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If Pets Had Thumbs Day: When It Is & How It Is Celebrated

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

funny pug dog with man hands in checkered shirt

Humans are very clearly different from most animals in the world. Many people think that humans’ advantages over animals primarily stem from our outsized intelligence and capacity to think. However, there is more to it than that. Humans also have opposable thumbs, which helps us to manipulate the world around us in ways that animals simply can’t. But what if your pets had the same types of thumbs that humans do? That is the question that If Pets Had Thumbs Day asks and strives to answer. What is this crazy holiday? When is it celebrated, and how can we celebrate? Let’s find out.

When and What Is If Pets Had Thumbs Day?

If Pets Had Thumbs Day is celebrated each year on March 3rd. There are no changes in the date or the observances. If Pets Had Thumbs Day is a day to let your imagination run wild. One of the biggest things that sets humans apart from pets is the fact that people have opposable thumbs. Most people don’t think about their thumbs too much unless they are twiddling them or accidentally whacking them with a hammer, but they are incredibly important digits. Thumbs allow people to manipulate tools in ways that other animals simply can’t.

This day asks, what if your pets had the same types of thumbs that people have? What would your pets do? Would animals have let themselves be domesticated if they had the power of the thumb? These are the types of existential questions we are asked to ponder on this very special day.

a shih tzu and a thumbs up
Image Credit: chaoss, Shutterstock

Who Invented If Pets Had Thumbs Day?

If Pets Had Thumbs Day was invented by Thomas Roy, an actor. He has invented dozens of silly holidays that are designed to “celebrate life and its many quirky moments.” These holidays are made to help people stop and think and let their imaginations run wild. Roy said he got the idea after owning pets for 45 years and thinking about the way they behave and the special interactions between people and pets.

You can look at a list of all of the unique holidays that Thomas Roy has invented on his website.

Ways to Celebrate

There are many interesting ways to celebrate this eclectic holiday. The first way is to simply take time out of your day to appreciate your pet and dream up ways that you could spend time with your cats or dogs if they had opposable thumbs. Maybe you can make a list of all of the things your animals could do for themselves around the house if they had thumbs of their own.

Some other ways you can celebrate include:
  • Go to the zoo and take a look at the monkeys
  • Draw pictures of your pets with thumbs
  • Watch some of those dogs with human hands videos
  • Teach your dog how to give high fives
  • Get a manicure and appreciate your own thumb

At the end of the day, the holiday is meant to stimulate your imagination and help you to appreciate your pets and the relationship between animals and man.

What Other Animals Have Opposable Thumbs?

Despite the uniqueness of the human hand, humans are not the only animals that have opposable thumbs. In fact, many animals have this unique physical trait. Most great apes, including chimps, gorillas, and orangutans, have opposable thumbs. Raccoons have a special type of thumb that helps them climb and open trash cans. Giant pandas also have opposable thumbs, which they use to grab onto thick stalks of bamboo. Possums and koalas are two more well-known animals that also have opposable thumbs.

Opposable thumbs are exceedingly rare in the animal kingdom. Humans are some of the only living things to use their opposable thumbs to their greatest potential. Apes are the only other animals that have used their thumbs to create and manipulate crude tools to help them accomplish jobs.


Next time you look at the calendar and see that it is March 3rd, remember that it is If Pets Had Thumbs Day. Try to imagine living in a house with dogs with fully formed hands with thumbs. This is a funny holiday made to help you lighten up and enjoy the world around you, from the mind of Thomas Roy. It is one of the dozens of strange observances created by Roy to help brighten the world.

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Featured Image Credit: Dean Drobot, Shutterstock

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