For most people, their pets are unforgettable, even after they’re gone. Dogs and cats become such inextricable parts of our families and our lives that we couldn’t forget them if we tried.
But what about the animals who never get families? What about the dogs and cats who live and die in shelters without ever being taken home so that they can become part of someone else’s life?
Today is their day, the day that they’re remembered, even by people who never had the chance to know them. Or maybe especially by the people who never had that chance.
This is the second annual Remember Me Thursday, founded last year by Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center. It’s a day intended to specifically remember all the dogs and cats who died without ever getting to go home to a family of their own.
So today, remember those animals. There are a lot of them. Thousands die in shelters every year. The best way to commemorate Remember Me Thursday would be to go to a shelter and bring home a dog or cat to become part of your family. That’s an especially good thing to do if you happen to live near a high-kill shelter. Adopting from one of those is literally a rescue, especially if you take home a dog or cat who’s old, disabled, or just not pretty in some way. Those are the ones who wind up on the euthanization table most often. People tend to want cute puppies, not adult dogs who might not be around for as long as a young animal. But older dogs, dogs with missing limbs or chronic illnesses deserve the chance to be remembered as part of a family too.
For those who aren’t able to adopt an animal from a shelter today, there are other ways to observe the day, and make sure that we all remember how many animals need homes. The Helen Woodward Animal Center recommends three ways that people can participate:
First, you can light a candle, either in real life or virtually. Pet organizations around the world are having candle-lighting events, and it’s easy to find out if one’s happening near you. If not, you can do it online at the event’s website. Either way, it’s a gesture that will help ensure that people think about shelter pets, even if it’s just for a minute.
Second, you can talk the day and the cause up on social media. The Helen Woodward Animal Center has started the Twitter tag #LightForPets for people to talk about pet adoption. Join in the conversation, on whatever social network you favor.
Third, the center asks people to change their Facebook or Twitter icons. Whether you do it for one day or several, it can make a strong impression in social media if enough people do it.
Of course, everyone will find their own way to remember pets, whether they’re the ones that you owned, or ones that you might have owned. We hope that your memories for the day are good ones, either way.
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