fbpx Skip to main content

This is what success looks like: A message from Cathy Bissell, founder of BPF.

On Saturday April 29th, BISSELL Pet Foundation hosted its 5th EMPTY THE SHELTERS (ETS) and we are thrilled that ETS is growing, gaining traction and getting better every time.  Last Saturday’s event was the largest and most collaborative yet with 66 shelters participating, 1571 pets adopted on ETS day, and 1060 more adopted in the week leading up to ETS.  EMPTY THE SHELTERS is a success in every way we had originally hoped and dreamed.

Our friends at Detroit Animal Care and Control

First, we have seen success with our partner organizations building relationships and supporting each other.  One year ago, as Detroit Animal Care and Control was trying to grow its transfer program, we encouraged their overworked staff to make the long drive to an ETS meeting in Grand Rapids to connect with other Michigan partners.  They shared their challenges of taking in as many as 25 stray dogs each day and started building partnerships to save lives.  Within the last year, they have successfully transferred thousands of great pets across the state with help from relationships built through ETS.  This is just one example of how ETS has positively impacted our partners.

Kevin and Decklan

Success is also seen in the pre-event adoption numbers across the state.  Traffic at shelters increased in the week leading up to our previous ETS days, but last week exceeded our expectations.  People are understanding the importance of choosing adoption.  Some visit a shelter the week before ETS to see the available pets and end up falling so in love with a pet that they can’t risk waiting for the event.  For others, just learning about the ETS opens their hearts and makes them realize that they can afford the fee, so they chose not to wait.  ETS gives people the opportunity to consider bringing a shelter pet into their life.

On the day of the event, we saw the success of pets going to the right homes.  For those of you who are worried, each organization follows their adoption protocols during ETS just like they would any other day. ETS adopters send us pictures of pets in their loving homes, and both we and the shelters follow up with adopters to understand how their transition went.  We see pets literally picking the people who take them home, like this young boy and his adorable new dog, Kevin.

Volunteer from Oakland Animal Services crying happy tears for Coco

Devon is all smiles after finding his forever home.

During ETS, we witnessed the success of shelters never giving up.  Devon had come to ETS in October and didn’t get adopted, but did on Saturday because our friends at Wishbone knew he deserved a loving home and cared for him until the time was right.  Our partners at the Humane Society of Huron Valley didn’t give up on Ann who had been in their shelter for 18 months waiting for her forever friend to see beyond her shyness and give her a chance.  Shelter workers know in their hearts that these happy endings are possible and they wait patiently.  They shed tears of joy as the pets they have cared for and prayed for finally get a second chance in the home they were meant to have. Success is the overwhelming joy to be part of a movement that gets animals from cages to homes, whether you are a volunteer, a shelter worker or an adopter.

These successes are why we do what we do.  In just one year, we have made nearly 5000 adoptions possible in 6 states thanks to EMPTY THE SHELTERS. We can’t do this without your help.   Please consider making a donation to BISSELL Pet Foundation to bring EMPTY THE SHELTERS to more locations to save more lives.  100% of your donation will go directly to help pets in rescues and shelters.  Every donor, every dollar and every day counts.

Until every pet has a home,

Cathy Bissell