10 Things to Do If You're Adopting on Clear the Shelters Day

Clear the Shelters Day is coming! This Saturday, shelters around the country will waive adoption fees to help you find your new furry (or feathered or scaly) best friend.

Finding a new family member can be very exciting, but it can also be hectic if you aren't prepared. It's important to know what to expect, especially on Clear the Shelters day, when lots of prospective adopters will be at the shelters.

We talked with Lauren Lipsey, the vice president of Community Programs at D.C.'s Humane Rescue Alliance to get her take on adopting on Clear the Shelters Day and what you need to do before bringing home a pet.

Read on for 10 things to do on adoption day to keep things runnings smooothly:

1. Be patient, and go with a positive attitude.

Clear the Shelters Day gives lots of families the opportunity to meet new pets, which means sometimes lines for adoption are longer than usual. Be prepared to wait in line.

"People need to keep in mind that we are trying to facilitate a lot of adoptions in a very short time span," Lipsey said. "This is more than your average adoption day."

2. Be prepared to stand outside.

Lines could be be long, and depending on the shelter, you may be asked to wait outside. If it's hot, bring water to stay cool. If it's rainy, an umbrella might be a good idea.

3. Bring an ID, and be ready to fill out a questionnaire.

When you arrive at the shelter you’ll be asked to show a photo ID. You'll then fill out a questionnaire that will ask you questions about your home and lifestyle. Shelter staff and shelter volunteers will review the questionnaires to make sure you find a pet that's the perfect fit.

4. Know what kind of pet you're looking for.

The more you know about what type of animal you want to adopt, the smoother the adoption process will go.

Do you want a dog or a cat? Would you prefer an energetic or a relaxed pet? Do you want a puppy or kitten, or would an older animal work better for your family? Lipsey said it's best to think about your schedule, home layout and lifestyle before choosing a pet.

5. Think about transportation.

If you're planning on taking a bus, Metro or Uber or Lyft to the shelter to adopt, make sure you think about how you're going to get your new animal home.

Metro trains and buses do not allow dogs. Uber and Lyft leave the choice up to their drivers. Have a backup plan for how you'll get back home.

6. Be prepared to walk.

Parking might be tight in some shelters, so you may have to park a little farther from the shelter than you normally would. Make sure you're prepared to walk a bit.

7. Be prepared to bring a pet home that day.

Shelters will not hold pets on Clear the Shelters Day, so you'll need to be prepared to bring home your new pet the same day you head to the shelter.

Lipsey said there are a few things you can do to make sure you're ready for your new furry friend.

"Get any and all supplies you might need before that day in anticipation," Lipsey said. Food and water bowls are an absolute must. Also consider purchasing collars, leashes, toys and other items to make your new pet comfortable.

8. Bring a carrier or a leash.

Lipsey said the Humane Rescue Alliance adoption locations will have cardboard cat carriers available for $5. But if you have a carrier, or are planning on getting one for future use, you might consider bringing it for adoption day.

Some shelters may have leashes and collars available for adopted dogs, but go prepared by bringing your own.

9. Be aware that you might still have to pay a small fee.

Clear the Shelters Day means adoption fees will be waived at most shelters. But if you're a resident of D.C., there is a mandatory $15 dog license fee. Make sure you're prepared to pay it.


You're about to make a forever friend in your new rescue pet!

Contact Us