National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day

Young girl sitting on a blanket in a lush park, petting a rescue dog, wearing a cute sundress, surrounded by colorful balloons..
National adopt a shelter pet day illustration

Ever feel like there's a feline-shaped or canine-shaped hole in your heart that could only be filled with the love of a shelter pet? Well, have we got the day for you! It’s National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day! Hop onto this cozy ride as we meander through the fascinating history of this adorable day.

When is Adopt A Shelter Pet Day?

It's national adopt a shelter pet day on the 27th April.

A Brief History of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

Adopt a Shelter Pet Day was first celebrated in 2017, reaching a resounding peak in chatter with 19227 mentions online on April 27, and has been wagging tails and purring hearts since then. The day finds its roots in the humanitarian effort to provide homes to shelter animals and promote their adoption.

Why We Celebrate

Pouring affection over these cuddly creatures, many of whom have been abandoned or lost, helps fill their world with joy. Not to mention, it tends to warm our hearts too! This day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of shelter adoption over breeders and affirm the belief that every pet deserves a loving home.

How We Celebrate

Not surprisingly, a majority of the celebrations involve being a part of the solution - adopting! Some people also choose to volunteer at shelters or donate funds or supplies. And let's not forget the inundation of the internet with adorable pet adoption stories and pictures.

Tail End Thoughts

Whether you’re a dog aficionado, a devout cat lover, or just an all-around animal enthusiast, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is a perfect opportunity to advocate awareness about the joy and responsibility of pet adoption.

History behind the term 'Adopt A Shelter Pet'


The Birth of the Animal Rescue Movement

In 1894, the world's first animal rescue organization, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), was established in the United States. The organization aimed to protect the rights and welfare of animals, including stray and abandoned pets. This marked the beginning of a societal shift towards caring for animals in need.


The First Animal Shelter

In 1909, the first modern animal shelter was established by the Women's Branch of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The shelter provided a safe haven for homeless animals, rescuing them from the streets and providing them with care and shelter. This marked a crucial step in addressing the issue of stray pets and creating a system to house and care for them.


The Emergence of Pet Overpopulation

During the 1940s, World War II caused a significant increase in pet ownership, but unfortunately also led to an increase in pet abandonment. The combination of pets being left behind due to wartime circumstances and the lack of spaying and neutering programs led to a rapid growth in the population of stray animals. This period gave rise to the urgent need for finding homes for these abandoned pets.


The Origin of 'Adopt a Shelter Pet'

In 1973, the phrase 'Adopt a Shelter Pet' was coined by the Humane Society of America. This simple yet impactful slogan became a rallying call for animal lovers to choose adoption from shelters instead of purchasing pets from breeders or pet stores. The focus shifted from buying animals to providing loving homes for those already in need. 'Adopt a Shelter Pet' became a phrase that permeated the animal welfare movement, empowering individuals to make a difference in the lives of shelter pets.


Achieving National Recognition

In 1999, a landmark event took place when the United States officially designated the month of October as 'National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.' This proclamation aimed to raise awareness about the countless shelter animals waiting for their forever homes. It served as a national reminder to encourage pet adoption and to recognize the importance of providing loving homes to shelter pets across the country.

Did you know?

Did you know, the most adopted pet from the shelter is not a cat or a dog? It's actually a Puerto Rican satos, an all-purpose term for mixed breed dogs!


awareness rememberance love pets animals adoption shelters

First identified

23rd April 2015

Most mentioned on

27th April 2017

Total mentions


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