If there’s a silver lining in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the increase in adoptions and foster families stepping up to take a pet into their home at a time when it's needed the most. After successfully finding forever homes for 3,325 pets in the past month, Bissell Pet Foundation is once again aiming to Empty the Shelters across the country, by appointment only, starting Saturday, May 9 through Sunday, May 17.

Dogs and cats from more than 120 participating organizations will be available for adoption next week for $25, and BPF will sponsor the remainder of the adoption fee. Plus, for one week following this Empty the Shelters promotion, BPF will also cover the same cost for new foster families who fall in love and decide to adopt their pets. All adoptions will be facilitated by appointment only to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Shelters are struggling with decreased foot traffic and fewer available staff and volunteers to care for their animals. As vulnerable populations become ill, pets inevitably will be surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them. The combined impact is devastating for those trying to keep pets alive. BPF is encouraging prospective pet parents to consider adopting from their local shelter or rescue first.

“As a foundation we pivoted quickly to help ensure adoptions continue,” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of Bissell Pet Foundation. “I am extremely proud of our incredible shelter partners who are adapting to this new norm of virtual visits, online paperwork and adoptions facilitated by appointment only.”

More 120 organizations in 32 states are participating, including the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Gun Barrel City. They can be reached a 903-432-3422 or info@hsccl.org. Their website is www.hsccl.org. They are open by appointment only from  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

The Athens Animal Rescue Shelter can be reached at 903-292-1287.

Other participating locations  can be found online at www.bissellpetfoundation.org/ets

Adoptable pets can be found on shelter websites or Facebook pages. Once an online application is submitted for a pet, shelter staff will work with potential adopters to schedule an in-person appointment with social distancing in mind. 

Those who can't adopt right now can support an upcoming virtual walkathon, Walktail, “the Best DOG-GONE Walk in the Country,” which will raise critical funds for shelters and the animals in their care. This is essential to the mission to end pet homelessness amidst the cancellation of scheduled fundraising events due to COVID-19.


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