RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Humane Society of the Black Hills is embarking on the first Holiday Dogs program to put 10 shelter dogs into temporary holiday homes for Christmas.

Ten families who meet the criteria will welcome a Humane Society shelter dog into their homes from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26, giving the dog a break from the shelter environment, a chance to socialize with a family, and giving the family a furry friend for the holidays.

“We saw this idea done over Thanksgiving at a Virginia shelter and just knew we had to try it here,” Jacque Harvey, Director of the Humane Society of the Black Hills said. “It’s such a good opportunity for both the dogs and the families that temporarily adopt them to do something different, something special, for Christmas.”

There will be basic guidelines interested families must meet before getting on the list for the Holiday Dog program. For instance, Holiday Dogs can’t be placed in homes with any other animals and the temporary foster families must live in Rapid City or the immediate area.

Those interested in getting involved with the Holiday Dogs program must email Harvey at operations@hsbh.org and will then be directed to the next steps and timelines.

“We’re keeping this first effort simple and putting some controls in place to avoid potential issues,” Harvey said. “However, each animal in the program will be vetted to ensure it has a good disposition to visit a home for the holidays.”

Each year the Humane Society of the Black Hills sees more than 2,000 dogs come through the front door, many in need of care and shelter and almost all in need of a forever home. The Holiday Dogs program will only reach 10 dogs this year but, for those 10, the program will provide a much-appreciated break from their daily routines.

“Many families don’t have pets anymore but still feel that pull to have an animal in the house. This is a good chance to just give back to an animals for a short time,” Harvey said. “You wouldn’t believe what a difference that can make to a shelter dog.”