Clear the Shelters day is coming up on Saturday! The goal is to get all the shelter pups across the country adopted! Let’s all make this an epic day of adoption, here are some recommendations on how you can help get your own local shelter cleared out!
1. Volunteer on Clear the Shelters Day (& Other Weekends Too)!
Most shelters are woefully short staffed, run in large part by volunteers or staff members who can barely make ends meet! As a result, most shelters are stretched thin when it comes to shelter greeters, and it’s not usually possible for shelter staff to provide all visitors with adequate attention.
The problem is; shelters can be as stressful for humans as they are for the animals!
For new shelter visitors, having a volunteer free to guide them around the shelter and show them a few favorite four-legged candidates can make a big difference.
Try to find out what kind of pet would best match the family’s lifestyle and desires- do they want a little or big dog? Any certain breeds they’re after? What kind of traits are they looking for (good with kids? High-energy? Low Energy? Apartment-friendly?)
For Clear the Shelters day, do your best to keep a quick cheat sheet list of dogs that meet the most-requested criteria (Cheat sheets tend to have categories such as: house-trained, kid-friendly, dog-friendly, cat-friendly, and can be left alone). While there probably aren’t many (or any) shelter pets that will match all of those criteria, there are probably several that fulfill at least a couple of them.
If visitors come in but just aren’t quite ready to commit, you can suggest that they really do some soul searching about what kind of cat or canine they want in their lives. The website K9ofmine.com, has a dog adoption guide that includes a dog trait scorecard that would-be adopters can utilize to evaluate and score possible adoptees. It might sound strange, however, having a scorecard to score various adoption candidates can really help narrow down the selection and make choosing a shelter pet a much more manageable endeavor.
2. Post on Social Media That Now’s the Time to Adopt!
People online love shelter pets (to be fair, who doesn’t?). Make sure to spread the word about Clear the Shelters day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media network you frequent!
Be sure to tag your local animal shelter and even post photos of some of the Clear the Shelters day action happening on site, if you can. Remind your followers that the goal today is to get as many pets adopted as possible!
Many shelters are also running discounted adoption fees (or even no adoption fees at all)! If money has been a factor in the past, it doesn’t have to be on the 17th!
3. Remind Your Friends and Family Members
Yes, it’s true that social media is a powerful tool, but it’s still no substitute for good ol’ fashioned word of mouth! If you have friends or family members who have been toying with the idea of adopting, now is the time to give them a gentle nudge.
No one is advocating pressuring folks into taking on a responsibility they aren’t ready for, but if all their ducks are already in a row, Clear the Shelters day is a great time to bring home a new friend!
4. Post Flyers to Promote Your Favorite Pets
If you regularly volunteer at a neighborhood shelter, you probably have gotten to know a handful of dogs or kitties who have captured your heart. You’d bring them home if you could, but you can’t. Well, you can do the next best thing - help get them into a loving furever home!
Show off your favorite shelter pets by giving them their own colorful flyers broadcasting all their best traits (whether they are pro snugglers, great home alarm system, or high-octane running buddies)!
Pin up those flyers before Clear the Shelters day if you can (although this is still a great strategy for getting any shelter pet adopted or for promoting a foster pet). Some pet-pondering passerby might see your poster and fall in love!
5. Ask Your Vet’s Office to Spread the Word
Many families aren’t single-pet households (or at least don’t stay that way for long). A lot of owners choose to have two or more pets in their household for double the fur and double the fun!
Everyone who visits a vet’s office likely has an existing pet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not up for adding another furry family member to the pack! Call your vet’s office and ask if they’ve been telling folks about Clear the Shelters day. You could even ask if the office would allow you to post flyers promoting the event, or some of the pet profile flyers mentioned above.
It’s important to remember that any new canine should be safely be introduced to the resident dog before signing off on those adoption papers. Most shelters have a behaviorist or two on staff that have experience managing dog on dog introductions.
Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for a new and existing dog to really get the hang of each other. At least a bit of frustration and annoyance is bound to ensue, especially if you’re introducing a new puppy to an older resident dog. Just be patient and give both dogs time to adjust. They may end up best buds. Or it might not work out. Either way is fine, so long as you have given it a fair shot!
Written by our friend Megan, Founder of K9 of Mine. You can find more information about adopting a shelter pet and other helpful pet care tips at her website K9ofmine.com.