WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The annual Clear The Shelters event has come and gone for 2022, and with multiple area animal service centers participating, it turned out to be one of the most successful events yet.

During the month of August, adoption fees were waived for those living in the area who chose to welcome a new furry friend into their family.

On Saturday, August 13, the Humane Society of Wichita County held their adoption event, followed by Wichita Falls Animal Services, which partnered with Texas Pit Crew and Emily’s Legacy Rescue on Saturday, August 20.

The Humane Society is reporting that 89 dogs and cats were adopted from their shelter during the month of August alone.

Red River Harley Davidson, a 2022 sponsor of Clear The Shelters, knows firsthand how great of a feeling it is to take an animal from a shelter and place it into a loving family.

More than eight years ago, the Red River Harley Davidson team adopted Ace to be their shop dog. They’ve taken him in as one of their own and truly love Ace, just like many other animals waiting in area shelters could be.

“There’s nothing in the world like it,” Bobbie Gilmore, an employee at Red River Harley Davidson said. “The love, especially from an adopted animal that’s never had love in its life. They show you back the best love. They are the most precious things in life. Riding Harleys and loving hound dogs… That’s what it’s all about.”

Another major sponsor of 2022’s Clear The Shelters event was Hamilton Bryan. While these two establishments don’t appear to have a lot in common, Steve Fairchild of Hamilton Bryan said he couldn’t agree more with the sentiments Gilmore shared.

“Everybody needs a home,” Fairchild said. “They do a great job out here housing them. They’ve got new kennels. They feed and water them. But, these are healthy dogs. You’re not going to come out here and get somebody’s cull. You’re going to get a nice dog. They just need a second chance.”

Thanks to local nonprofit organizations like the Humane Society, they’re getting just that.

After years of fundraising efforts, the Humane Society was finally able to move into its state-of-the-art Adoption Center in April 2022.

“I think the new building is helping us quite a bit,” Cheryl Heineken, Director of the Humane Society said. “People have room to visit with the animal they’re looking at and spend more time, and I definitely think that’s to our advantage.”

The brand-new facility isn’t just appealing to those wishing to adopt. It’s also great for the animals that reside there. Equipped with all new floors and ceilings, indoor and outdoor kennels, and central heat and air inside, the animals are able to stay comfortable year-round.

“That’s our goal, to get these guys adopted,” Heineke said. “The thing I like most about Clear The Shelters is that people will go ahead and start looking at our webpage, because we do it for the whole month, but the day we’re going to waive the adoption fee, they’re worried they’re going to miss out on the dog they want.”

Heineke said this compels people looking to adopt to visit the Adoption Center before fees are waived, which lets her know they’re headed to a loving home.

“We always have a really good success rate,” Heineke said. “We very rarely receive one of these dogs back with Clear The Shelters, so I am very happy about that.”

Ace is a prime example of that success rate. He’s a great dog adopted from a shelter, and Gilmore said he brightens not only the days of employees at Red River Harley Davidson but of everyone that comes in.

“That’s something that a pet that’s adopted can do for anybody,” Gilmore said. “And I think that’s extremely important in life to have the love of a sweet little animal.”

Whether it’s at the Humane Society of Wichita County or another shelter near you, your forever friend is there, waiting not only to be loved but to love on you.

Just like Ace.

If you’re interested in fostering or adopting a dog or cat, visit a local shelter’s website to find out how:

If you live outside of Wichita County, you’re invited to reach out to the animal services center nearest you to get the adoption or fostering process started.