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Gotcha Day: What It Is & 10 Ways to Celebrate

Misty Layne Profile Picture

By Misty Layne

woman adopting a dog from shelter

Adopting a new pet is one of the best days of your life; you get a new furry companion, and your pet gets a forever home. What could be better? Many people enjoy celebrating their new pets’ birthdays when they roll around, but for those that aren’t sure when their pet’s birthday is, there’s Gotcha Day!

What exactly is Gotcha Day? Gotcha Day is the day you bring your pet home, and celebrating it gives you an opportunity to celebrate your pet and heap love on them (more than the normal amount, anyway). Here’s what to know and how to celebrate!


What is Gotcha Day?

As we said, Gotcha Day is the day you brought your new pet home. If you’re wondering how Gotcha Day for animals came about, the idea was borrowed from humans. Many people who adopt children celebrate the day the child was adopted as Gotcha Day, so the idea for the pet version came from there. In both human and animal cases, it’s simply a day to celebrate the creation of a new family.

But how can you celebrate this day?

dog owner with her pet
Image Credit: Piqsels

The 10 Ways to Celebrate Gotcha Day

Celebrating Gotcha Day is easy because it’s simply all about your pet! You can spend the day doing all the things your pet enjoys most, or you can do any of the activities listed below.

1. Brag About Them on Social Media

Since this day is all about your beloved pet, why not brag about them on social media? Share how you adopted your pet, post pictures of them, and encourage others to adopt animals from local shelters!

2. Do Your Pet’s Favorite Things

It’s their day, so of course, you should spend time engaging in your pet’s favorite activities! Play a game of fetch with your dog, or curl up and nap with kitty. Whatever your pet loves to do most, include it in your Gotcha Day celebrations.

border collie dog playing fetch with the male owner
Image Credit: elbud, Shutterstock

3. Donate to Your Local Shelter

We know you’re forever grateful for finding your pet, so why not help others find a beloved companion by donating to your local shelter? You can donate a few dollars in your pet’s name or even your time to help them keep caring for and finding homes for the animals that come through. Undoubtedly, they’ll appreciate anything you’re able to give!

4. Dress Your Pet Up

This way of celebrating Gotcha Day might be better for dog owners than cat parents (unless you have an exceptionally chill feline!), but get your pet some new clothes or accessories and dress them up. It’s their day to shine, and you’ll likely be taking many photos throughout the day, so you want your pet to look their best!

Cute cat and dog in costumes
Image Credit: jellypet, Pixabay

5. Drive Your Pup Around

Another activity that’s more oriented to dogs is driving your pup around. Most dogs are big fans of riding in the car and sticking their heads out the window, so why not take your dog for a ride through town or around the block?

6. Gift New Toys

Animals love to play, so take your pet to the nearest pet store and let them pick out a new toy or two! They’ll be sure to appreciate it, and by spending time playing with your pet, you’re strengthening your bond.

kitten with cat ball toy on green carpet
Image Credit: HeungSoon, Pixabay

7. Have a Photoshoot (or Have a Portrait Made)

We’re sure there’s no shortage of pictures of your furry companion on your phone, but why not do a full-on photoshoot? Dress your pet to the nines, take them somewhere scenic, and have a real photoshoot with the whole fam. Or, if you feel you aren’t the best photographer, commission a portrait of your beloved pet to hang up in your home.

8. Schedule a Playdate

If you have a pet that enjoys playing with other animals, schedule a playdate for Gotcha Day! Call up a friend with a pet and invite them over or take your pup to the dog park to play. Then, sit back and watch your pet have the time of their life.

siberian husky puppy playing with other dogs in the park
Image Credit: SunflowerMomma, Shutterstock

9. Enjoy a Spa Day

This activity might not be suitable for all pets, but spoiling your four-legged friend rotten with a spa day is a fabulous idea for Gotcha Day. If you have a dog, you can treat them to a trip to a nearby doggy spa where they can get a bath, facials, mud masks, and more. Or you can do a spa day at home for any pet by having a nice grooming session.

10. Throw a Party

There’s nothing like a party during a celebration, so throwing one for your pet’s Gotcha Day makes sense. Get a pet-friendly cake, invite some friends over with their pets, and enjoy an afternoon of fun and games!

a black and tan dog in a party
Image By: KoolShooters, Pexels



Gotcha Day is simply the day you adopted your pet, and you can celebrate it in so many ways! Whether you want to do something simple like getting your pet new toys or something more elaborate like a party, there’s really no wrong way to celebrate inviting your four-legged friend into your home. Do one or all of the above activities and make a day of loving your pet.

Featured Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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