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Finding ‘furever’ homes: Clear the Shelters Day hopes to help dogs, cats get adopted

Finding ‘furever’ homes: Clear the Shelters Day hopes to help dogs, cats get adopted

Finding ‘furever’ homes: Clear the Shelters Day hopes to help dogs, cats get adopted
August 21
17:03 2018

A volunteer sat at the entrance of Collin County Animal Services from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and greeted every person who came in with a friendly smile. That friendly smile was followed up with a simple question: “Cat or dog?”

The “cat” people were directed to a volunteer cat adopter, and the “dog” people were asked to walk around the building outside to the dog area.

By 11:30 a.m., only one puppy was left up for adoption.

On Saturday, Aug. 18, 62 North Texas animal shelters participated in Clear the Shelters Day in partnership with NBC-owned television stations and the Telemundo Station Group. On Clear the Shelters Day, each participating animal shelter aims to, quite literally, adopt out every animal in the shelter to leave it empty or cleared out by waiving adoption fees.

“The energy is super high,” said 39-year-old Kristene Gonzalez, a Clear the Shelters Day volunteer. “We’re all here to try to get the animals homes, so we all get really excited to make the right matches for our animals. It’s pretty cool.”

Gonzalez said for some, it may be a concern that dogs and cats are available free for adoption because they may go to a bad home, but she is confident the volunteers stop that from happening.

“Our volunteer team at this particular shelter go through orientation and training,” Gonzalez said. “We make sure our adoption counselors are well-versed on what questions to ask to make the right matches for the homes.”

Kaley Robbins, Animal Control officer for Collin County Animal Services in McKinney, first found out about Clear the Shelters Day back in 2014 from a member from the Irving Animal Control.

“We were very excited about this idea, hoping that it would bring in a lot of [potential owners] for all the animals here that have been waiting for their ‘furever’ homes,” Robbins said.

The Collin County Animal Services has been participating in Clear the Shelters Day for five consecutive years now. On its inaugural year for the event, the shelter started out with 115 available animals at the beginning of the event and ended with four animals. Every year since then has proven to be a success.

This year, the Collin County Animal Services started with 62 adoptable dogs and 23 cats.

A volunteer emphasizing “DOGS” at Collin County Animal Services which reached maximum capacity during this month. Emily Olkkola

To prepare the animals for Clear the Shelters Day, the Collin County Animal Services made sure all animals had been vetted. This includes being spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated for rabies, tested for heartworm and completed the first round of preventative vaccinations.

After all of the pets heal from surgeries, they are groomed.

“Last but not least, we make sure they have plenty of love until the big day,” Robbins said.

Robbins said she loves seeing the animals get adopted during Clear the Shelters Day.

“My favorite memory associated with Clear The Shelters Day is when some of the long-timers we have walk out of the front doors tail waggin’, tongue hanging out,” Robbins said. “I swear you can see a smile on some of these dogs’ faces as they look up at their new family knowing that they will get to sleep in a warm bed in a loving home for the rest of their days.”

Science teacher Catherine McKoy, 32, heard about Clear the Shelters Day first through Channel 5 News and then through Facebook.

Catherine ended up adopting a dog named Lola with her two kids, 8-year-old Malik McKoy and 6-year-old Jeremiah McKoy.

“[I adopted her because of] how she responded with the kids,” Catherine said. “We also have another dog at home, and [Lola’s relaxed] temperament — how she’s not too jumpy — [works] because our other dog is not one of those playful, energetic dogs. I need a dog that’s calm, kind of like him.”

Even though the adoption fee is waived during Clear the Shelters Day, Robbins said it is important to remember that a pet requires a lot of responsibility if one chooses to adopt

Science teacher Catherine Mckoy, 32, her children, Jeremiah McKoy, 6, and Malik McKoy, 8, petting their newly adopted dog, Lola, from Collin County Animal Services during Clear the Shelters Day at Collin County Animal Services in McKinney. Emily Olkkola

“Owning a pet is still a big responsibility that involves a financial commitment,” Robbins said. “Our goal is not to simply clear the shelter, but to build perfect families one adoption at a time.”

Robbins hopes that some of the longest residents at the Collin County Animal Services get adopted, including Kuddles, who has been at the shelter for eight months, and Seth, who has been there for five.

“Benefits of [Clear the Shelters Day] is mostly for the long timers — the animals that have been waiting day in and day out for that special family to look at them in their kennel and see the potential that many have skipped over for so long,” Robbins said.

Featured Image: A volunteer and an adoptable dog cuddling during Clear the Shelters Day at Collin County Animal Services in McKinney, Texas. Emily Olkkola

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Emily Olkkola

Emily Olkkola

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