How you can bring comfort and joy to Houston animal shelters (and your home) this holiday season

This little pup needs a forever home. (Best Friends Animal Society.)

It is hard not to smile while watching a kitten frolic among the wrapping and bows, or feel filled with comfort and contentment as a dog snuggles up to you on the couch and rests their soft head on your lap while you watch your favorite holiday movie. Anyone with a pet in their life knows that it is moments like these you experience the happiness and pure joy only a pet can provide. What a gift!

This joy-filled experience that pets bring is not a fleeting occurrence. In fact, the mood-boosting power of pets in our lives is scientifically proven. Even reputable sources, like the National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, recognize that pets have this magical ability to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, ease loneliness and encourage playfulness.

Now after the pandemic years that we have had and all the emotion that comes with the holidays, who couldn’t use a little more joy in their life?

You need to look no further than your local animal shelter. They are brimming with pets filled with joy, just waiting to meet you.

So, if you are looking this holiday season to bring a little more joy into your life, consider adopting one (or two) of the thousands of cats, dogs, puppies and kittens throughout the greater Houston area patiently waiting to meet you at Harris County Animal Shelter, BARC (City of Houston Animal Shelter), Montgomery Animal Shelter, Ft. Bend Animal Services Center, Rosenberg Animal Shelter, Baytown Animal Services and Adoption Center or through Best Friends in Houston.

“When you adopt or foster one of the thousands of pets in our community in need of home, not only will you experience the joy that cat or dog will bring you, but you can also delight in knowing that you made a lifesaving difference for that pet,” said Carrie Lalonde, Houston Lifesaving Program Manager, Best Friends Animal Society.

The Joy to Your World “Adopt and Deliver” promotion will run Dec. 17-25. Those who finalize their adoption of a Best Friends pet during this time period will be eligible to receive a special delivery of their adopted pet by Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

If you are unable to adopt, you can still experience the joy that comes with knowing you helped local pets in need in our Houston community in these ways:

Give a shelter animal a gift: Bring a little joy and enrichment to a homeless pet this holiday season by purchasing an item from Best Friends’ Amazon wish list or making a donation on behalf of Houston pets in need.

Give the gift of time: In the spirit of the season consider “gifting” your time as a volunteer or foster. Volunteers are such a valuable resource to animal shelters providing daily enrichment to animals. Best Friends is also seeking individuals or families that can temporarily open their home to a pet in need for a few weeks until they can be placed in adoptive homes. Best Friends provides foster orientation, 24-7 support, free supplies and any necessary medical care free of charge for the foster pet for the duration of their stay in your home.

Spread the word: Follow Best Friends in Houston on Facebook and Instagram.

Use @BFAS_Houston to share stories of adoptable pets at Best Friends or local network shelter partners.

To learn more about becoming a foster or to volunteer with the Best Friends Houston program, email

To view adoptable pets and to learn more about the adopt & deliver promotion, click or tap here.