COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The New Year’s resolution for the Franklin County Dog Shelter is to place its residents in new forever homes. It’s a strong possibility for many of the dogs ringing in 2021 on a holiday sleepover.
“That’s the big hope is that they take the dog home and they fall in love and can’t bring the dog back so they adopt it,” said Andrew Kohn, the community relations manager at the Franklin County Dog Shelter.
The holiday sleepover started three years ago and quickly gained popularity, at times attracting hundreds of potential foster parents ahead of a holiday. In 2020, health restrictions required interested parents to set up appointments and schedule pickup times.
“We might have been able to get a few more dogs out, but to keep everyone safe here we had to follow the appointment schedule,” Kohn explained.
During the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, families or individuals can take a dog home for a temporary foster care stay. The shelter provides food, any necessary medications and checks in periodically to make sure the visit is going well.
Kohn said about half of dogs taken home for holiday sleepovers are adopted. A partnership with Pet People covers the cost of adoption through the program. Even if the dog does not find the right fit during a sleepover, they return to the shelter with more details about their needs.
“Everyone comes back with a report card and they kind of give us all this detailed information about the dog so we can find them their perfect home,” he said.
The program has also been fulfilling an unexpected human need during the health crisis.
“Especially this time during the year when people are alone, and we’re not allowed to gather now, there are a lot of people at home who don’t have anyone with them. So they can bring a dog home, take care of that dog,” said Kohn. “That dog can give them unconditional love and hopefully find a place in their heart and find a new, permanent home.”
The shelter is considering its next holiday sleepover for Valentine’s Day or Spring Break. You can click here to follow the Franklin County Dog Shelter on Facebook for updates.
To find a list of dogs currently available for adoption, click here.