The biggest, most exciting adoption event of the year is back!

On Saturday, August 17, the Lawrence Humane Society is teaming up with Hill’s Science Diet and NBCUniversal and participating in Clear the Shelters, a nationwide adoption event unlike any other. The goal? To find a healthy, loving home for every single pet available for adoption

That’s a lot of pets, you might be saying to yourself. Yep! It is! This year, more than 900 shelters are participating, with the goal of finding homes for more than 80,000 pets … in just one day!

At the Lawrence Humane Society, we’re doing everything we can to clear our shelter by finding homes for every adoptable pet in our care! We opening early at 10:00 am … and our partners Petco on Iowa, PetSmart on Iowa, and PetSmart on Bauer Farms will also be participating in this major event…and we’re WAIVING FEES for all of our pets!

That’s right! There’s no fee to adopt for one day only, and you still get all of the great benefits that come with any Lawrence Humane adoption, including:

Plus, to celebrate your new best friend, all dogs will leave with a brand new collar and leash, and cats will go home in a cardboard carrier!

Clear the Shelter Day is unlike any other day. 

Here are eight things you should know about this event before you arrive:

#1: Be pawsome to one another.

Hundreds of humans join us every year for Clear the Shelter Day. Last year, amazing community members helped us find homes for more than 220 pets! It was heartwarming to see all of the pet lovers looking for — and finding! — their new best friends!

It was also pretty darn busy. And we guess it’ll be even busier this year. 

Because of the huge numbers of humans who show up to take advantage of this amazing event, it’ll likely take longer than usual to meet a pet and complete your adoption. Please be patient with our staff and volunteers, and with other adopters, as we work to make sure everyone finds their new furry family member and has a great adoption experience!

#2: Adoptions are first-come, first-served … so get here early.

If you have your heart set on a particular four-legged friend, we can’t guarantee the pet of your choice will be available after you’ve made it through the line. We do not hold pets on Clear the Shelter Day or all week leading up to the big event. And adoptions are on a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier you arrive to the shelter, the better your place in line, improving your chances of getting the pet of your choice. Some people have even been known to arrive at 3 am and camp out for their spot in line. We will be adding more pets as others are whisked away to their new homes, so be sure to stay current with our website.

#3: Plan for the weather to be … well … Kansas weather.

You know what we’re talking about. As we write this (on Tuesday), Saturday’s forecast calls for weather to be partly cloudy and in the high-80s. But in our great state, who knows what’ll happen this weekend. We will tell you that all of our meet-and-greet areas for dogs and our waiting areas for the event are outdoors, so wear sunscreen and bring hats or umbrellas to protect against the sun’s rays (or rain). Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated, too.

#4: We love your furry family members, but please leave them at home.

Due to the crowds and limited space, we won’t be able to perform dog introductions during the Clear the Shelter Day event, so please leave your resident pets at home. Dog greets in a shelter environment can be stressful enough for the pups, but take into consideration the hundreds of humans wandering around and all the excitement and BOW-WOW! Not only is it infinitely more stressful for your dog and our shelter pup — the level of stress in that type of environment won’t give us an accurate read on the dog introduction.

While we know that bringing home a new dog when you have another pooch in the home that hasn’t met your pup can stress you out, research shows that a properly staged introduction outside of the shelter environment can be more successful than an introduction at the shelter and can increase the chance of a positive introduction income. All adopters will be provided with step-by-step instructions on how to properly introduce your new pet to your resident pet, and our staff is always here to help if you have questions!

Want to look into how to facilitate successful introductions before you arrive? Download our handouts in advance:

#5: Make sure you’ve got everything (and everybody) with you!

In order to adopt, you must be at least 18 years old, and provide a valid, government-issued photo ID. We also encourage you to bring along other humans in your household that will interact with your new best friend on a regular basis.

#6: Help us share the love with as many humans as possible!

To help as many families as possible find their new furry family members, Clear the Shelter Day adoptions will be limited to one per household.

#7: Think about what type of pet you’re interested in before you arrive.

What furry companion would best suit your lifestyle? A couch potato? A running buddy? A cat that will snuggle on your lap every evening?

Talk with the family members who will be investing their time and energy in your new pet and come to a decision before you arrive about the traits that are most important to you. Knowing the type of personality you’re looking for before you arrive will help you make the most of your Clear the Shelter Day experience.

You are more than welcome to come visit our pets in advance of the event — just know that they may be adopted before Saturday! Also, please be aware that we will be closed on Friday, August 16, in order to prepare for the event.

#8: If you can’t adopt, consider helping us save more lives!

Adoption fees help cover animal care costs for the more than 4,100 pets we receive every year, but they don’t cover the full cost of care. When you make a donation, you’re directly helping our shelter dogs and cats by providing medical attention, behavioral rehabilitation, and care. If you’d like to support the life-changing and life-saving work we do, please click here to make a donation.

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