Help Empty the Shelters with Bissell and Save a Life

No matter how many pets I have, my heart bursts whenever I visit an animal shelter and see all of the wags and whiskers approach their cage doors hoping for a forever home. Shelter pets are something extra special. Look into their eyes and you’ll see a rainbow of emotions that may just surprise you. And I bet you you’ll connect with at least one of them. Unfortunately, pet overpopulation is real everywhere, and too many incredible dogs and cats are euthanized every day.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet, it’s the PERFECT time to adopt a cat or dog, thanks to the Bissell Pet Foundation Empty the Shelters event! This allows you to adopt a pet for free this Saturday, Oct. 14! More than 75 shelters and rescue organizations are participating in this event, and you can see the complete list here. Licensing fees may still apply, but that should not hold you back from a fur baby!

I wanted to spread the news about Empty the Shelters, because both cats in my household came from shelters. I can’t imagine life without either of them. Here they are in their cute glory: Callie, then Jett.

Callie, my cat, came from the Ionia County Animal Shelter, which is one of the participants in Empty the Shelters! I adopted her in 2010, right after I moved to the area. I clearly remember walking into the building (which is not the same building as today’s site) and looking at all the felines crammed into a small room. Immediately one adorable kitten rushed to her cage front, stood on her hind legs and placed her front paws on the door. She meowed and meowed, staring right at me as if to say, “you’re mine! I choose you!” At that moment, I knew she was the one and adopted her the next day. She’s been my snuggle buddy through a lot of good and bad.

Jett, Justin’s cat, came from the Animal Rescue Coalition of Mecosta County, which is not one of the selected shelters, but is still incredibly important to finding dogs and cats quality homes and should not be overlooked. Justin was charmed by that energetic boy right away due to his big ears and not even a nub for a tail.

Pets are a blessing. Cats and dogs comfort you when you’re sad, keep you company when you’re feeling alone, warm you with snuggles, provide entertainment during play time, and always keep you on your toes. Their endless, unconditional love never ceases to amaze me. We are so lucky to have these animals in our lives, and I wish I could save them all.

Though this specific Empty the Shelters event is mostly Michigan based, there are a few other locations that have participating shelters, including Chicago, and Bissell hosts the same event in other states during other times of the year.

Even if you don’t live in the area for this event, check out the animals in those shelters anyway, because you really never know which pet you’ll fall in love with. And if you’re in a situation where you can’t adopt, please always consider donating to an animal shelter when you’re able — even if it’s food, old blankets, new toys, cleaning supplies, kitty litter, or leashes. Most facilities usually have a very limited budget, and many operate by donation only. If you have spare time, many shelters also look for volunteers to walk dogs, clean kennels and cages, and even play with kittens to increase socialization.

There are many ways to save a life when it comes to shelter pets, but if you adopt, you may be surprised who’s life is really being saved.

—K

About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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