Got questions about Clear The Shelters and who the people are who adopt at this event? Are you worried that shelters are giving pets away to dog fighters to be used as bait dogs or to satanists for torture? Well, take it from me, that’s not the case at all.
Sure, The first year I volunteered at Clear The Shelters, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew I had to see for myself. And I was very glad I did, and pleasantly surprised.
The people standing in line in the heat for hours to adopt a pet were overwhelmingly entire families, lovely young couples, and senior citizens. That trend continued in 2015, and again yesterday.
Clear The Shelters is the day where kids who have been clamoring for a pet for years finally get one. It is the day when the entire family comes to the shelter to make sure they get the pet that is right for them. It is the day when whole families get up at 5 am, make breakfast tacos, and camp out in front of the shelter for hours to be the first in the door. Clear The Shelters is the day where people wait an hour or more in the heat just to get in the door, then another hour in line to complete the paperwork. It is the day when senior citizens on a fixed income are able to come and get a little dog or fluffy kitty to keep them company. It is the day when many children begin to learn the responsibility and commitment it takes to properly care for another life. It’s the day before the night when children first learn the joy of sharing their beds with the cute kitten or puppy they dreamed of.
Clear The Shelters is the day when people keep coming, and keep adopting, even after all the free pets are gone, even if they have to pay a fee, even if the pet they want is still on stray hold, and even if they can’t take their pet home that day. Clear The Shelters is the day when people learn what we do in animal welfare, and the challenges we face. It is the day when all fee-waived pets are already altered, vaccinated, and micro-chipped. It is the day when people are told right up front that these pets are not to be yard dogs, tethered, neglected or handled inappropriately. It is the day when everyone is reminded that we have the right to deny any adoption that we are uncomfortable with, and that as the current guardians of these pets, we strive to make decisions in their best interests.
Clear The Shelters is the day when 65 volunters from DAS and DCAP supplement the DAS staff; when Animal Control Officers are stationed in the parking lot and in the main lobby to greet adopters; when Animal Control Officers are undercover throughout the facility keeping an eye on things, and when 65 DAS and DCAP volunteers supplement our ad0ption staff and get to know our guests. It’s the day when everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
Clear The Shelters is the day when the kennels are empty and hallways quiet; when thousands of pets finally get forever homes; when thousands of lives are saved. That’s a good day.