The local coordinators of ‘Clear the Shelters,’ a free event happening all day Saturday, said they hope residents will use the opportunity to adopt, not shop.

Bryan Animal Center is participating in ‘Clear the Shelters,’ a nationwide, annual pet adoption event, on Saturday, Aug. 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Following the custom of the past seven years, Bryan Animal Center will open its doors and slash adoption fees for one day. The shelter plans to implement added safety precautions and application requirements for potential owners to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To ensure the health of the shelter’s clients and employees and because adoptions are on a first-come, first-served basis, Bryan Animal Center asks those wanting to adopt to schedule an appointment and complete an application, Bryan Animal Center animal services supervisor Ashley Rodriguez said. Applications can be submitted on the Center’s website.

“We're just taking proprietary measures with the CDC guidelines by making sure that we are not hoarding the shelter with plenty of people and we’re requiring people to wear a face mask,” Rodriquez said. “Like shelters across the nation, Bryan will accommodate the surrounding situation.”

Rodriguez said there is a direct correlation between stay-at-home mandates and adoption rates.

“I think at this moment, we've had a lot of more serious adopters, which helps us with retention,” Rodriguez said. “This is because people are home and able to put in that effort with a new pet since it takes time for a pet to readjust.”

Rapid adoption timing is one of Bryan Animal Shelter’s advertising points. Though most of these animals came from the city’s Animal Control service, all animals can be adopted quickly, as they have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and given necessary vaccinations.

Social psychology professor Joshua Hicks said adopting a shelter pet can benefit mental health, especially during the social anxiety of many current events.

“Just like in any collective trauma, there's data coming out right now that this pandemic has an influence on mental and physical health for many,” Hicks said. “This is a time when everyone is feeling these effects, so don’t be afraid of talking to a professional or a friend or doing activities that make you stay engaged in life – maybe, your answer to stay engaged is adopting a pet.”

Having recently adopted a dog himself, Hicks said he has experienced how caring for another creature can boost morale.

“I asked my class how they coped with the pandemic, and many adopted a dog,” Hicks said. “Getting a pet is just something that keeps you occupied and focused on a goal, other than thinking about the pandemic.”

Bryan Animal Center Program Coordinator Dylan Cisneros said introducing a pet into your family can provide much needed companionship for both people and animals.

“To offer friendship and responsibility, dogs and cats are great to adopt right now,” Cisneros said. “When we started ‘Clear the Shelters,’ the whole idea was to connect every animal with their forever home, and we’ve had a lot of success.”

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