Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas -- Last Saturday in Dallas-Fort Worth, eager fans camped overnight in tents, and lined up around buildings to get free admission to a life-changing event--finding a furry, forever friend to join their home and their family.
While summer for most people means fun under the sun, family vacations, and kids out of school, for animal shelters nationwide it means an influx of new animals. Every summer, spring kittens and puppies become unwanted mouths to feed, people abandon or surrender their pets to move or take long vacations, and unprepared pet owners lose panicked pets fleeing fireworks. For many shelters, the response to this overcrowding is to kill more animals each day. Others, however, have huge adoption events and try to find loving homes for the pets in their care.
Last Saturday, 33 Dallas-Fort Worth Area shelters participated in Empty the Shelter Day, an event designed to reduce the summer overcrowding at these shelters. According to the Dallas News, “Irving Animal Services manager Corey Price and the city’s communications manager, Meribeth Sloan, coordinated the new regional adoption drive.” Price sent emails to 10 cities, who all agreed to participate. He told the Dallas News, “It spread by word of mouth and grew from there.”
To maximize the number of adoptions during this one-day event, each shelter agreed to waive adoption fees for most of their animals. This prompted some eager adopters to camp out in tents the night before, to get first pick at the available pets. Others lined up around their shelter’s building the morning of the event, waiting for it to open. By the end of the day, municipal and non-profit animal shelters in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area had adopted out 2,217 animals.
While they may not be as glamorous, for one special day, these forgotten animals drew crowds like rock stars, and thousands of families became lifelong fans. Price summed it up best when he told the Dallas News, “It warms my heart that we had so many shelters that wanted to do this. This is about saving lives.”