RANCHO SANTA FE — The statistics on how many orphaned pets lose their lives are staggering. According to Helen Woodward Animal Center, 2.6 million orphaned pets will never find their forever homes.
In 2013, HWAC CEO and President Mike Arms shared with his team how difficult it is to wrap one’s mind around this number.
“Mike wanted to put a face on that number and create a day where we all would really think about the orphan pets we know, the people who have adopted them and how animals have touched somebody’s life,” said Jessica Gercke, HWAC PR and communications director. “We wanted to create a day where we see those faces and understand how beautiful these creatures are.”
The idea behind the day was that by raising the topic, people would be able to see the problem more clearly.
And in 2013, Remember Me Thursday® was born.
Every fourth Thursday in September, HWAC dives into social media asking everyone to light a candle. This year, it lands on Thursday, Sept. 28. Taking the reins as spokeswoman this year is actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth.
“People then take pictures of their pets next to the candle to remember all the animals that lost their lives without ever finding a forever home,” Gercke said.
The Remember Me Thursday website also has virtual candle lightings.
Overall, the goal is to raise awareness for pet adoption.
“Everybody has known a pet in somebody’s life that was adopted,” she said. “Everybody has seen the beauty that these animals can bring. On this one day, we are asking everybody to share this message.”
Since Remember Me Thursday launched, 160 different countries have participated and 364 million social media impressions made.
Gercke also shared that Remember Me Thursday has netted the attention of numerous celebrities. While Chenoweth will be this year’s spokesperson, Pauley Perrette from “NCIS” was HWAC’s spokeswoman last year. The year before that, it was Carrie Ann Inaba from “Dancing with the Stars.”
Gercke shared that actress Diane Keaton also participates every year.
“It’s just a huge group of people that get behind this because it’s such a simple thing to do and we unite with people everywhere,” Gercke said. “We’re basically creating one strong voice for these creatures who have no voice.”
Gercke describes Remember Me Thursday as a beautiful program and a great thing for animal lovers to do together.
In honor of Remember of Thursday, two events are taking place in San Diego.
The first is a candle lighting ceremony in Balboa Park, beginning at 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 28 and free to the public.
Gercke explained that the lighting ceremony symbolizes the shining of light to all the orphaned pets who lost their lives and to those who are waiting for forever homes.
On Sept. 21, the San Diego Padres will once again be supportive of Remember Me Thursday during their game against the Colorado Rockies.
“The Padres will do a pre-game ceremony, and we’ll have Pet Encounter Therapy pets on the field,” Gercke said. “Then there will be a candle lighting and a video presentation. One of our representatives will throw out the first pitch.”
To learn more about Remember Me Thursday, upcoming events and hashtags to use, visit RememberMeThursday.org.