Before you click back, know that this won’t be your typical Sarah McLachlan animal sob story. While today certainly sounds like a somber, sad holiday, the truth is it’s anything but. Every year on the third Saturday in August, we observe International Homeless Animals Day to celebrate how far we’ve come in taking care of our pets, and share knowledge on what more we can do. And no, you won’t find any bindle-carrying beagles at these celebrations, either.
International Homeless Animals Day (IHAD) began in 1992 when the International Society for Animals Rights decided to dedicate a day to spreading awareness about pet overpopulation. Since then, events, observances, participants, and positive results have grown every year. Currently, celebrations can be found in all 50 states and more than 50 countries. To date, the group has saved the lives of millions of animals around the world.
How to Observe International Homeless Animals Day
1. Have your pet spayed or neutered
One of the most important goals for IHAD is to ensure all pets are spayed or neutered. A single non-spayed female dog and her mate can produce about 16 puppies in a year. If none of these puppies are spayed or neutered, it can turn into 128 more puppies in two years. After three years, that’s 512 puppies, and if extrapolated to six years, that’s 67,000 animals. When presented this way, it’s easy to see why this is such a problem.
2. Attend an event
Bring your pooch or cat and attend one of the several events taking place all over the country. Invite your other pet-loving friends with you as well to help spread awareness about the topic, and have a blast romping around with your closest nonhuman friends.
3. Consider adopting
Aside from doing your part to control pet overpopulation, one of the greatest things you could do this August 19 is take home a pet from a shelter. These animal control centers fill up fast, but we can all make a big difference by doing something as small as choosing a rescue dog or cat to be our new pet.
Why International Homeless Animals Day is Important
A. It sheds light on a serious problem
Pet overpopulation is an epidemic that has spread worldwide, but the solution is simple —all pets should be spayed or neutered. Every year, IHAD sponsors spay/neuter clinics, adopt-a-thons, microchip clinics, and even inspiring speeches from those who work with these animals every day.
B. It’s a fun way to make a difference
IHAD addresses a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean participants can’t have fun while they’re at it. Attending events also means taking part in rallies, games, and dog walks, while enjoying live music, raffles, open houses, slide shows, and awards ceremonies. All this while making a major change in the world.
C. It gives a voice to the animals
The millions of homeless animals around the world need their humans to look out for them. If we don’t do anything, these animals risk starvation and pain, or euthanization at overcrowded animal control facilities. The animals depend on us, and thanks to IHAD, we can speak up for them.