Hannah the tutu-wearing pit bull, George the pot-bellied pig and a kitten named Chase were among the nearly 20,000 animals who got new homes last weekend as part of the Clear the Shelters adoption drive.
Stories like theirs will be front and center this Saturday, when "Today" co-host Natalie Morales hosts a 30-minute post-adoption drive special that will recap the national day of action. It can be seen Aug. 22 on all 11 NBC Owned Stations, plus more than 100 NBC affiliate stations. Telemundo stations will also air a post-adoption drive show on the same day.
Twenty-eight local NBC and Telemundo television stations, including regional news network necn, partnered with more than 400 animal shelters across the country to find new homes for thousands of homeless pets. Many participating shelters waived fees or cut costs as part of the Clear the Shelters campaign, which culminated Aug. 15.
By the end of the day on Saturday, 20 shelters reported that they had “cleared” all adoptable animals during the event, which was also sponsored by Overstock.com.
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“I am so proud that all of our stations came together with hundreds of animal shelters across the country, with the help of the ASPCA and our friends at Overstock.com, to find thousands of animals in need of their forever homes. We are all so grateful to everyone who opened their homes to these deserving pets on this national day of action,” Valari Staab, president of the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal, said in a statement.
“Clear the Shelters is an example of how together, we can rally to help save deserving animal lives and in the end make a positive impact across communities nationwide.”
Morales adopted her own shelter dog, Zara, through the North Shore Animal League, which reported 137 adoptions as part of this year's Clear the Shelters campaign.
Morales describes her mutt, who she first met four years ago after Zara appeared on the NBC morning show, as part of her family, like "our third child."
"It was love at first sight," Morales said.
She said that after overcoming some initial shyness, the new addition quickly took to Morales' sons, Josh and Luke, and became part of the family. Not much was known of Zara's history pre-adoption, other than she was saved from a kill shelter in Georgia where she was about to be put down.
Morales believes shelters are often overlooked by people seeking a four-legged companion.
"I was blown away by the beautiful dogs, some of them pedigree dogs [at shelters]," she said. "They deserve second chances. It really is just training them with love and kindness."
"There are so many incredible animals that need homes, and Zara was one of them. I can't imagine life without her now."