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Celebrate Shelter Pets Day 2024: When & What It Is

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on February 29, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

two women adopting cats at the shelter

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day 2024: When & What It Is

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day is commemorated on the first Thursday after Thanksgiving, so the actual date changes from year to year. This year the date falls on the 5th of December. The event was first held in 2010 and was a joint project organized by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Maddie’s Fund to raise awareness about the many amazing dogs and cats in shelters looking for families to join. The event is largely an online happening; its first incarnation was “Shelter Pets Take Over Facebook Day.”

Since that first celebration, the event has grown, and proud parents of former shelter cats use the day to post pictures and stories about their wonderful companions on different social media platforms.

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How the Humane Society Helps Pets

The Humane Society has been a major player in the fight for animal welfare since the 1950s. The organization works on various issues, including companion animal and wildlife protection. It’s involved in several initiatives, including legislative work, education, and speaking out on behalf of vulnerable animals. It also has an Animal Rescue Team that responds to help save animals during national disasters and emergencies.

fireman holding kitten
Image Credit: VAKS-Stock Agency, Shutterstock

Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund is an organization dedicated to helping protect vulnerable animals by offering resources to projects designed to keep pets and people together and to ensure that animals receive the care and protection they deserve. Dave and Cheryl Duffield founded it with the goal of making it possible for others to experience the love they shared with their dog, Maddie.

The 6 Ways to Celebrate Shelter Pets

While November 30th is a great day to pull out all of the stops for shelter pets, there’s no reason to wait until then to get started if you’re in the mood to spread a bit of joy! Below, you’ll find a few suggestions for celebrating the amazing shelter cats and canines of the world.

1. Join in the Online Celebration

If you have a former shelter pet at home, Celebrate Shelter Pets Day is made for you and your buddy! Consider taking a few pictures of your companion and posting them on your favorite social media platform to show everyone how adorable these wonderful animals are. Don’t forget to tell the world how special the moment you first cuddled your buddy during the meet and greet at the shelter.

man with cat and laptop
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

2. Treat Your Pet to a Special Day

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day is the perfect occasion to treat your pet, even if they technically didn’t come from a shelter. Treats, extra special meals involving special wet food, and buying new toys are all great ways to give your companion a bit of love and something tasty to enjoy or fun to play with.

If your pet enjoys exploring the great outdoors on a leash, consider spending some extra time taking in a bit of fresh air with your beloved pet by your side.

3. Foster a Pet

Fostering cats or dogs is an amazing way to help out shelter animals and the organizations dedicated to supporting them. Foster parents help save lives by socializing kittens and puppies to ensure they make wonderful companions once adopted. Socialization takes place while kittens are still relatively young.

Foster parents also help save lives by providing temporary places for pets to stay when shelters become overcrowded. Organizations usually cover most of the costs associated with fostering, including medical care, food, and toys.

man with cat and dog
Image Credit: Magui-RF, Shutterstock

4. Volunteer

Shelters and rescue organizations often depend on volunteers to fulfill various organizational needs, from administrative tasks to caring for animals. Some organizations have short-term opportunities, like helping out during events, as well as ones requiring longer commitments, such as assisting with community outreach projects.

Many ask volunteers to commit to working a certain number of hours per week or month to ensure continuity, and there are often minimum age limits for participation.

5. Adopt

If you’ve been thinking of adding a companion to your family, there’s no need to wait until the end of November! There are several adorable, adoptable pets available in shelters who are ready and waiting to meet the right person or family.

Shelters often send pets home already microchipped, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated to make things easy, and many provide online resources to help pet parents get started on the right foot with their new pet. Adult animals tend to cost less to adopt than kittens or puppies, and some organizations offer senior citizen discounts on adoption fees.

cat at an animal shelter
Image Credit: JW Design, Shutterstock

6. Donate

Non-profit shelters and rescue organizations depend on donations to pay for essentials such as veterinary care and food and toys for the animals they’re caring for. Many have made it easy to make one-time and recurring donations through their websites.

Some companies have set up workplace giving programs to make these donations easy, and there are even employers who match contributions. Some organizations also accept donations of used crates and unopened pet food, and many have wish lists you can check out to ensure you’re purchasing items they can use.

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Celebrate Shelter Pets Day takes place every year on the first Thursday after Thanksgiving in the United States. The event is primarily celebrated online, with the companions of former shelter pets sharing pictures and stories about their wonderful buddies, but there are several ways to bring the love into real life, such as by adopting a shelter animal, fostering a kitten or puppy, donating to an animal welfare organization whose values warm your heart, and giving extra love to the animals in your life.

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Featured Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

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