Today is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day! Each year, Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is observed on April 30th as a way to raise awareness for the thousands of pets—dogs, cats, and more—that are stuck in shelter systems and are waiting to be adopted and welcomed into the homes of loving pet parents.
Given the holiday, what better way to celebrate than grabbing some of your friends and family and heading to your local shelter? If you’re looking for a new furry friend to adore and bring home to your family, head to your local animal shelter and consider adopting one—or more—today!
History of Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
Before Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, there was—and still is—Adopt a Dog month, established in 1981 by the American Humane Society. For more than 40 years, Adopt a Dog Month has been celebrated every October as a way to encourage the adoption of dogs living in shelters. According to the American Humane Society, it was created in response to the increasing amount of dogs that were entering shelters every year. Shortly after, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day was created as a way to celebrate not only just dogs, but all other types of pets as well who are waiting to be adopted.
National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day aims to encourage people to give these adorable pets a second chance and make their next pet a shelter pet. It also serves as a reminder for people to show their support for these shelters by either volunteering, donating, or adopting.
Like many people would say, “Adopt, don’t shop”!
Key Facts Surrounding Shelter Pet Adoption
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an estimate of around 6.5 million animals enter U.S. shelters nationwide—due to either being abandoned or lost—every year. Not to mention, of these animals being brought in, only a few percentage of them are actually being adopted and finding their forever homes—3.2 million to be exact.
There are various reasons why many pets are forced to enter shelters. While some are neglected and left on the street, others are taken in due to being too old, sick, or owners simply can’t afford to take care of them anymore. As a result, pet shelters work hard to nurse these animals back to health and find them new homes.
Tragically, many of them are put down and killed before finding their happy homes. In fact, 1.5 million pets are euthanized every year because animal shelters can longer accommodate them due to overcrowding and lack of pet care support. Not only is this a saddening realization of how these animals are needlessly suffering, but it is also just cruel and heartbreaking.
To help combat the crisis of overcrowding faced by many shelters and potentially find yourself a wonderful and loving pet, celebrate today by visiting your local pet shelter!
Why Should You Adopt?
Just like us, pets need a family! Many rely on humans for their basic needs such as food, shelter, water, safety, etc. Adopting them can potentially save their life, while at the same time giving them a loving home and new family that they can form a bond and connection with!
Yes, adopting a pet is a huge responsibility. However, you’re giving them a chance at a forever home when they might have otherwise ended up homeless or euthanized due to overcrowding.
Here are other reasons why you should consider adopting!
1. It's generally cheaper to adopt, therefore, you are able to save a significant amount of money.
2. You’re saving a pet and giving them a second chance to live and experience the best that life can offer them! Not to mention, they are great companions. You’ll never feel lonely and they will keep your life exciting and full of love.
3. Allows space for other lost or abandoned pets to be taken off the streets. This can help to reduce overpopulation problems and stress that many shelters face.
4. Animals almost always come spayed and neutered, have been vaccinated, and are dewormed.
Adopt a Pet That’s Right for You
In terms of finding the perfect pet to adopt, it may take some time—never try to force it or make impulsive decisions. Check out different shelters within your area and observe the different types of animals you come in contact with. Choose a pet that you feel best matches your personality and lifestyle. Some factors you may want to take into account include their breed, age, and temperaments.
Here are some questions you should consider before deciding which pet you want to bring home and whether or not they would be a perfect fit for you and your family!
• What kind of pet are you looking for?
• Are you able to afford the costs of caring for your pet?
• Do you currently own any other pets? How would they react to a new pet?
• Is your home suitable for the pet you are considering to adopt?
• Does the personality of the pet fit your lifestyle/personality?
• How much time, attention and effort will you be able to give your pet?
• How do you intend on handling any behavioral or special needs of your pet?
• Are you ready for the level of commitment and responsibility needed for taking care of a pet?
Before bringing home your new pet, here are some tips to ensure their transition to a new living environment is smooth and seamless.
Make sure to have majority of the necessities that your pet will need ready! These necessities include items such as food, water, identification tags, collars and leashes, toys, grooming supplies, bedding and more.
Pet-proof your household! Be sure to remove any items that can potentially harm them. Keep power cords hidden and moved out of the way. Make sure that there are no small objects laying around to avoid chewing or swallowing. Put personal items such as makeup, clothes, shoes, or personal care items in higher places so they do not have access to them. Keep your food out of their reach and stowed away in tightly sealed containers or in the fridge, cabinets, counter, etc. Some human foods can be poisonous to pets if consumed, so this is very important!
Create a designated safe space for your pet where they will be able to spend time by themselves and adjust to their new living arrangements. The environmental switch from the shelter to a new home can potentially be overwhelming for them and it will take some time for them to get used to it. Provide them with a separate area, whether it be a room or a crate, where they can relax and feel safe and comfortable. Most importantly, be patient with them!
Have a veterinarian and appointment ready to go before collecting your newly adopted pet. Make sure to provide their veterinarian with any medical records or significant information given to you by the shelter so they can administer the proper health and care needed for your beloved furry friend.
Make sure that your family is prepared to welcome your new addition to the household. Assign them responsibilities, such as feeding, walking, or training, so that everyone plays a part in the transition process. If you have other pets at home, be sure to speak with the animal shelter in order to figure out a way to properly introduce them to each other.
How To Observe the Day
There are many ways that you can celebrate Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. Let’s take a look at some activities you can participate in below!
1. Consider visiting your nearest shelter and adopting a pet today! Take some of your friends or family with you as you search for the perfect pet to bring home!
2. Spread Awareness! Utilize social media or tell your family and friends about the importance of today. Spread the message and inspire others to visit a shelter and adopt a pet.
3. Celebrate the day by posting pictures, reels, stories, or videos of your adopted pet on social media. You can also use a hashtag such as— #NationalAdoptAShelterPetDay
4. Volunteer! A shelter is only great when the community gets involved to help and provide better support for these animals. It’s important to offer these shelters support in ensuring the animals are healthy and are being taken care of properly. Donating supplies is also a great way to contribute!