National Pet Day occurs in April every year, and this year, we’re observing this special day on April 11th. Sure, we love our companions every day, this is the day to go all out and show them just how much they mean to us. Plus, many of our cat and canine companions are adopted from shelters and come from an unknown background, which means we probably don’t get to celebrate their birthday with them. National Pet Day is the solution!
How Did National Pet Day Begin?
In 2005, Colleen Paige, a celebrity pet and lifestyle expert and animal welfare advocate founded this special day. She worked with Animal Miracle Foundation and Network to sponsor the events and campaigns meant to bring about awareness and celebration.
Many different types of animals are waiting for a forever home. Some wait only days. Others wait for years. In some cases, an animal is surrendered but is never adopted, either because they ended up at a no-kill shelter or because the right guardian just never came along.
National Pet Day helps to raise money and awareness so these orphaned or abandoned animals can be well taken care of while in the hands of their local shelter AND to help adoption efforts. The more resources a shelter has, the better care they can provide. That means animals are healthier, less stressed, better behaved and are more likely to connect with a guardian looking for that perfect fur-, feathered-, or scaly- friend.
"Many people believe that humans are superior to animals, but is that really true? We're not able to come close to possessing the pure & perfect unconditional love that animals offer. If we could, we'd have no need for this day...because all the shelters would be empty." -Colleen Paige
Well, adoption is a major goal of this observance. For those of us with the means and space, we can use this day to head to the local shelter and ask about animals who are most in need of a home like ours.
But adoption isn’t a possibility for a lot of us even though we may have room in our hearts. That’s okay because this day is not just about adoption. This special day is about helping animals find their forever home, even if that isn’t in our homes. Here’s a list of ways to get involved and participate in National Pet Day. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, there’s something on this list for everyone.
- Adopt from your local shelter or rescue organization. Many participate in National Pet Day and might even have a special event happening.
- Share this article! Afterall, increased awareness leads to more support for shelters and more adoptions.
- Volunteer at your local shelter. Chances are, they could use the help. Sometimes, they need someone to care for the animals. But don’t forget to mention special skills. There are often other tasks like event marketing, office work, or photography that can be helpful. For example, taking glamour shots of animals to help attract potential guardians can be a great way to spend an afternoon.
- Tell your story. You and your fur-babies have a story. Share inspiration and motivation to help encourage people to either adopt or to support their local shelter in some way.
- Donate blankets, bowls, food, leashes, toys, or money to a favorite animal welfare organization. You can always call ahead and find out what they are in need of at the moment to make sure your donation really hits the mark.
- It’s not always shelters and orphaned pets who are in need. Offer to assist someone with an animal who may be ill, struggling financially, or elderly. Take their dogs for a walk, play with their cat, purchase food or hay for them, or run their animal to the vet for them.
- Educate your network. Many people don’t realize just how vast and sweeping the adoption need really is in the U.S. It’s easy enough to share a few quick stats or ask people in your network to volunteer with you at the shelter for a few hours.
- Organize a peaceful demonstration outside a community pet store that sells pets from puppy and kitten mills.
- Have a National Pet Day party at your home, the park, or a local pet-friendly hangout. The get together can be a way to hang out, have fun, and is a simple, easy way to raise awareness among friends.
- Spend the day with your pet. Buy them toys and their favorite treats, take them to their favorite places, play games, and take lots of pictures. Whatever you do, make it something fun and memorable for you and your pet.
- Support the cause and build awareness at the same time by buying National Pet Day products. It supports the cause and shares the message every time you sport your swag.
- April is tax season. Consider setting up a Pet Trust so your pet will be taken care of, should anything ever happen to you. One of the big reasons pets end up in shelters and rescues is because their guardians don’t plan well for their care, or because a pet is left in the care of a relative or friend who cannot provide care. Check out these articles to get started:
- The What, How, & Why of Pet Trusts (Part One)
- The What, How & Why of Pet Trusts (Part Two)
- Connect with Vet Organics on Facebook and Instagram. Use #VetOrganics and #NationalPetDay to share your story, a picture of your fur-babies, and let us know what you’re doing to celebrate National Pet Day! We would love to hear from you.
As cat and canine companions, we know the love and joy adoption brings to our lives. Even if we can’t adopt more animals, there’s so much we can do, even if time and money are limited, that can help others find their forever home. We hope to hear from you about your story and how you choose to celebrate this special day - National Pet Day!