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Pinellas County, Florida --Before the holidays, the call went out to the community from Pinellas County Animal Services to clear out the kennels.

By the end of the day on Dec. 23, the dog adoption area was empty, thanks to foster parents who brought a pet home for the holidays to give them some love and care.

Being a special member of the foster care team at Animal Services requires foster application, training and approval. The next training session will be offered on Saturday, Jan. 11, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. Attendance at both classes is required and a general volunteer orientation will be included. Participants must be over the age of 18.

Volunteers interested in becoming a foster parent will work directly with the adoption coordinator and the medical staff.

The foster care program provides free training in:

  • the ABCs of fostering
  • basic cleaning, feeding and caring of the animals,
  • feline upper respiratory information
  • emergencies procedures.

Foster care plays an important role at Pinellas County Animal Services, serving pets that need time away from the shelter, puppies and kittens too young for adoption, pets recovering from surgery or illness, adult cats with medical issues, and pets requiring socialization skills that can only be learned in a home environment.

Consider the training if you have a:

  • gnuine concern for the welfare of our animals and consistent with the philosophy of Pinellas County Animal Services
  • willingness to be compassionate to special needs animals
  • commitment to follow all foster policies and directives as required by the adoption coordinator
  • valid driver's license and your own car for transport of foster animals to and from shelter
  • willingness to attend a foster meeting every six months at the shelter.

For an application and information, go towww.pinellascounty.org/animalservices/volunteer.htm

Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Normal hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the adoption center closing at 5:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and services include adoptions. Rabies vaccinations are administered on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. The facility is closed all Pinellas County holidays.

For information on how to adopt, donate or volunteer, join Pinellas County Animal Services on Facebook. To learn more about the shelter, visitwww.pinellascounty.org/animalservices, or call (727) 582-2600. The lost or found pets hotline is (727) 582-2604. Videos and audio specials about pet services can be found onwww.youtube.com/pcctv1.

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