Minneapolis program allows shelter pets to go home for the holidays

Betty was a missing puzzle piece for Michelle Reen's family.

"She is just delightful. She is friendly with kids, she's friendly with other dogs," said Reen. 

This spunky gal was a "foster fail" through Minneapolis Animal Care and Control's (MACC) "Home for the Holidays" program last year.

"We were staying here for Thanksgiving...our family all lives away. We thought, 'What a nice way to be grateful for everything that we have and to help out an animal,'" said Reen. 

In the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and the Fourth of July, fosters are able to take home dogs and cats, so the animals can spend those special days in a home and not in a kennel.

The program allows the animals to relax and catch up on sleep while also giving the shelter's staff and volunteers a much-needed break.

MACC Volunteer and Community Partnership Coordinator Madison Weissenborn says the program comes at a time when they are busier than ever. 

"In our population, numbers are higher than they've ever been," said Weissenborn. 

"Home for the Holidays" gives foster families the chance to cuddle up with a furry friend, but it has major benefits for pets as well. Their ultimate goal is to find every animal a forever home and this allows the dogs and cats to decompress and show their personalities off outside a kennel.

"People see them as shelter pets, not real pets that need a home...even getting an animal out of the shelter for one day increases their likelihood of adoption by 14 times," said Weissenborn. 

Additionally, it gives the MACC staff a lot of information about how the animals behave outside the shelter, since the majority of them come here as strays.

"We don't know a ton about them. We don't know what they are like in a home. We do our best to guess," said Weissenborn. 

To participate in "Home for the Holidays", you can sign up to be a foster on the MACC website. 

MACC adoption fees are also waived through the new year.