The phrase “adopt, don’t shop” is something that you’ll hear often from the dog-loving community and for a very good reason. Many dog lovers advocate for this because the number of orphan dogs waiting to find forever homes is barely decreasing. About 83% of the 4.3 million cats and dogs that entered US shelters were saved in 2020. Sadly, 347,000 cats and dogs were let go. And 51% of animals entering shelters are dogs, 49% are cats. At the start of the pandemic, people became starved for companionship which resulted in the adoption of dogs. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), one in five households, or about 23 million, adopted a dog or cat during the pandemic.
But as the pandemic continued, and while some areas have gone back to the “new” normal, the adoption rate slowly shifted back to the pre-pandemic numbers. The adoptions slowed down and the number of orphaned dogs and cats being taken to shelters increased.
In a perfect world, we’d see that all the fur friends in shelters get to find their forever home, but alas, that’s not the one we live in now.
Rarely do we talk about the animals that are left in shelters until they cross the rainbow bridge, those that never see a life beyond their cages. Even though they get taken care of in shelters, rescues don’t end with the dogs being saved from the street — that does not compare to being in a loving home.
This is why we encourage you to be a part of the #RememberMeThursday Awareness Movement. It is an international social media awareness day that brings attention to the millions of adoptable pets waiting in shelters. Now going into its eighth year, it aims to unite individuals and pet adoption organizations around the world to be an unstoppable, integrated voice for orphan pets in need of forever homes.
Falling on every fourth Thursday of September, the event draws dog communities and individuals from the entire world to share the importance of dog adoption, and shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues.
In the previous years of the campaign, over 190 countries supported the movement with hundreds of thousands of individuals and more than 700 separate animal welfare organizations around the globe holding candle-lighting ceremonies of their own, spreading the message on social media, visiting the Remember Me Thursday website, or lighting a virtual candle. Celebrities such as Diane Keaton, Kristin Chenoweth, George Lopez, Katherine Heigl, Bethenny Frankel, and dozens more have used social media to share the “opt to adopt” message and save orphan pets. Over the years, pet influencers such as Lil Bub, Cole & Marmalade, and Tuna Melts My Heart also joined the cause.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO ADOPT ORPHAN DOGS
You Save a Life and Gain a Lifetime Companion
Each year, it’s estimated that more than one million adoptable dogs and cats are put to sleep in the United States, simply because there are too many pets that come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet. Having a dog in your life can ultimately change not only your way of life for the better, but you also give an orphan dog (or cat) a second chance to live a happy life. A bonus for going to shelters is that even though you may have an idea of what you are looking for, there are a wide variety of animals waiting to be adopted from shelters – just might come home with an unexpected forever best friend.
You Encourage Others to Adopt and Help Fight Puppy Mills
Throughout the country, thousands of commercial pet-breeding facilities and backyard breeders produce millions of animals for sale in pet stores. The moms of these puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. Once they are no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded—either put to sleep, abandoned, or sold at auction. By adopting a pet, you can be certain you aren’t giving them a dime.
It’s also given that many dog owners don’t really know how harmful these mills are and some prefer just simply buying from a puppy mill because they want a pretty new dog. But once people that others are adopting more, maybe it’ll make them decide to adopt instead. If you’re one to the length of helping them with the process of adopting, then that’s even better!
You support a charity and/or a community institution
Not only will it cost you less, but you’ll be contributing to a group that has been tirelessly taking care of orphaned pets. Every pet community in America requires an animal shelter. Shelters improve the community by mandating that adopted animals be spayed or neutered. This requirement helps diminish the chances that more unwanted animals will enter the world.
HOW TO CELEBRATE THIS DOG HOLIDAY
At the very core of this holiday, it’s really all about honoring those orphaned dogs that have been waiting to be adopted that either never got to find a forever home or are still waiting.
There are various ways in which you can celebrate. If you are not in the position to adopt, these are things you can do instead:
Attend or support virtual or in-person celebrations
There are various groups online that are hosting Remember Me Thursday events that will benefit shelters and other orphaned pets. The founder of RMT also hosts events that you can learn more about on their website.
Utilize social media and post about Remember Me Thursday
With people not being able to see each other in person as often as they did back then, social media is more powerful than ever. Use your social media accounts to spread awareness about pets waiting in shelters and rescues to inspire others and to save the lives of pets. If you have any dogs or pets that are rescues, feature them on your next post and share your story about them. Make sure to use the hashtags #RememberMeThursday and #SeeTheLight when posting.
Organize Your own Remember Me Thursday event
Don’t have any groups near you that are hosting an event? Organize one! It takes some time to host events such as this, but if you are willing and have the time to then it’ll make a lot of animals happier. You can partner up with Non-profit dog groups or shelters and have fundraisers or fun activities that will encourage dog adoption!
Light a candle for remembrance
A large component of the day is the lighting of candles. Real candles are lit at events often hosted by organizations, and virtual candles are lit online by individuals with rescued pets, who add accompanying messages about their pets to their candles. The idea behind this is to “light up the world for pet orphans” to help others “see the light” about dog adoption so that orphan pets won’t be ignored.
Now that you’ve got everything you need to know about this special event, it’s all up to you what you do next.
If you want to celebrate this, but can’t do all of those mentioned above, you can simply share this with your pet-loving friends. It will be enough to shed light on orphan dogs waiting for their forever home.