DALLAS - Dallas residents answered an urgent call to foster or adopt dogs from Dallas Animal Services over the weekend thanks in part to an unique incentive.
The goal was to get 150 medium to large dogs into people's homes for at least two weeks to help DAS get rid of the canine flu.
Friends of Dallas Animal Services gave gift cards to people who volunteered to foster the pets.
"We had such a successful weekend, we placed 160 medium to large dogs," said MeLissa Webber, the director of Dallas Animal Services.
With empty kennels in the shelter DAS was able to separate dogs that had been exposed to canine flu, in order to keep the virus from spreading.
Experts have advised DAS the separation and ability to thoroughly clean the shelter can provide the much needed ‘clean break’ from canine flu.
"We knew it was a lofty goal to look to place 150 medium to large dogs over the weekend. I think for myself and the whole team, it brings a tear to your eye that it was so successful," Webber said.
DAS now has staff working in one building or the other to avoid spreading the respiratory illness the shelter has been battling.
"We are operating this north side as our clean break. The other side is our exposed side of the building," Webber said.
The unexposed side is already filling back up with 34 dogs already brought in by early afternoon Monday.
There are still 246 adoptable dogs that have been exposed that were passed over this weekend.
While the canine flu is very contagious to other dogs it is rarely fatal, and most dogs will recover on their own.
"We want to continue the momentum over the holidays. We still need help," Webber said.
The shelter is using aprons and gloves with animals as an added precaution.
Sincere Robinson decided a lab mix was the perfect dog for him.
"We're going to name her Luna. She just looked like a Luna," said Robinson on Monday.
After a little time together Luna opened up. Robinson said that's the point of dog ownership, to help one another out.
"If you are dealing with depression, a dog is good to stem away from bad stuff. Bring joy into your life," Robinson said.
The gift card incentive has come to an end.
Friends of Dallas Animal Services funded about $22,000 worth of gift cards.
For more information about how to foster or adopt click here.