Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

ThuDec 5

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day – December 5, 2024

We celebrate shelter pets on Celebrate Shelter Pets Day, which is on the first Thursday after Thanksgiving. This year, it takes place on December 5. The day brings awareness to pets such as dogs and cats that are in shelters. A lot of people often think of adopting a pet from a shelter home, but they don’t always follow through with that thought because they think there is something wrong with shelter pets. They are wrong. Most people who have adopted shelter pets can testify that shelter groups are full of great pets that provide companionship. There are, unfortunately, some pets in the shelter that are deemed unadoptable because of fear, perceived aggression, or anxiety, but even these issues can be managed if addressed properly.

History of Celebrate Shelter Pets Day

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day started in 2010 as a collaborative effort among the Humane Society of the U.S., the Ad Council, and Maddie’s Fund®. The event, which started on Facebook and was called “Shelter Pets Take Over Facebook Day,” has grown to include all social platforms, and over 100 pets and their owners are now involved.

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States (H.S.U.S.) fights the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together, with millions of supporters, the H.S.U.S. takes on puppy mills, factory farms, the fur trade, trophy hunting, animal cosmetics testing and other cruel industries. Through its rescue, response, and sanctuary work, as well as other hands-on animal care services, the H.S.U.S. helps thousands of animals every year. The H.S.U.S. fights all forms of animal cruelty to achieve the vision behind its name: a humane society.

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy over ten years and continues to inspire them today. The Foundation has awarded over $265 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S. Maddie’s Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility.

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day timeline

The First Animal Shelter

The very first animal shelter in the U.S. is formed.

The American Humane Association

The American Humane Association, which is committed to the welfare and well-being of animals, is formed.

The Humane Society of the U.S.

The Humane Society of the United States is formed.

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day is first observed.

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day FAQs

When is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day?

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is observed every year on April 30.

What is a dog's adoption day called?

A ‘Gocha Day’ is the anniversary of your pet’s adoption day.

What month is National Pet Month?

May is National Pet Month.

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day Activities

  1. Support a Shelter

    Shelters often rely on donations to feed and care for their pets, and sometimes they run on a tight budget. Money, though, is not the only way to show support. You can donate supplies such as food, litter, or toys.

  2. Adopt a pet from a shelter

    A good way to observe Celebrate Shelter Pets Day is to adopt a pet from a shelter. Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment that requires planning. Once you have made plans and are ready to make that pet a part of your family, don’t hesitate to go for it.

  3. Spoil your pet

    If you already have a pet that you adopted from a shelter then, today would be a good day to spoil them with treats. You can get them treats, a new bed or anything you think would brighten up their day.

5 Intriguing Facts About Dogs

  1. Their nose is better than ours

    A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times better than a human’s.

  2. Dogs run very fast

    Some dogs run so fast that they could beat a cheetah.

  3. Dogs don’t sweat like humans

    Dogs don’t sweat like us; they instead produce an oily substance undetectable to the naked eye.

  4. Dogs have a dominant paw

    A dog could be left-pawed or right-pawed.

  5. Their hearing is very sensitive

    A dog can hear sounds at higher frequencies than humans.

Why We Love Celebrate Shelter Pets Day

  1. We love animals

    A day dedicated to celebrating animals is a day to love. Animals are our companions, and even though they can’t talk, a lot of people would be lonely without them.

  2. It focuses on pets in shelter

    Shelter pets are more popular now than they ever were, but they still need all the publicity that they can get. Celebrate Shelter Pets Day focuses on and increases awareness about these special animals.

  3. Increases adoption rate of shelter pets

    The more popular shelter pets get, the higher their rate of adoption. Most people are reluctant to adopt shelter pets because they think something is wrong with the pets there, but this holiday will serve to reduce the stigma associated with shelter pets.

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day dates

2023November 30Thursday
2024December 5Thursday
2025December 4Thursday
2026December 3Thursday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.