People are more likely to adopt a shelter pet if they've spoken with someone who has already done so. On the 10th Annual Celebrate Shelter Pets Day on December 5, 2019, the Shelter Pet Project asks all pet lovers to be that someone by telling their adopted pets’ stories on social media. The Shelter Pet Project also asks animal shelters and pet rescue organizations to encourage their adopters to share their pets’ stories.

Celebrate Shelter Pets Day launched in 2010 as a collaborative effort between Ad Council, the Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund®. Called "Shelter Pets Take Over Facebook Day" in its first year, the event, which takes place on the first Thursday after Thanksgiving—has grown to include all social platforms and involve hundreds of thousands of pets and their happy adopters.

“Sharing the story of how much your pet means to you on Celebrate Shelter Pets Day is a powerful way to get pets adopted,” said Amy Zeifang, of Maddie’s Fund® Executive Leadership Team. "When people looking for a pet hear how much their friends and family love their adopted pets, and how much their pets have added to their lives, they'll be eager to have that same joy themselves."

The Shelter Pet Project encourages those eager to participate on December 5 to share photos of their adopted cats or dogs across social media, along with their adoption stories. Being part of the celebration is easy! Simply tag your post with #CelebrateShelterPets, a hashtag for the shelter or rescue organization from which you adopted, and the Shelter Pet Project (@shelterpets on Twitter, @shelterpetproject on Instagram and Facebook).

 “Celebrate Shelter Pets Day is one of our favorite social media events. The bond between a pet parent and their beloved dog or cat is truly heartwarming, and especially wonderful this time of year. We can’t wait to see your photos and hear your stories of how you found your ‘perfect match’ at the shelter,” said Amy Nichols, Vice President of Companion animals at the Humane Society of the United States.

Shelters are also encouraged to post adoption stories and available pets to commemorate the occasion, using the #CelebrateShelterPets hashtag. The Shelter Pet Project will include local shelters and rescues in the celebrations by sharing a select number of shelter posts on December 5.

In the days leading up to December 5, the Shelter Pet Project will launch several creative initiatives including a suite of five uplifting shelter pet adoption stories in collaboration with entertainment media company SoulPancake, a division of Participant. The Shelter Pet Project will also release shareable social content such as commemorative Facebook profile photo frames, social graphics and GIFs across the campaign’s owned social channels.

“There are millions of shelter pets available for adoption and millions of potential pet parents who may not realize the joy, excitement and support a shelter pet can add to their lives,” said Heidi Arthur, Chief Campaign Development Officer of the Ad Council. “This Celebrate Shelter Pets Day, we’re excited to continue to encourage pet adoption through heartwarming pet adoption stories.”

The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund® joined the Ad Council to create the Shelter Pet Project in 2009. Since then, the campaign has positioned shelters and rescue groups as the obvious first choice for those looking to add a pet. The campaign ultimately seeks to increase the rate of animals adopted from shelters and rescue groups. In its lifetime, the campaign has secured more than $487 million in donated media, driven over 13 million visits to and upwards of 1.8 million pet searches on the site. Our research has shown that there has been a 24 percent lift in total shelter adoptions due to the campaign’s media support (vs. without any campaign media efforts).

Prospective pet owners are encouraged to visit, where they can search available pets by zip code, watch adoption success stories and learn valuable information about pet adoption. For daily updates, follow the Shelter Pet Project via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Individuals can also use the hashtags #CelebrateShelterPets and #AdoptPureLove to share a story about how their adopted pets changed their lives for the better.


About the Shelter Pet Project

The Shelter Pet Project is the first national PSA campaign created to bring together national animal welfare organizations—the Humane Society of the United States and Maddie's Fund®—and shelters across the country for one unified goal: to increase pet adoption. Along with the Ad Council, these partners aim to break down stereotypes associated with shelter pets and make shelters and rescue groups the overwhelmingly obvious choice for obtaining a pet.

About the Ad Council

The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels. Its innovative social good campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit, follow the Ad Council’s communities on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.

About the Humane Society of the United States

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at  

Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.

About Maddie’s Fund

Maddie's Fund® is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday® co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than $225.7 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, shelter management leadership, shelter medicine education and foster care across the U.S. The Duffields named Maddie's Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and gave them much joy. Maddie was with Dave and Cheryl for ten years and continues to inspire them today. Maddie's Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, investing its resources to create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat. #ThanksToMaddie. Learn more at  

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