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Clear the Shelters day is August 17th, and animal shelters around the country are hoping to get more shelter pets into their forever homes than ever before!

To celebrate and Support shelters in this valiant goal, we’re sharing five ways you can help your own local shelter for Clear the Shelters day on Saturday!

1. Photograph Shelter Pets To Show Their Good Sides!

We can’t all be award-winning photographers, but if you do have photography experience, you can give shelter pets a serious profile upgrade. 

Most shelter pets don’t have the greatest photos in the world on their public profiles. Many dogs have their photos taken when they first are taken in at the animal shelter. When dogs first arrive, they are usually pretty scared, unhappy, and sometimes dirty and skinny to boot. 

Professional (or even amateur pet photographers starting off their careers) can use their photo skills to take flattering shots of canines in need. A good photographer can do more than shoot a well-lit and focused photo – they can perfectly capture a pup’s one-of-a-kind personality and individual character!


Source: Pixabay

A winning photo can make a viewer fall in love with a pup or kitty, grabbing their attention and getting them to visit the shelter to meet the pet they’ve fallen head over heels for.

Don’t have a fancy DSLR camera? You can do a lot with a camera phone these days, and if you follow these beginner tips, you may be surprised with how well your spur-of-the-moment photo shoot goes! 

  • Get low! Rather than shooting down from above the dog, get on the dog’s level so you can get up close and personal.
  • Hold up those treats. Hold a tasty (and preferably stinky) treat right above your camera or phone lens so that the dog is (almost) looking right into the camera.
  • Try a toy. Some dogs can get a bit camera shy. Whip out their favorite chew toy and start playing around to get them to relax. Don’t be afraid to capture some shots of the pup chomping down on his or her favorite toy – these kinds of photos can be really charming and show the dog’s fun-loving side!

2. Volunteer Your Time at the Shelter to Help Visitors

Most animal shelters are already short staffed, and on Clear the Shelters day, they’ll be even more swamped than usual. If you have some free time, try to stop by your local shelter and see what you can do to help out – especially if you’re already an existing volunteer and have some familiarity with the facility. 

Many shelters will be in desperate need of additional greeters and helpers on Clear the Shelters day. Do your best to show visitors around and help them get the lay of the land. If you have any favorite pups or cats you want to advocate for, talk them up to guests!

Try to find out what kind of pet the visitors are looking for – do they want a cat or a dog? A large or small dog?  Any certain breeds they are looking for? What kind of criteria do they need the pet to meet? 

At K9 of Mine we actually have a dog adoption guide that includes a dog trait checklist adopters can use to score and rate various canine adoption candidates. While it may seem strange, having a pet scorecard to evaluate and narrow down the huge number of shelter pets available can be really helpful, especially for folks visiting larger city intake shelters.

While you probably won’t be able to get too customized on Clear the Shelters day, try to keep in mind any dogs that meet the most-requested criteria of: 

  • Cat-friendly
  • Dog-friendly
  • Kid-friendly
  • House trained
  • Can be left reliably alone

If you can advocate for certain pooches, would-be adopters will be much more likely to take them home!

3. Share the Shelter-Clearing Action on Social Media!

Make sure to get the word out about Clear the Shelters day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media networks you frequent!

If you’re spending the day in the trenches, post images of your favorite shelter pets and tag your local animal shelter to get them some added publicity. If you’re up for it, try adding the street address of your neighborhood shelter right in your post to make it super easy for potential local adopters to get in those shelter doors!

4. Put Up Posters For Your Favorite Shelter Dog

If you frequently volunteer at your local animal shelter, this is a good time to advocate for your favorite shelter pets (especially the long stay guys). 

While social media continues to be a powerful avenue for promoting shelter pets, don’t discount the old school strategy of posting flyers! Put up shelter pets’ promotional posters around local community centers, schools, libraries, etc.

These bright, colorful posters really capture attention and can show off shelter pets’ unique characteristics and quirks. In many cases, helping pets get into their forever homes is about getting them seen. Pets who get noticed the most are the ones who get adopted the quickest!

5. Bring a Foster Pet Into Your Home (Temporarily)

Many dogs get stressed out by the shelter – no wonder, it’s a pretty hectic place! Unfortunately, when dogs are stressed, their behavior tends to get worse. This is why fostering is so important – many dogs will behave much better in homes than they do in the shelter. 

Since dogs in foster homes are better behaved, they tend to show a lot better for meet-and-greets with potential adopters, which increases their chances of adoption. Simply offering your home can be a great way to help a shelter dog get adopted!

Dog Resting

Source: Pixabay

If you have some dog training experience (or are willing to learn by attending the free training classes that many shelters offer volunteers or by watching free dog training videos online), you can try working with your foster dog to polish their basic commands and manners.

Individuals are usually more inclined to bring home a dog that can follow some basic commands like sit, lie down, and stay.

How do you plan on celebrating Clear the Shelters day? Will you be helping out your local shelter?

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