animal Services. She adopted the program she saw at a few other shelters across the state.

"It's a trial period," Eskola said. "So basically, if they decide to keep the animal, they don't bring it back on Monday and it's theirs."

It's a trial period that hopefully turns into a full time home. Eskola calls it a win-win situation, and the shelter says they fully support the "foster fail", meaning a foster home becomes a forever home.

"It benefits the dog regardless. Even if they get brought back, they still had a great week."

And if they decide to keep the dog, that's just icing on the cake.

"They just don't bring it back. They call us and tell us we're keeping it, and we'll mail them the original paperwork."

Fewer animals in the shelter means fewer hours the staff has to work on the holiday.

"We still have to come and clean, and we still have to feed the animals, but we'll get done quicker so they'll be home in time for preparation for the Thanksgiving lunch."

After five kids, Miller says adding two more family members is no big deal.

"After so many kids, they keep each other entertained, so the dogs will just throw into that."

The shelter is open from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Anyone interested in participating in the program can CLICK HERE for more information about hours. If Thanksgiving week doesn't work for you, the shelter is offering the program again during Christmas week.​

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