National Pet Day

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COLUMBIA – Animal adoption shelters are encouraging adoption on this National Pet Day.

The day is designed to encourage people around the nation to give extra attention and love to all of their animals. Many also use the day as an opportunity to explain the benefits of adoption.

“It’s been proven that animals definitely reduce your stress level and for elderly people there are homes that bring in animals for the elderly,” said Dr. Diana Krunning, a farm veterinarian.

Animals can serve many different purposes, whether that is being an assistant for the elderly, a comfort for those with anxiety or even an additional friend to their owner.

“I’ll come back to my boxer and he’ll see that I’m irritable and he instantly runs across the room and starts licking my face, licking me, and I’m just like I love you so much,” said Jarrett Sutphin, adoption coordinator for Second Chance.

The day was first founded in 2006 by animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige. Her goal was to create public awareness about the struggles animals face while in shelters versus when they are with loving families.

“[The animals] will reward you by being there by being loyal. Once you start taking care of an animal, well, they appreciate it,” Krunning said.

The day is also designed to encourage adoption and donations to animal welfare organizations. If animal lovers are unable to make the financial or time commitment that comes with adopting a pet, they are urged to help in other ways. They can either donate toys and other animal care products to help benefit those animals still in shelters. Or they can help someone care for their animal.

Those on social media are encouraged to show off their pets using photos and videos as well as to use the hashtag #NationalPetDay to promote the day and what it stands for in relation to animals.