It might surprise you to know that good animal shelters require a lot of planning and strategizing. It’s not a world where “all you need is love.” Caring for hundreds of scared animals in an unnatural environment is a big production.
One of the strategies that can keep a shelter out of crisis is a good understanding of capacity and length of stay. Length of stay (LOS) refers to the number of days an individual animal spends inside the shelter. It starts the date the animal enters the building and ends the day s/he leaves.
Shelters that are able to reduce their average LOS are able to increase their capacity. As animals spend less days occupying individual cages, then those newly open cages get filled with more animals. It is a simple but important concept. One that is fueling the innovation of programs that reduce LOS and increase the number of animals saved.
What does this mean for adopters? It means that when you adopt one dog, you are essentially saving two. You save the dog you adopt AND the dog that now gets to fill your dog’s spot in the shelter. Then when that second dog gets adopted, another dog fills its spot, and so on. Your one adoption has a ripple effect you will never fully be able to grasp.
Adopting one dog may feel like it only changes the world for that one dog. But that could not be further from the truth. Adopting one dog saves the dog who would otherwise have nowhere to go if it weren’t for your dog’s empty kennel. When given the choice to save one or two dogs, we would always choose to save more! Rest assured that this is exactly what you are doing when you adopt a shelter dog.