The Aiken County Animal Shelter's Christmas wish is to have each adoptable animal spend the holidays in a home instead of in a cage.

To that end, the shelter is offering a half-price adoption special through Dec. 31. The cost to adopt either a dog or cat is now $35. Or, if a individual or family is unsure if a pet would make a good addition to their home, the shelter encourages fostering over the Christmas break.

“We're hoping to have every animal spend Christmas in a home,” said Bobby Arthurs, animal control chief enforcement officer. “People tell me how the animal has changed their lives, become their best friend.”

The shelter has a range of dogs – from beagles and labs to bulldogs – of all sizes and ages waiting for their forever homes. There are cats and kittens, too, from tabbies to calicos.

Now is a good time to adopt, but Arthurs advises potential pet owners to think thoroughly about taking home an animal, especially if it's to be a Christmas present. An animal can't be stored away and forgotten about like other gifts once unwrapped, he said.

“Have a plan,” he added. “Or foster. That's a good way to see if that's a match. We want it to work out. There are a lot of responsible people in Aiken County that would like to take an animal.”

Volunteers, like foster parents, are invaluable in socializing animals to make them more adoptable.

Those interested in fostering must fill out an application and are subject to a home inspection.

For more information, call the Aiken County Animal Shelter at 642-1537. It is located at 411 Wire Road.