So that shelter pets can enjoy the warmth and happiness of the holiday season in the comfort of a home rather than at the shelter, the Animal Rescue League of Berks County is opening applications for families who may be interested in becoming a short-term foster for the holiday break. “With so many people staying home this year, we thought it was a perfect time to launch a program like this,” says Alexis Pagoulatos, executive director of the ARL. “It’s a lovely way to do something small—yet so significant—for a homeless pet this holiday season.”
A selection of available adoptable pets will be available for families to choose from to take home on Dec. 24, and they can return the pets on Dec. 26 or Dec. 27 — or keep them as long as they wish until Jan. 2. If for some reason the family decides the pet they were matched with isn’t a good fit for their home, they can return their foster pet anytime, while also receiving support from the ARL foster team. All foster pets will go home with a “suitcase” packed of supplies and food and anything else they may need for their temporary home. “Of course, families can certainly treat their foster to toys or treats, too, if they wish,” says Elisabeth Manwiller, deputy director, who brought the program idea to her team.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Manwiller. “But this was the right year to launch it based upon our community’s incredible response to foster when the pandemic began,” she said. “We sense that same enthusiasm is still there, and we’d love to introduce families to the joy of bringing a homeless pet into their home — even if it’s just for a night or two.”
Once interested families have completed an application at www.berksarl.org/sleepover, they will be able to select the pet they’d like to take home closer to the pick up date of Dec. 24. Adoption counselors will ensure the foster pet they select is a good match for their family and other pets in their home, and will provide the family with further instructions on how to ensure a successful and joyful foster experience.
To learn more about this program or complete an application, please visit the ARL website at www.berksarl.org/sleepover or contact the ARL at 610-373-8830.
The Animal Rescue League of Berks County is a charitable 501c3 organization caring for nearly 4,500 animals each year to help them find second chances in a new home, or to help reunite them with their grateful owners. For more than 65 years, the organization has worked tirelessly to care for the sick, treat the injured, comfort the unwanted and protect the abused. Whether helping people in need keep their pets through surrender prevention programs, offering low-cost veterinary services and clinics, as well as outreach and education events throughout the county, the ARL’s work goes far beyond the walls of the shelter.