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National Specially-Abled Pets Day 2024: When and What Is It?

Written by: Sarah Psaradelis

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

blind Tortoiseshell cat in the wicker bed

National Specially-Abled Pets Day 2024: When and What Is It?

Owning a specially-abled pet is life life-changing in all the best ways. They show us so much love and acceptance and understandably we want to show them the same. Specially-abled or disabled pets can come from all sorts of different backgrounds and have different types of disabilities.

Regardless of why your pet is specially-abled, they deserve as much love and care as any other pet. Owners of specially-abled pets will be happy to know that their pets have a national day celebrated on May 3rd, which will be discussed in this article.

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About National Specially-Abled Pets Day?

National Specially-Abled Pets Day, formally known as Disabled Pets Day, is a national pet day founded by author and animal advocate Colleen Paige. The day was created to honor and bring awareness to specially-abled pets in all shapes and forms.

Specially-abled pets sometimes get overlooked during adoptions or unfairly judged and mocked because of how they look or behave. All pets are deserving of equal love, care, and acceptance despite any special abilities they have.

Some owners of specially-abled pets are all too familiar with the snide comments and unnecessary pity from uninformed individuals. This makes it important to bring awareness about our specially-abled pets to those who do not know any better.

cat with weelchair
Image Credit: Morrowind, Shutterstock

When Is National Specially-Abled Pets Day?

You can celebrate National Specially-Abled Pets Day annually on the 3rd of May. This national day was created in 2006 and has been celebrated every year since. Although National Specially-Abled Pets Day only happens on one day in May, you can celebrate specially-abled pets anytime.

Year: Day:
2024 Friday
2025 Saturday
2026 Sunday
2027 Monday

Why Is It No Longer Called National Disabled Pets Day?

National Specially-Abled Pets Day was previously called National Disabled Pets Day. The reason behind the change is likely because of the negative stereotypes sometimes associated with the word “disabled” and how it might be used to shame a pet’s abilities. Some pet owners prefer to use the term “specially-abled” for their pets instead.

Regardless, the day is still dedicated to celebrating pets with disabilities or who are specially-abled. You could call the day either by its former name or by its changed name, but it is widely recognized nowadays as National Specially-Abled Pet Day.

Some people have no issue with using the word disabled to describe their pet, while others prefer to say specially-abled. This could be because they view their specially-abled pets as not lesser than or less abled than other pets and saying that they need special treatment could be offensive. However, some pet owners do not want to soften the word disabled, so the term you use is entirely up to you.

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How You Can Celebrate

There are various ways you can celebrate National Specially-Abled Pet Day.

1. Adopt a Specially-Abled Pet

Specially-abled pets are just as deserving of a loving home as any other pet. Although they may get overlooked in shelters, considering adopting a specially-abled pet if you are ready for one is a great way to celebrate the day.

blind cat on wicker chair
Image Credit: Agata Kowalczyk, Shutterstock

2. Donate If Possible

Consider donating to shelters, rescues, and organizations that care for specially-abled pets if you have the funds to do so. This is a great way to show your support for specially-abled pets if you are unable to adopt one.

3. Educate Yourself on Specially-Abled Pets

Sometimes the best way to celebrate a day meant to raise awareness is to educate yourself on the topic. You could celebrate the day by speaking with owners of specially-abled pets and educating yourself on what it is to care for one. Of course, this should be done in a kind and respectful manner and only if the owner is willing to speak about it.

orange cat with missing front leg
Image Credit: Ericaaa, Shutterstock

4. Share Your Favorite Stories About Your Specially-Abled Pets

If you are an owner of a specially-abled pet, you could share your favorite stories and pictures about them. This can either be done through social media or even in a discussion with friends and family.

5. Rethink the Way You Phrase Certain Comments

Although your curiosity might get the best of you, it is a good idea to try and be more respectful when asking certain questions about someone’s specially-abled pets. Asking questions like “What is wrong with your pet” or “I feel sorry for them” is not always kind to say. This feeds into the stereotype that there is something wrong with specially-abled pets and that they are pitiful.

Just because a pet does not look or act the same way as others, doesn’t mean that they are suffering or unlovable. The day is meant to bring awareness and acceptance to specially-abled pets and not make them seem lesser than others.

three legged cat in the yard
Image Credit: Berna Namoglu, Shutterstock

6. Spread the Message

If you are not able to donate to or adopt a specially-abled pet, you could simply spread the message on your socials instead. This can be done by sharing social media posts about specially-abled pets up for adoption or organizations raising funds to help specially-abled pets. You could also ask your friends and family to do the same if they would like to celebrate the day too.

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In Conclusion

Anyone can celebrate National Specially-Abled Pet Day on the 3rd of May each year. The day is not limited to owners of specially-abled pets, so anyone willing to celebrate is encouraged to. There are so many ways you can celebrate the day, whether it is by adopting a specially-abled pet or simply sharing social media posts to spread awareness.

Everyone will have a different experience raising a specially-abled pet, but the joy they bring to our lives is immeasurable.

Featured Image Credit: Elliza_77, Shutterstock

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