I think their ought to be a day to honor homeless animals such as dogs and cats.
On this annual holiday, Happy Homeless Pet Day, in mid-January, animal shelters and rescues would host special open houses where people could come in and play with, pet and help care for a homeless pet. Who knows maybe more homeless pets would be adopted because now there is a day when everyone is thinking about them.
On this day, for just a few hours, people who otherwise may never venture out to experience the unselfish love and kindness of a homeless pet may take advantage of the experience because now it’s a holiday. It would be the thing to do.
People may walk around on this day and the natural thing to say to someone would be “Hey, Happy Homeless Pet Day! Which shelter are you going to visit today?” Just like when people say “Merry Christmas! Where are you spending the holidays?”
Instead of buying Hallmark cards that people don’t appreciate anyway, on Happy Homeless Pet Day everyone would be moved to go out of their way and buy dog or cat food and donate it to a shelter or give it to someone who owns a pet. Veterinarians may offer free vaccinations and check ups on this day. Doggy spas may offer free pampering for the homeless pets. Dog and cat food companies may donate food and treats to shelters and rescue groups. Schools could have field trips on this holiday and go to hang out in an animal shelter. This would encourage empathy and compassion in children. Senior citizens and special needs groups could find local shelters and rescue groups to go help out for the day. All sorts of activities benefitting homeless pets as well as humans could become the norm on this day. How cool would that be!? And this one day would naturally spill out to longer term situations benefitting homeless pets.
I pick this holiday to be celebrated in January because it is cold. These shelters run on very little income and I would want people to see just how difficult it is to heat these places and to keep the homeless pets safe and warm during the winter. This would give awareness to the needs of people who selflessly run animal rescues and shelters. These are good people who put homeless pets before their own needs.
Unlike retailers at Christmas time, those who run pet shelters and rescues are not in it for the money.
Last winter I wrote a news story for the Chicago Tribune about Huntley Illinois animal shelter whose heat broke down on one of the coldest days of the year. Thanks to the kindness of a local heating company their heat was fixed. Donations came rolling in to help make other repairs at the shelter after news got out that the heat broke. But unless there is a huge crisis at an animal shelter, the public is rarely aware of the critical needs to run the shelter and keep the animals safe and warm.
I’d love to see this holiday be created. I’d love to see more attention and money given to these homeless animals and the good, kind people who are there to help them. These are not rich people. People who work in these shelters typically do not get paid, the shelters rely on volunteers. They beg for donations, not for themselves, but for these helpless, homeless animals.
These are not glamourous places, but they are occupied by beautiful souls, some on two legs and some on four paws.
If one day a year everyone walked around saying “Happy Homeless Pet Day” ideas may start flowing as to how to help these little creatures out.
They deserve a holiday. Because they hurt no one ever.