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Empty the Shelters

Empty the Shelters

Finding a loving, forever home for every pet is the ultimate goal of BISSELL Pet Foundation. Sometimes our furry friends need a little extra help, and that’s why we created EMPTY THE SHELTERS free adoption days. BPF pays all the adoption fees during these events to encourage prospective pet owners to choose adoption first.

Shelter animals live a hard life.  Some of them were given up by previous families, were found wandering the streets, or were born in the shelter. Some of them have been there for months before someone decides to adopt and others last only hours.  I found that people were deterred from purchasing shelter animals because of a few reasons, such as wanting a specific breed and age or thinking shelter animals are costlier than buying an animal from a breeder.  In fact, there are many rescues that are specific to certain breeds and have all different ages and when you adopt a rescue they have all their vaccinations, are spayed/neutered, and usually microchipped.  Most of the costs associated with a new pet are already taken care of when you adopt!

I would think daily about the importance of spreading the phrase, “Adopt, Don’t Shop.”  How could I get more people into shelters to see the abundance of wonderful dogs that need homes?  Then it occurred to me, what if BISSELL Pet Foundation could cover the adoption costs? Would more people be intrigued? We thought of all the possible scenarios before ultimately deciding that, yes, good people will come visit these shelters and fall in love with the animals and want to bring them home.  Every person that comes to an Empty the Shelters event is vetted the same way they would be any other day of the week. The organizations look at their family, their home/work life, their kids, any other pets, income, etc. What we found was that people who have been on the fence about getting a pet, not because they can’t afford the adoption fees, but because they haven’t been motivated, come out to Empty the Shelters to be a part of the action and because this is their “why not” moment.


Our first Empty the Shelters was a state-wide event on May 6, 2016 in Michigan. It was very successful – over 600 pets were adopted in a single day.  And, we’ve more than doubled that at events since. We also see huge success leading up to Empty the Shelters because there are some animals that people consider for weeks before making the decision to adopt. The event forces people to make a decision because, if they wait too long, they know that the dog they’ve been considering will go to another home.  For every pet that is adopted, another animal is saved who gets to take that spot in the shelter. Since our first Empty the Shelters event we have done five more, from Michigan to California and Arizona. On September 12, Empty the Shelters is heading to New York! We cannot wait!



To see results from past events or find out when the next event is happening make sure to check out our website



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Tips to Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy This Summer
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