Kristen is a 10-year-old kitty who is looking for a home for the holidays. She was found on BHS property and was quickly adopted, but was returned due to the declining health of her owner. Kristen loves her chin scratches and purrs non-stop.

BREVARD COUNTY — A national challenge that has $55,000 in grant money at stake has inspired animal shelters across the country working toward uniting pets with potential forever homes through short-term fostering.

Maddie’s Fund, a national nonprofit, has issued out “The Foster Express Challenge” with a goal to get cats and dogs out of the shelters for the holidays and into homes where they can socialize, and possibly find a forever family.

The Brevard Humane Society has applications available for anyone interested in participating for this short-term fostering, which runs through Jan. 10.

Residents need not partake in volunteer orientation. All it takes to join in is to fill out an adopter profile online or at the shelter, and to sign a contract that states the pet coming home with them is on a temporary basis, according to Jessica Klein, foster rescue coordinator for the Brevard Humane Society.

“Besides the advantages of the holiday short-term fostering program, it gets the community involved and we have positive outcomes,” Ms. Klein said. “There’s also the added benefit that we could be potentially eligible for some additional grant funds, which always goes very far.”

Residents interested in fostering a cat can have the opportunity to take one home for a minimum of five days to a maximum of two weeks. For dogs, residents can take one home for a minimum of one day to a maximum of two weeks.

According to Ms. Klein, cats need more time to adjust to their surroundings whereas a dog will have less issues moving around different environments.

Over the Thanksgiving period, eight animals were fostered for short-term, resulting in two adoptions and one in the process of being adopted.

“It’s really to get the dogs and cats out of the shelter during the holiday season to get more exposure for them, help with socialization, get the public familiar with the foster care program [...] maybe they’ll come to orientation to get more involved,” Ms. Klein said. “If the person fostering happens to fall in love with them, all the better, but we’re not expecting the public to commit to adopting the animal.”

During holidays, the Brevard Humane Society’s Adoption Centers are closed, leaving homeless pets with limited human interaction while caretakers come on site to feed and walk animals.

All eligible animals for short-term fostering have been spayed/neutered and have received vaccinations. Residents with a dog already at home can bring their pet to the shelter to see how it interacts with other dogs before bringing one home.

The Brevard Humane Society is a no-kill, nonprofit shelter. Donations of food, toys or money go a long way to serving the county’s homeless pets.

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Associate Managing Editor

I have been a Viera resident for 15 years and a writer my whole life. I love to travel when the opportunity presents itself, as well as try new things.

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