Foster A Dog This Christmas

Greg Kincaid has an incredibly sweet vision for Christmas. Visions of sugar plums? No, not that kind.

His warms the heart.

Kincaid’s best-selling novel, A Dog Named Christmas (Random House), has been turned into a TV movie of the same name airing Sunday on CBS (9 p.m. ET). The Hallmark movie centers on a young man’s ability to persuade an entire town to take home dogs from a local shelter for the duration of the holidays. An entire nation might be following suit.

At the movie’s close, Kincaid will encourage people to participate in foster programs for the holidays by locating a shelter through

“Hopefully there’s going to be a lot of happy dogs sitting around people’s fireplaces this Christmas,” he says.

The idea, Kincaid says, is to take in dogs for a week through New Year’s, “enhancing their own lives and the dog’s life, rather than agreeing to adopt them right off the bat.”

“When we first thought about this idea, I thought I’d be happy if we get 100 to 200 shelters. The first day we got 600 shelters,” Kincaid says.

Petfinder, owned by Discovery Communications, reached out to its network of shelters, and now more than 2,000 groups are taking part.

He created the tale for his children 10 years ago as a bedtime story. “I’ve always been concerned about pets in shelters during the holidays,” he says.

His family has a rescue dog named Rudy, who appears with Kincaid when he’s describing the program to viewers Sunday.

“I hope there’s a wonderful nationwide response,” says Brad Moore, president of Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions. “We hope this is something people want to take action on.”

Moore says Hallmark worked on the new concept with Petfinder, which lists more than 300,000 pets available for adoption on its website. Each group has policies on how to apply to be a foster pet participant and how to care for the pet during one of the busiest times of year, says Kim Saunders, vice president of shelter outreach for Petfinder.

“So many of the pets are there (in shelters) because of a family’s change in lifestyle, either a divorce or having to move,” says Betsy Saul, president and co-founder of Petfinder. “Not because they’re undesirable.”

Above all else, Saul says, shelters need fosters. “The power of fostering is amazing. People are like, ‘How can you give up a dog after you have cared for it and nurtured it?’ But there’s no better feeling … than seeing a dog go off with a family you know is going to love it. That’s a dream come true.”

But Kincaid has a different dream come true: “Maybe many people will decide to keep the dogs.”

If so, a lot of dogs will be warmed by fireplaces for winters to come.

Story courtesy of

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