Thomas Aultman hugs Snoopy the dog, who his family will foster for the holidays, at the Humane Educational Society on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Humane Society needs volunteers to help foster pets through the holiday season.

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A home for the holidaysLocal animal shelters ask families to foster pets

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You can also email Mo Greaney at McKamey at, or Kathy Mindel at the Humane Society at


It's a "ruff" time of year for animals living at local animal shelters, but area residents can spread some Christmas cheer by opening their homes to furry friends during the holidays.

The McKamey Animal Center and the Humane Educational Society are asking families to foster pets, providing lonely animals with some extra love this season.

"We hope every adoptable pet can get out of here and have a warm home for the holidays," said Kathy Mindel, the foster program coordinator at the Humane Educational Society.

Shelters can be particularly crowded this time of year as people drop off animals in advance of Christmas, said Jamie McAloon, executive director at McKamey. A large number of the pets at McKamey previously had homes, she said, and are now alone at the shelter.

"It's heartbreaking to see so many pets that've lost everything," McAloon said in a statement. "This program will lift not only our hearts and our spirits but those of so many animals in need of hope."

Last year, McKamey fostered 39 animals during the holidays, and 27 of the pets were adopted. They hope even more will be fostered and adopted this year.

This is the first time the Humane Educational Society has held a holiday adoption program, and Mindel said it's a great opportunity for the shelter and the animals.

"A large percentage [of animals that] get in a home end up staying," Mindel said. "And that's what we are hoping for."

But whether or not an animal gets adopted by a foster family, the information the family provides the shelter about how the pet does in a home helps the organization find it a permanent placement, Mindel said.

McKamey foster coordinator Mo Greaney agreed, saying animals who are fostered double their odds of finding a home.

"The fostered pets are much easier to find homes for because we have valuable information on their personalities gained from their poster parents," Greaney said. "It's really a win-win situation."

Both McKamey and the Humane Society require foster families to fill out applications and have short face-to-face interviews before taking home pets.

Contact staff writer Kendi A. Rainwater at 423-757-6592 or krain Follow on Twitter @kendi_and.