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When Is Remember Me Thursday? 2024 Update, How to Celebrate & Origins

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By Nicole Cosgrove

two woman adopting dogs at animal shelter

Dedicated to animals in shelters, Remember Me Thursday is an awareness day that was founded to encourage adopting pets rather than buying them. It falls on the fourth Thursday of September every year. This year, Remember Me Thursday is September 28.

Don’t worry if you missed it, though. Next year, the event is on September 26. We hope that this guide will give you a few ideas for how to remember shelter animals in need.

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What Is Remember Me Thursday?

Around 6.3 million pets are surrendered to shelters every year 1. While the vast majority are cats and dogs, shelters also cater to other common pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds.

Many stray animals find their way back to their owners with the shelter’s help or surrendered animals find other loving homes, but sadly, not every animal leaves the shelter once they’re there. If they’re not adopted, the animals either are euthanized to make space for new arrivals or must live out the rest of their lives in a kennel.

Remember Me Thursday is an awareness day that began on social media on September 26, 2012 2. The Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego introduced the movement as a way to shed light on the problem of all the animals that are in shelters and how much they deserve to be loved too. The day also owes a great deal of its popularity to the efforts of many pet owners and A-list celebrities who support the movement.

Held on the fourth Thursday in September, this day is dedicated to promoting adoption over shopping. Since 2012, it’s been essential in encouraging more pet owners to visit shelters rather than breeders when they look for a new pet. The hashtag #RememberMeThursday has helped spread the awareness around the world.

stray dogs in a shelter
Photo Credit: Anton Gvozdikov, Shutterstock

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How to Celebrate Remember Me Thursday

Remember Me Thursday might have started as a social media event, but as awareness spreads about the movement, there are more ways to celebrate the day. One of the best methods is to adopt a pet from your local shelter, but there are many other great things to do.

1. Adopt or Foster a Pet

Since Remember Me Thursday is focused on shelter animals, the best way to celebrate is by taking the chance to adopt or foster a pet yourself. Don’t make the decision lightly, though. You need to make sure you’re ready for the commitment of owning a pet, whether you choose a cat, dog, or another animal.

Once you’ve considered the pros and cons and decided that a pet is a responsibility that you want and can take on, you might still be wary about making that final step. This is completely normal, especially if you’ve never owned a pet before. Remember Me Thursday is a great opportunity to take that final step and adopt or foster a pet.


2. Donate to a Shelter

Not everyone can afford to keep a pet or has the means to care for one. Fortunately, even if you can’t adopt a pet, you can still support your local shelter by donating.

If you don’t have enough funds to make regular donations, consider saving the date of Remember Me Thursday and save up your loose change for a few months beforehand. You’ll be able to donate a lump sum when the day rolls around and help the staff take care of the shelter’s animals.

Also, remember that you can always donate food, toys, bedding, litter, and other pet supplies. The staff at your local shelter will appreciate the extra supplies just as much as they’d appreciate the funds to buy their own.

Stray White American Bull Dog Pit Bull in an Animal Shelter Kennel Cage
Photo Credit: Hannah Carl, Shutterstock

3. Host a Fundraiser

Many people adopt or like to support local shelters by volunteering or donating, especially with awareness days like Remember Me Thursday spreading the word. While it started as a social media event, you can get your community involved by hosting an event dedicated to shelter animals.

Host a barbecue and invite your friends or neighbors who have adopted pets, or plan a fundraiser to encourage your neighbors to donate. You can also consider inviting your local shelter to take part and help some pets find their forever homes.


4. Light a Candle

Remember Me Thursday isn’t just about remembering the pets living in shelters; it’s also a way to acknowledge and mourn for the animals that never find other homes. While the vast majority of pets do find their way home again or are adopted, approximately 920,000 are euthanized every year. Many of these animals are healthy or have treatable conditions.

Although this number doesn’t include the animals that die of old age or health issues, it goes to show how many animals die in shelters without families to call their own. Lighting a candle is a quiet but effective way to honor the memories of shelter animals, whether they’re alive or not.

If you have pets of your own or children who could knock over a candle, make sure you place it somewhere safe and don’t leave it unattended. You can also use a battery-operated candle if you prefer a safer alternative.

cat adopted at shelter
Photo Credit: Artem Beliaikin, Unsplash

5. Spend Time With Your Pet

With so many pets surrendered every year, it’s even more important to make sure your pets have a loving home. Whether you adopted or bought your pet, Remember Me Thursday is the perfect excuse to spoil them more than usual. Give them a spa day, treat them with their favorite snacks, or just cuddle on the couch like you always do.


6. Spread the Word

Spreading the word about Remember Me Thursday isn’t just up to shelters, rescues, and other animal welfare organizations. You can also join in, and the more people who get involved, the farther the word will spread. It’s easy to get involved, even if you don’t have time or funds to donate to a shelter or host a fundraiser.

You can spread the word by using the hashtag #RememberMeThursday on social media. Share stories of your experiences with your pets to inspire prospective pet owners to take that final step to adopt, or share posts from your local shelter to help the pets get noticed.

male volunteer petting dog in animal shelter
Photo Credit: Max kegfire, Shutterstock

7. Volunteer at a Shelter

Like funding, shelters are always in need of a few extra hands to take care of the animals. There’s always something to do, and more workers means there are more people to give the pets the attention that they need and help them find forever homes.

If you can’t adopt and don’t have enough money to donate, consider volunteering instead. It’s also a great way to figure out whether pet ownership is something that you might be interested in. You’ll learn how to care for all sorts of animals and might meet one who steals your heart.

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Conclusion

Animals in shelters are often forgotten about, but days like Remember Me Thursday are dedicated to spreading the word about shelter animals and raising awareness about the importance of adoption. It’s held on the fourth Thursday in September every year.

Remember Me Thursday is the perfect excuse to adopt a pet of your own, support your local shelter, or host a fundraiser for your community to help spread the word and encourage pet lovers to adopt instead of shop.


Featured Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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