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Home for the Holidays program places shelter animals in loving homes
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Home for the Holidays program places shelter animals in loving homes

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Those looking for a new furry friend, or perhaps to generate a little good juju during the holiday season, are in luck.

Through its “A Home for the Holidays” program, the Erna R. Badstieber Paws & Claws Adoption Center this month is looking to place several of its boarded animals in area homes in an effort to get them out of the kennel for a few days, and perhaps, to show a few families what they have been missing out on.

“We’ve done it a couple of times before, and what they do is come in and pick out an animal that they’d like to take into their home, and just let it be a dog, or a cat, instead of them just sitting in a cage over the holidays,” Shelter Manager Jan Berry said. “It gives them a break, and it also gives the employees a break from having so many animals to take care of.

“It’s just nice to get them out there every once in a while, and sometimes, after having that animal in their home for a few days they decide that they want to keep it.”

Those wishing to serve as hosts are being asked to apply at Paws & Claws, 2124 13th St., by Friday, Dec. 20. Those interested in serving as hosts will have the chance to come in and spend time with the cats and dogs before hand-picking one to accompany them home, where they will stay through Dec. 28. Approved applicants will pick up their guests between noon on Saturday, Dec. 21, and Monday, Dec. 23. Animals must be returned to the shelter no later than Thursday, Jan. 2.

For more information, people are encouraged to contact Berry at the shelter by calling 402-562-5683 or emailing her at pawsandclawsne@hotmail.com. Currently, Paws & Claws representatives are housing 58 cats and 20 dogs, all of which Berry says would benefit from a change of scenery, or better yet, a permanent new home.

Those wishing to adopt the animal they’ve been sheltering to present to their child or children will also be able to benefit from a new Paws & Claws Program. Santa, this season, has agreed to personally deliver adopted animals to area residents. Parents wishing to coordinate this arrangement are also encouraged to talk to Berry.

Rick Porter, a six-year member of the organization’s board of directors, said events like A Home for the Holidays can go a long way in getting animals out of their shells.

“Anything we can do to get our animals more socialized is a really positive thing,” Porter said. “Because unfortunately, we don’t have the revenue to have as big of a staff as we would like, and if we had a bigger staff, we could do more with socialization and training with the animals.

“So, a program like this really helps us get our animals around some more people, which is huge.”

The program works three-fold, Berry said. First, it gives animals a warm, safe environment that is different from their normal dwelling. It also serves as a time for Paws & Claws staff to do some cleaning and spend additional time with their own families away from the shelter. Finally, families might just find the missing link that they have been searching for, she added.

If needed, the shelter is willing to provide bowls, food, litter boxes and portable crates and kennels, if proper sizes are available. Really, the only thing being asked is that those sheltering the animals shower them with love and attention and show them that they’re safe.

Part of the vetting process for applicants includes shelter leaders learning a little about their existing pets and family dynamics. For example, it wouldn’t be a good idea for a big, un-tame pup to be around a little kid. It also wouldn’t be advisable to bring a dog around another dog if one is expected – or known – to be dog aggressive.

It’s all about finding the right fit for both parties, a fit that in some cases will hopefully lead to permanent placement.

“The ways the animals act in a shelter situation and the way they act in your home are usually two entirely different things,” Berry said. “And so you might have a dog in here that acts a little shy, a little reserved, but you get it out away from all of those other dogs and it just opens up.

“So when you are here, you don’t always get a true picture of what you are getting. When you take it home, have it spend time with your family, you might say, ‘hey, this is a really great dog, it fits in with the family and we’d really like to keep it.'"

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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