Staff Report

As the holidays approach, there are over 100 dogs in the Santa Barbara County animal shelters that are looking for homes. While returning stray dogs to their owners and finding new adoptive homes for the rest are priorities, the reality is that not every dog will have the opportunity to spend the holidays with a family. This year, the staff at all three county shelters want to change that – even if it’s just for a few days.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is seeking four-day foster homes for all adoptable dogs at each county shelter for the third annual “Santa’s Slumber Party.” Foster homes will be given all necessary supplies to make their temporary houseguests comfortable. Santa’s Slumber Party foster families will be matched with a dog of appropriate size and temperament for their household. The dogs will be picked up from the shelter on December 23 and returned to the shelter on December 26.

Santa’s Slumber Party has been a huge success for the past several years. Members of the community have stepped up to provide a shelter break for adoptable dogs. The program not only allows a shelter dog some time away from an often chaotic kennel environment, but it also gives us valuable information about how a dog behaves in a home environment as opposed to a noisy, stressful shelter. Santa’s Slumber Party also exposes the dogs to new people and potential adopters who may not have considered adopting a shelter dog. Foster parents who choose to adopt their holiday guest will receive a 50 percent discount on the adoption.

Those interested in fostering a shelter dog for the holidays can visit the Santa Barbara County Animal Services Facebook page, call 805-681-4332, 805-934-6981 or visit your local shelter.