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Animal shelter is empty for the first time in history after every dog was adopted

Having never known a time when all of its kennels weren’t packed with stray and abandoned dogs, the shelter shared the joyous news on Facebook with an uplifting video of its staff clapping.

A Florida animal shelter recently celebrated an unprecedented event in its history when one of its three kennels were rendered completely empty for the first time ever. The staff and volunteers of Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control marked the incredible milestone this week by cheering for everyone whose hard work, commitment, and support made it possible. Having never known a time when all of its kennels weren’t packed with stray and abandoned dogs, the shelter shared the joyous news on Facebook along with an uplifting video of its staff clapping.

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An incredible and joyful thing happened today… For the first time in the history of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, we have completely emptied one of our three dog kennels! This amazing milestone was made possible by the help and support of our entire community! Thank you to the shelter staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to care for, find homes for, and advocate for the pets who come through these doors; thank you to our incredible foster parents who open their heart and homes to thousands of pets each year; thank you to everyone who has opted to adopt a shelter pet – whether it be here or from any of the other amazing organizations out there; thank you to our placement partner organizations far and wide – without them, this would not be possible, the shelter wrote on Facebook.

The kennel that has become the cause for celebration, has 48 dog runs that often hold two dogs each. “It’s definitely been a combined effort from the community. The animals went to foster homes, adopters, and to our partner rescue organizations,” Elizabeth Harfmann, the community outreach manager for the shelter, told CNN. “We’ve also seen a decrease in incoming animals, so that has helped as well.”

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Shelters across the country have seen a surge in adoption applications as lockdowns have given people more time to devote to a new pet. In addition to helping animal shelters, fostering or adopting a pet while self-quarantining could also prove beneficial to the mental health of self-quarantined individuals. A study conducted by Washington State University—like many others before it—determined that cuddling and stroking a cat or dog for just a few minutes can reduce stress. “If you don’t have a pet and are thinking about getting one, now is the perfect time to ‘try it on’ by fostering from your local shelter. Shelters and pet adoption facilities nationwide need people to foster pets on a temporary basis,” said Julie Castle, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society.

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“It’s not only safe to keep pets in the home, but also beneficial, as they can serve as a source of comfort during a crisis. The companionship of pets has been shown to reduce stress and lower anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure when the news from the outside world is distressing,” Castle told PEOPLE. However, experts fear there could soon be an increase of surrenders from people as the pandemic has left many without jobs or sick and unable to care for their pets.

“Everyone in animal welfare is bracing themselves,” said Anna Lai, marketing director for the New York-based nonprofit Muddy Paws. Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has suspended owner surrender appointments at the moment, except for emergency cases and still has animals available for adoption. The shelter is currently holding 79 animals, including 32 dogs, two cats, two horses, and a rooster. “We’re still over-the-moon with excitement seeing so many pets being adopted and fostered – not only here in Palm Beach County – but across the country!” the shelter wrote on Facebook, adding, “If you are interested in fostering or adopting a dog or cat (and helping us reach our goal of emptying another kennel), please visit our website and submit one of the online applications: www.pbcgov.com/snap.”

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