Clear The Shelters Day is coming up on August 17! The goal? To clear out your local animal shelter and get all those furry four-legged pals into their furever homes! To help make this the best Clear The Shelters Day yet, we want to share our tips on how you can help clear your own local animal shelter on Saturday! 

1. Foster A Pup In Need

Many dogs get stressed in the shelter environment. As a result, their behavior ends up deteriorating and once-polite pups can suddenly become problematic pooches.

Since many dogs behave much better in foster homes, they become more eligible for adoption when potential adopters show up to meet your foster. You basically become a shelter dog’s publicist, doing your best to get your foster dog adopted into his loving furever home!

Consider opening your home to a foster dog and showing them what life is like in a real, loving home. You could make all the difference for the stressed-out shelter pooch!

2. Volunteer At Your Local Animal Shelter
Shelters can be very stressful, overwhelming places for both dogs and humans! You can be a huge help by volunteering (especially on the weekends) and guiding potential adopters around the shelter. 

Most shelters are pretty short-staffed, so not all potential adopters who walk through the doors will get hands-on attention. This is a shame since people are much more likely to adopt a dog when a volunteer is there to help answer questions.

If you can make it in to volunteer on Clear the Shelters day, look for lost looking visitors and see if you can help them! Even better, ask visitors what kind of qualities they are looking for in a dog and help direct them to a few dogs that you know would be a good fit! 

You can be a huge help in helping people adopt the best dog who matches their lifestyle and needs. We have a dog adoption scorecard in our Dog Adoption Guide that can help with narrowing down potential doggie pals – it’s a great resource to share with anyone thinking about bringing home a new pooch. 
While you probably don’t have time to ask guests to use the scorecard on Clear the Shelters day, you can at least prepare by keeping in mind some of the most-requested dog qualities:

  • Cat-friendly
  • Dog-friendly
  • Kid-friendly
  • Jogging pal
  • Can be left alone for 5-8 hours

Try to keep a little list of shelter dogs who meet a few of those requirements, since many visitors come in with some of these dog criteria (and unfortunately, finding a dog who can meet all of those needs is pretty rare).
3. Spread The Word On Social Media
Tons of owners first learn about their furry friend on social media! It’s true when they say a photo is worth 1,000 words, and when one of your social media followers or friends looks into the eyes of that sweet shelter pup you posted on Instagram, they are helpless to resist!

If you’re regularly volunteering, be sure to post pics of your favorite shelter pets when you come across a real charmer.

Also, make sure to let your friends and followers know about Clear The Shelters Day! Be sure to tag your local animal shelter (or even post the address of the shelter so people know exactly where to go) to make it as easy as possible to get potential adopters in the door for August 17th!!

4. Take Quality Photos To Improve A Dog’s Profile
Most shelter pets don’t have the best online profile pics.  Many times a shelter dog’s photo is taken when the animal first comes in: they’re scared, dirty and not feeling like their best selves. 

A great shelter dog social media post may charm a viewer, but only if that photo is a flattering pic of the pooch!

If you’ve ever had to download an online dating app, you know photos really make a difference. Just look at these two photos below – which dog would you be more interested in visiting at the shelter?

If you’re a professional (or amateur) pet photographer, you can use your photography skills to capture shelter dogs in the best light possible, showing off their unique personality! A beautiful photo can be the catalyst that drives a potential adopter into the shelter to meet with the pooch they were smitten with online.

Will you be visiting your local shelter on August 17? How do you hope to make this a great Clear The Shelters Day? 

About the Author: Meg Marrs is the Founder of K9 of Mine, a website devoted to helping owners take the very best care of their fur friends.

Shelter operators: Sign up for a free 14-day trial of DOGTV and play it for the dogs in your care. The programming just might help the dogs relax and that could help them get adopted!