The cutest cuddle buddy. The kindest companion. The most motivating workout partner. The most welcome wake-up call. While everyone has different replies when asked, “What makes your shelter pet special?” the reality is that no matter whom you ask, you’ll always hear the same refrain: my shelter pet is an amazing pet.
People who hear about others’ positive adoption stories are much more likely to adopt themselves, so The Shelter Pet Project, a collaborative effort between Maddie’s Fund®, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Ad Council, created a social media holiday all about showing the world just how wonderful shelter pets are. It’s called Celebrate Shelter Pets Day, and it’s today, December 7th.
We’re partnering with five shelters across the country to give you a sneak peek into the incredible work these shelters do on a daily basis. And to introduce you to adorable – and adoptable – pets!
Share your adoption story under #CelebrateShelterPets, and if you’re ready to adopt, head on over to TheShelterPetProject.org to search for a dog or cat near you.
To kick-start this day of celebration, we asked Ad Council’s shelter pet parents how they met their shelter pet and for their best advice when it comes to starting your own adoption story. Check out all these cuties!
“You never know what kind of dog you will find at a shelter! Your perfect lap dog might have caused allergies for its owner’s new boyfriend…or the hypo-allergenic dog you need might have been left behind when its owner transferred to Asia. You never know how or why they got there. But once you take them home they steal your heart and make your house a home.”
“Baxter is the perfect dog. He is an equal opportunity love bug and has special and equal affection for all my husband and I, and each of our kids. He is a conversationalist, all the time snuggler, and he is happiest running dog circles on the beach in Avalon, New Jersey with our family. His favorite place is anywhere that we are, and he always knows exactly how each one of us is feeling at any time and supports us when we need it. We feel so lucky to have saved this little lover with the bat ears, but even luckier that he saved us right back.”
“Trust your gut when you find the pet you want – you’ll know if it’s the one for you. Be patient with your pet as their personality starts to emerge – it can take some time for rescue pets to come out of their shells. And most importantly, know that that little furball will be the best decision of your life.”
“Think about what type of characteristics you want in a pet. Do you want him/her to be really playful? Be able to go on a run with you? Be okay with wearing outfits so you can make them Instagram famous? Whatever it is, let the shelter know what you’re looking for and they can help you find your perfect fur baby.”
“My best advice–ask questions! Between the rescue organization, the vet, and our friends who have dogs, I feel like I am constantly asking people for information. Even before you adopt it is important to do research on what type of pet is the best fit for you.” The Shelter Pet Project is definitely the place to start your search!”
“We’d been browsing dog profiles for weeks, and Oscar’s big ears caught our eye. He was described as playful, smart, cuddly, and housebroken—what more could you want? When we took him home, he immediately dove under our coffee table to find a tennis ball that we hadn’t even realized was there. We were instantly delighted, and we now spoil him with a new toy every week.”
Shadow & Brazil
“I started following both WaHi Cats and Little Wanderers after searching for shelters near me on TheShelterPetProject.org. We reached out to WaHi first, and fostered then adopted Shadow, a 2-year-old male who grew up on the streets. Since Shadow was super energetic and playful but also a little anxious, we thought he might respond well to a younger brother – enter Brazil, who we adopted from Little Wanderers. Brazil loves following Shadow and they both enjoy wrestling and watching pigeons together in the mornings.”
“Talk to rescue organizations about your lifestyle and the kind of pet you’re looking to adopt. The Sato Project told us about Willoughby before his profile even went up on their website. Rescue coordinators are great matchmakers and can help identify the perfect pet for you!”
“We (my husband and I) found an adorable litter of puppies through the Shelter Pet Project. We submitted our application online and went to meet them that weekend. By the time we arrived there was one puppy left – the runt. She was quiet and sweet, and gently licked a treat out of my hand. We knew she was ours. Adelaide has been quiet, sweet, and gentle ever since. She loves long hikes in the woods followed by long naps on the couch. She may be 75 pounds, but she thinks she is a lap dog and will squish you with love.”
“If you’re at all unsure of the commitment, consider fostering first. There are so many animals in need of foster care and it’s a great test to the amount of time a dog needs. Consider adopting a dog a few months old, they still have the adorable puppy qualities but are often past the teething stages and more susceptible to training. And a tired dog is always the best behaved dog, make sure you have access to parks and places where they can run around get all their crazy energy out!”
“My now-husband adopted Sawyer soon after we first met. The minute I looked into his big brown eyes (Sawyer’s, not my husband’s :)) I knew he was the one.”