Richmond Animal Care & Control

Please note that we pulled the photos for this article from the video that’s at the bottom of the page, and this video does not featured the pets at the shelter mentioned in this video. The dogs in this video were fed “Barksgiving treats” that were made of foods that are healthy for dogs, not “people food.” Also, they weren’t up on people’s tables being ill-mannered. The particular situation in that video was a special occasion just for the sweet pooches.

Thanksgiving is a holiday to spend time with the people who are most important to you. Whether it’s a huge family or just that one special person, it’s a time for family, friends, and love.

Unfortunately for many animals, there is no family to spend the holidays (or any time) with. This harsh reality prompted Christie Chipps Peters, the director of the Richmond Animal Care & Control organization in Richmond Virginia, to do something special for the dogs in her shelter. She came up with the idea of dogs and cats “going home for Thanksgiving” to have a home-cooked meal.

Peters thinks people will welcome the idea of inviting a sweet furry friend to their home for Thanksgiving. Adopting a pet isn’t a realistic option for everyone. Whether it’s the confines of space or whatever else keeps people from being able to add a canine or feline family member, many people who can’t adopt pets will love the idea of having a furry guest at their holiday celebrations.

Peters was right. When she let her community know about the program to bring a doggie or kitty guest home for Thanksgiving, she received more than 30 replies. The animals will be fostered from November 18/21 until November 28th. Families are also encouraged to try to find a forever home for these wonderful animals. All supplies are provided by the shelter.

“People who’ve never considered fostering before reached out to us, so excited to host one of our animals,” Peters said. “More than half of the animals that year were adopted, either by the family themselves or someone who met them through the family.” (TheDodo)

There is a happy and unexpected twist that’s happening as a result of Peters’ program: many of these animals are being adopted. Once you’re around a sweet little animal for a few days, there’s a good chance you’ll fall in love and want him or her to stay. If a family chooses to adopt their grateful guest, the shelter waives the adoption fee.

But even if the dogs don’t get adopted, being able to go out of the shelter for a day and enjoy some special treats is a nice respite from a life that’s far from ideal. No creature is meant to be locked up inside four walls or a cage.

“It’s a fun twist to a traditional fostering situation for people who might’ve never done it before,” Peters said. “The shelter provides the supplies you need, such as food, medication and a crate, and the following Wednesday after Thanksgiving the pet comes back. But a lot of the times, the pets never have to come back to the shelter. We try to make it really easy for people to say yes and keep that pet forever.”

It should be noted that this program seems to be working best for homes with no other pets. Being a guest in a home with a bunch of territorial cats and dogs is probably not very stress-free for these animals who are already struggling.

People in the Richmond, Virginia area looking to open their homes to a shelter pet can email Peters at

Here is an adorable video compilation of shelter dogs (not the ones from this article) enjoying their first Thanksgiving, called “Barksgiving.”