This animal shelter’s Facebook post is proof that the holidays aren’t just for humans.

For the last four years, Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) has asked local Virginia residents to host unadopted shelter pups at their homes for Thanksgiving week.

Fostering animals is an invaluable resource for rescue shelters – it gives dogs a break from being in shelter cages all day long and it gives foster parents and shelters a chance to learn more about the pup’s personality, which may help encourage a family’s decision to adopt in the future. If shelters know whether a dog likes to play or be around children, they can then help connect the pups with prospective pet owners who might be more drawn to those traits.

The program gives the pups a chance to relax, spend time with some loving humans, get out of the cage, and maybe join in on the feasting as well.

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Plus, they will be exposed to a whole new group of people who might feel compelled to adopt them into loving homes.

The first year that the RACC posted their Thanksgiving plea, 35 pets were whisked home by holiday revelers – and over half of those animals ended up being adopted by the hosts.

“It’s a fun twist to a traditional fostering situation for people who might’ve never done it before,” Peters told The Dodo. “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.”

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Other animal shelters have launched similar programs across the country, but thanks to the success of this year’s RACC initiative, the shelter was able to find temporary holiday homes for all 92 of their animals.

“Thank you to our incredible staff and volunteers for working extra hours helping to process so many foster applications, to our network of supporters for helping to spread the word about this program and to the wonderful families that opened up their heart and home to a homeless RACC pet,” wrote the shelter. “We are walking through empty, quiet kennels, thanking all of you from the bottom of our hearts.”

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