It’s National Pet Day, So Spread the Word!

It’s National Pet Day, but if you’re a pet owner, you know there’s seldom a day that passes that you don’t celebrate the inclusion of your other “kids” in your world. So, go ahead and hug, kiss, or pet your babies a little extra today because they make us happier and healthier just by being in our lives.

It’s true! For more than 10 years, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has striven to determine the physical and mental benefits of pet ownership. As many of you likely know, not only can they wrap us around their paws and steal our hearts, but they also contribute to overall cardiovascular health by lowering cortisol, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.

So, how did this day of recognizing our furry, feathered, and scaly friends come about? Read on!

dog and cat
Photo: Pixabay/yan1515

History of National Pet Day

Colleen Paige, an animal welfare advocate and pet and family lifestyle expert, founded National Pet Day in 2006 to celebrate the joy of pets and bring awareness to the ongoing needs of animals waiting for their forever homes while sitting in shelters or rescues.

Paige even encouraged folks looking for purebred dogs and cats to contact rescue organizations rather than going to breeders. Most people don’t realize that if there’s a breed, there’s a rescue overflowing with those animals that need homes, too. And they’re not exclusively older pets. You’ll often find puppies and kittens at these breed-specific rescues.

sleeping puppy
Photo: Pixabay/yogendras31

Don’t Shop! Adopt!

Each year millions of cats and dogs enter animal shelters through no fault of their own. Some are strays, some are surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them, and some have been seized due to a variety of circumstances. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter shelters in the U.S. every year.

While Paige’s “holiday” got its start here in the U.S., it didn’t take long before it expanded globally. Pet lovers now mark the day in places like the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Italy, Spain, Guam, Scotland, Ireland, and many more countries.

tabby cat
Photo: Pixabay/GidonPico

Famous People with Pets

Celebrities have also taken up the cause for bringing awareness. National Pet Day has been promoted by Taylor Swift, Ellen De Generes, Ricky Gervais, Cee Lo Green, Jimmy Fallon, Willy Nelson, Kevin Bacon, Seth Myers, and Carrie Underwood, among many others. Some go even further, like Miranda Lambert with her Mutt Nation Foundation.

Two of our recent presidents, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, have even adopted rescue dogs to add to their family units. The latter recently welcomed a feline named Willow as well. A former farm cat, she was adopted by the Biden family from Rick Telesz in 2022 as part of a campaign promise to adopt a cat into the First Family. Born in 2020, she’s named after Jill Biden’s hometown of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

If you’re thinking of bringing a pet home soon, please consider adoption.

People, Pets & Planet

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