On Thursday Sep. 26, global candle-lighting ceremonies will honor the homeless animals that lost their lives over the past year (approximately 3.4 million in the United States, according to estimates by the Humane Society of the United States). The initiative, called Remember Me Thursday, is spearheaded by Mike Arms of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, who, since 1999, has helped find homes for 8.3 million pets through his International Pet Adoptathon and International Home 4 the Holidays programs. He is joined by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, representing 150-plus animal welfare organizations, and by Maddie’s Corner, an animal welfare organization founded by Broadway and television actress Kristin Chenoweth.
The event will coincide with the first day of the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s International Animal Welfare Conference in La Jolla, Calif., and candles will be lit in ceremonies at shelters throughout the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Thailand and Japan.
Find info on participating shelters for Remember Me Thursday >>
“Only 30% of pets in U.S. homes come from rescue facilities,” said Jessica Gercke, PR manager for the Helen Woodward Animal Center. “Millions of beautiful, healthy orphan pets die every year without the benefit of a loving home. These pets can be purebred, well-behaved, loving animals but they don’t get a second chance because there is so little awareness of the types of animals available at local rescue facilities.”
In addition to attending a local ceremony, animal lovers are encouraged to promote Remember Me Thursday and advocate for homeless pets by changing their Facebook profile pictures to the Remember Me Thursday icon and spreading the word through Twitter (#LIGHTFORPETS) and other social media.
Celebrity animal welfare supporters include actress Kristin Bauer Van Straten of HBO’s “True Blood” and comedian and actress Margaret Cho of Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva.” Also lending support are cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy from Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” recording artists Berlin and X, MUTTS cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, dog behaviorist Tamar Geller, MAZDASPEED race car driver Elliott Skeer, social media sensation Grumpy Cat and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. Broadway kitty celeb Vito Vincent from the musical “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” will host the New York City candle-lighting event for the Mayor’s Alliance at Bideawee, the organization from which he was adopted.