The Country Kittens’ Clear the Shelters Day Adventure
Korea, Costa and Panama
Clear the Shelters is an annual pet adoption drive where hundreds of shelters all around the country team up to help find loving homes for animals in need. This year’s event was held on August 18, 2018. One of the main selling points is that the participating shelters offer reduced or waived adoption fees.
If you’ve never adopted before, you might wonder why shelters charge adoption fees. If one of their primary goals is to place as many animals in good homes as possible, wouldn’t giving them away for free be easier?
Well, it’s not that simple.
For one, there is so much money (and work!) that goes into the animal before it gets to the adopter. The vetting, medicine, vaccines, food, litter and the spay/neutering cost a small fortune. The adoption fee can help offset some of these costs, even if it’s only a couple of cases of food.
The other main reason is that the fee is there to protect the animal. Although the shelters do have processes to qualify potential adopters, there are horror stories of some very bad people in this world who take advantage of “Free to a Good Home” animals.
If I’m being totally honest, I had reservations about this event because of the waived adoption fees. The main reason is because “FREE!” encourages impulsivity and can lead to irrational decision-making*. I’m personally a sucker for free stuff and find myself saying “yes” to things before I’ve figured out if I even want them. Adopting a pet is a serious decision. For kittens, you are committing to 20 years of your life to care for them. I was worried that people would be lured by “free” and not fully think through the money and care that goes along with having a pet.
But then I realized that, while those worries were possibilities, there were many positive reasons for holding an event like this:
- During this time of year, rescues and shelters are SO overwhelmed with the number of animals in their population. They must make hard decisions too, most of them involving an allocation of very limited resources. A sad reality is that there are never enough adopters or foster homes to save every animal and it’s a way to reduce the high populations during kitten seasons without the use of euthanasia. I think this event does a really good job of doing what it is meant to do – and that is, clearing the shelters!
- Since this a national event, it’s highly publicized and marketed everywhere. It’s a great way to get people in the door.
- Lastly, although I can only speak for the shelter I work, the staff maintains the same level of care for animals getting adopted through this event as they would the normal process. They still care about all the animals that they’re responsible for and want them to go to good homes.
I should probably stop for a minute in case you’re wondering why I’m going on and on about this event. Last week’s post mentioned how Costa, Panama, Korea, Egypt and Spain were cleared for adoption. I took Costa, Panama and Korea to events last weekend but unfortunately, they weren’t adopted. I thought adoptions would be pretty slow in the shelter leading up to Clear The Shelters so instead of sending them back to the shelter to be adopted, I took them home to be with Egypt, Spain and Peru for the week.
After holding onto them for a few more days and since I still didn’t have adopters for Panama, Korea, Costa, Spain or Egypt ( Egypt and Spain had an adopter that fell through) I had to make a choice on whether to send them to Clear the Shelters Day or not.
It was not a decision I took lightly. I prefer my kittens to get adopted via Instagram or at events that I attend so I can have a relationship with their adopters. If I sent them back for Clear the Shelters, I would always be in the dark about who adopted them and how they were doing.
Is this Korea or a statute?
A ton of questions went through my mind and these are just an example of a few of them:
- Do I send my kittens back when they are ready to go but I don’t have adopters for them yet?
- Do I hold onto them until I find adopters?
- Will they have a better chance of getting adopted at an event?
- If they don’t get an adopted at an event, do I send them to the shelter where I won’t be able to meet the adopters and they could be in a cage for a while until someone adopts them?
- Or do I take them home with me and wait it out?
- Will they get sick in the shelter?
- Which shelter will they get more exposure at since they are black and bigger than the other kittens (I’ve found I get more adoption inquiries for kittens that are smaller and not black)?
- Should I take them to Manhattan or should I drive to Staten Island?
I weighed my options and I eventually concluded that it would be a good idea to let them attend Clear the Shelters. I had them for six weeks and didn’t have many inquiries from people interested in adopting them. Since they were bigger kittens even for their age, I knew every day that I waited to get them adopted, it would make it harder for them. As much as I love knowing where they go and being able to have a relationship with the adopters, It really wouldn’t be fair for me to continue to hold onto them. I knew I had to make the right decision for the kittens and not the decision that would make me feel better.
I consulted with the foster team at my shelter and I asked them if I could take them to the Staten Island shelter (SIACC) instead of Manhattan (MACC). SIACC is a much smaller facility and has significantly less animals in their care. They also had no kittens for Clear the Shelters Day, so the spotlight would be on my kittens if they went there.
I dropped them off on Friday and it broke my heart a little to leave them. Saturday, I refreshed the adoption website’s page probably 50 times to see if they were adopted. Spain and Egypt were the first to get adopted and it was a double adoption. Next was Costa, then Panama and lastly Korea. I was so happy and relieved for my kittens that day.
I’m not sure what made me check ACC’s website on Sunday but for some reason I did. I saw that Panama was back on the site and her intake date was that day. I thought this could only mean she was returned. I contacted the foster team and they informed me that she did get returned but there were no notes on why. My high from yesterday instantly escaped me. I was so sad for Panama and very angry and frustrated with this person who chose to adopt and then return a day later.. I am thankful that she was returned so quickly.
It really killed me to not run to the shelter to pick her up after that but she’d have more exposure in the shelter. After a couple of days and a lot of emails, I found out she was picked up by a local rescue. The shelter doesn’t tell me which rescue picked her up but they assured me she was going somewhere safe and this most likely means the rescue has an adopter lined up.
I miss the country kittens SO much and one of the hardest parts of fostering is when you give them up and don’t know where they are going. I also question if any home will be as good as mine. When those thoughts come into my head, I remind myself about all the amazing adopters I know that have adopted my kittens. They are what makes me have faith that my kittens went to good homes.