What would you say if you could be a part of helping 20,000 animals languishing in shelters find forever homes all in one day? I’d say, I’m in! And, that’s exactly what happened when Clear the Shelters, the NBC and Telemundo initiative with over 400 shelters, launched their much-publicized adoption drive last Saturday, August 15, nationwide.

This first-of-its-kind initiative literally emptied dozens of animal shelters around the country, when community members came out in droves to add a furry friend to the family. One family from Indiana was even reunited with their pitbull, Joe Cool, aka “Chief,” after he ran away from home, by visiting their local shelter on that day. The adoption drive was so successful, a Clear the Shelters date of Saturday, July 16, 2016, has already been set for next year.

Clear the Shelters a huge success in getting shelter animals adopted

Joe Cool, aka Chief, reunited at last
Photo credit: Humane Society of the Calumet Area

“I am so happy with the huge success of Clear the Shelters. Our NBC and Telemundo stations, and our 400 partnering animal shelters across the country, with the help of the ASPCA and our friends at Overstock.com, found almost 20,000 thousand animals homes. We are grateful to everyone who opened their homes and added to their families on this national day of action,” said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. “Clear the Shelters is an example of how, together, we can save animal lives and make a difference in our communities.”

Clear the Shelters a huge success in getting 20,000 shelter animals adopted

Channing Tatum
photo courtesy of the Humane Society of Calvert County


Heartwarming adoptions

The Clear the Shelters initiative was spearheaded by 29 NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations (11 NBC-owned stations, 17 Telemundo-owned stations and the regional news network necn) and more than 400 animal shelters across the country, with a goal of finding new homes for thousands of homeless pets. While the vast majority of the nearly 20,000 animals adopted on Clear the Shelters day were cats and dogs, other pets like rabbits, hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, ferrets, monkeys, donkeys, lizards, cows and pigs also found new homes.

Clear the Shelters a huge success in getting shelter animals adopted

Linda with her new adoptive parents, Kellie & Joe Pardo.
Photo courtesy of the Upper Keys Humane Society

At the Humane Society of Calvert County in Maryland, a pot-bellied pig named “Channing Tatum” was adopted as part of Clear the Shelters, as was “Linda,” a 12-year-old poodle mix, who had spent six years at the Upper Keys Humane Society in South Florida, now adopted by Kellie and Joe Pardo, of Key Largo.

At the SPCA of Texas in Dallas, a five-year-old boxer who had lived a life of abuse and had been used for breeding was finally adopted by a family from Mesquite, after being passed over numerous times. In Oyster Bay, New York a two-month-old kitten named “June” was adopted and taken home early in the day.

Pittie Hannah, dressed up in a pink tutu by the Humane Society of Calvert Country in Maryland, left with her forever family, Amanda Krutilla, her 20-month-old son, Jax and her fiance, Jason Bowles. Hannah is Krutilla’s second pit bull. “They’re just the biggest babies,” said Krutilla, of California, Maryland. “Her tutu defines her.” [courtesy of NBCDFW.com & nbcwashington]

Clear the Shelters a huge success in getting 20,000 shelter animals adopted

Hannah with Amanda Krutilla & Jax.
Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Calvert County

Clear the Shelters was sponsored nationally by Overstock.com, another animal-loving company. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) did the amazing thing of  granting a total of $134,000 to 16 animal shelters that participated in the Clear the Shelters initiative, to help them offer no-cost or reduced fee adoptions or waive pet spaying and neutering fees.

With so many people inspired by the initiative, Clear the Shelters content was shared A LOT,  receiving over four million page views, across several station platforms, from mid-July 2015 through August 15, including more than one million on the actual Clear the Shelters day!

Here’s what just one shelter, the San Diego Humane Society, looked like on Clear the Shelters day:

Celebrities got involved…

Various celebrities and news personalities also joined in the social media effort, including talk show hosts, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Harvey and Meredith Vieira; extra’s Mario Lopez; Bravo’s Andy Cohen; former Hills star and 1st Look host Audrina Patridge; Talk Stoop host Cat Greenleaf; George To The Rescue’s George Oliphant; singer and songwriter Rob Thomas; actors Tommy Flanagan, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Stacey Travis, Adam Savage, Jessica Szohr, Zac Posen and Regina Hall, among others.

You can watch the highlights

You can see highlights of Clear the Shelters when it is recapped on the NBC Owned Stations plus more than 100 NBC affiliate stations, in a 30-minute post-adoption drive special on Saturday, August 22nd, hosted by Natalie Morales, News Anchor and Co-Host of NBC News’ TODAY. The Telemundo stations will also air a post-adoption drive show on the same day, with Elva Saray, Host of Telemundo 52 Los Angeles’ (KVEA) daily entertainment show, Acceso Total, serving as Co-Host alongside Jessica Carrillo, Host and Reporter for Telemundo network’s Al Rojo Vivo.

For more information about the national pet adoption drive, visit www.ClearTheShelters.com. You can also follow the effort on Twitter by using the hashtag #ClearTheShelters.

Did you adopt on Clear the Shelters day? What’s your story?

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Written by Jody Miller-Young
What does stylish mean to you? I’m passionate about animals, fashion, travel, home decor and rescue, and that's what you'll find here. After a recent move to Fort Lauderdale from NYC, we're loving our new life in the sunshine. Welcome to my world! Grab your favorite beverage, curl up and stay awhile.