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There are many special days throughout the year. Some days are set aside for fun such as International Pi Day on March 14th and International Mole Day on October 23rd. Other days are set aside to create a sense of camaraderie amongst people such as World Gratitude Day on September 21st. There are also days that have been created to spread awareness about important issues around the world. Such a day, International Homeless Animal’s Day (IHAD), recently took place on August 15th.

Started in 1992 by the International Society for Animal Rights, IHAD is an event that takes place every year on the third Saturday of August. This is a specific day set aside for raising awareness about the problem of pet overpopulation. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 7.6 million animals are picked up by animal shelters every year in the United States alone. Though 2.7 million animals are adopted each year, another 2.7 million animals are euthanized at the same time. Taking into account the numbers, it is obvious to see that animal related issues are quickly becoming a worldwide problem.

First of all, why are there so many homeless animals? The answer to this question is irresponsible pet owners. Now that it is easier to buy pets, many owners do not think carefully enough before buying animals. Some people buy pets just because they feel like it, not realizing that taking care of another living organism is much more challenging than it may seem in the beginning. As a result of uneducated pet owners, unvaccinated and unsterilized dogs and cats get abandoned on the streets each year. These animals left on the streets end up reproducing amongst themselves creating unwanted puppies. They also end up spreading infectious diseases such as rabies that have the power of killing humans.

Upon seeing a stray dog or cat, it is more likely for a person to avoid it, thinking that it is unsanitary or dangerous. However, in reality, none of us humans have the right to turn a blind eye to these animals. The current problems regarding pets are not the animals’ fault, but rather our fault for manipulating their lives for our own selfish desires. We humans are the ones that created this issue, and the animals themselves do not have the power to solve this problem. You yourself may not be the one one that specifically harmed an animal’s life, however it does not make a difference to the animals. From their perspective, all humans are cruel for having the capability of turning a blind eye to them. Keeping all of this in mind, how can we all help to save these lives of homeless animals?

When thinking of helping or rescuing animals, one may think of picking random dogs and cats off of the street, searching for homes that are willing to take them in. Even though this may is a good idea, it is probably not something everyone can do. Keep in mind that actions as simple as leaving out a bowl full of leftovers from dinner outside to donating money to animal shelters nearby can help save lives of animals. If you are thinking about getting a pet, take a moment to think about adopting an animal from an animal shelter. There are plenty of dogs and cats looking for homes. Getting your pet from a shelter and providing a good home means that you just saved a life of an animal that may have been next in line for getting euthanized.

Animals are living organisms just like we are. Even though they are living just like us, they have been going under harsh conditions unimaginable to humans. IHAD may have already passed, but this is a great time for each and every one of us to take a moment to think about what it looks like to be a responsible pet owner, also to think about what we can do to regain the trust from the animals who we have harmed.

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