Courtesy Hazel Harvey Peace Center
At the Fort Worth Animal Shelter in Texas, finding forever homes for all of its 310 cats and dogs—all in one day—seemed like an impossible task. But on July 23, they accomplished exactly that. What happened next made for a picture purr-fect celebration.
That day, the staff posted a special photo and message on their Facebook page to thank all of those who had helped them accomplish their goal. Kayla Francis, a senior animal control officer for the city of Fort Worth, was snapped standing in the middle of a kennel filled with empty cages and holding a handmade sign that read “Thank you” with a heart.
The achievement was just one success story born out of a nationwide initiative called “Clear the Shelters,” organized by NBC and Telemundo, which aims to connect shelter animals with local homes. Nearly 700 shelters across the country participated this year, and more than 45,000 animals were adopted throughout the nation, according to Clear the Shelter’s website.
Typically, the Fort Worth shelter processes about 18 to 20 adoptions per day. At the 2015 Clear the Shelters event, the shelter found homes for 248 of its animals, and this year set a lofty goal of upping that number to 300 adoptions. Exceeding that target at this year’s event emptied their kennels almost completely. Without the barking, meowing, and scratching from its pets, the shelter was eerily quiet by the end of the day. The staff was emotional but overjoyed.
“At the end of the day, the adrenaline rush from seeing all of those empty kennels offset the exhaustion, and it all felt worth it,” Jacque Lickteig, marketing coordinator for the shelter, told huffingtonpost.com. “There were definitely tears of joy and an overwhelming sense of relief.”
Among the thousands of pets who found homes that day, a few of the Fort Worth adoptions were especially heartwarming. Mellen, a 5-year-old Chihuahua mix, was the shelter’s first adoption of the day. After bouncing in and out of the shelter for nearly a year, returned and abandoned by previous owners, the pup developed a sweet attachment to Garrett Guzman, a technician with the shelter. These are items that animal shelters desperately need.
“He would get so excited to see you and then run up to the door of his cage and jump in your arms as soon as you’d open the door,” Guzman told Lickteig. “And he loved to snuggle under his blanket.”
It’s safe to say that Mellen, along with 309 other pets, went home that with his tail wagging.