(WFXR) — Due to slowed adoptions and longer stays for homeless pets, shelters across the country — including two in southwest Virginia — are filled with furry friends that deserve to have a real home this holiday season.
In order to give plenty of pets a chance to go from shelter kennels to cozy couches in loving homes, the BISSELL Pet Foundation is hosting its “Empty the Shelters – Holiday Hope” reduced-fee adoption event from now through Monday, Dec. 20.
During this nationwide event, BISSELL Pet Foundation says it sponsors adoption fees of $25 or less at more than 230 shelters in 41 states and Canada, including the Alleghany Humane Society, Inc. and the Pittsylvania Pet Center.
“Shelters are overcrowded and in desperate need of support due to slowed adoption rates and increased length of stay for pets,” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “With so many people seeking to add pets to their family around this time of year, our ‘Empty the Shelters – Holiday Hope’ event is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in your community by saving a life and creating space to give another homeless pet a chance.”
The Alleghany Humane Society, Inc. announced on Tuesday, Dec. 7 that they have already had their first adoption from the Empty the Shelters event and will continue to offer discounted adoption fees through Dec. 20.
As for the Pittsylvania Pet Center, adoption fees have been dropped to $25 for all animals for the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the pet center has already posted pictures on Facebook of several dogs and cats waiting to be welcomed to their forever home.
The Pittsylvania Pet Center is closed on Mondays, but open from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Ever since the first “Empty the Shelters” event in 2016, the foundation says it has helped 67,758 furry friends find homes across the U.S. and Canada.
“Remember that pets are FOREVER, not just for the holiday season,” the BISSELL Pet Foundation wrote on Facebook ahead of the event. “Please consider the commitment beyond the idea of a pet as a holiday gift. They don’t deserve to end up back at shelter once the holidays have passed!”
If you’re planning on getting or giving a pet as a gift during the holidays, a certified dog trainer for Preventative Vet reminds you of some important things to keep in mind:
- Even though the adoption fees are lowered for pets during the Empty the Shelters event, you still have to pay for food, trips to the vet, toys, grooming supplies, cleaning supplies, and more.
- While you may have more free time to take care of a pet during the holidays, consider how much room you have in your schedule once the new year rolls around.
- The first few months after adopting a pet are very important for establishing bonds, routines, and house rules, so if you have any travel plans coming up during or after the holidays, you might want to wait until afterward to bring the pet home.
- Getting a holiday puppy that needs potty-training means you need to be willing to get up late at night or early in the morning to take the dog outside in the cold.
- Having lots of family members or friends over for the holidays can be overwhelming for a pet who is still adjusting to their new environment, even creating lasting fears or socialization issues for some animals. Houseguests can also bring other hazards, like open doors, luggage to climb into, and the urge to feed table scraps to the pet.
- Rules need to be established for children when it comes to proper handling, petting, and personal space of pets.
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