How to Celebrate your Pet’s Adoption Day

By Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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As a dog and cat mom, I get excited to celebrate my fur-family members’ adoption day (or Gotcha’ Day as some like to call it)! Today, nine years ago, we adopted my sweet pup, Chilly. It was true puppy love at first sight when we met our guy at the SPCA Tampa Bay.

We were still grieving the loss of our beloved lab mix, Buck, who we had lost 7 months earlier and we really hadn’t planned on adopting a young pup, as they’re typically more work than a mature dog. As soon as we locked eyes though, we knew this puppy was meant to be with us.

I thought Chilly was a fitting name for our new pup because of his “chilly” start in life. He had originally come from a shelter in Alabama that had no heat source for the kennels during that particularly bitter winter.

Every year since we brought Chilly home, we celebrate Chilly’s adoption day as he continues to be the center of our daily life.

This year, we decided to have a pretty low-key Adoption Day since our January is so busy. Plus, we had so much fun in the Colorado Rockies this past Christmas with Chilly! But, I wanted to share some of the fun things I’ve done in the past and my plan for this year, so that you can make this year special for your favorite fur-friends!

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Tips on making your adoption day special.Make Your Pet’s Adoption Day Special

Gotcha Day Party

In lieu of a birthday party, many like to do a Gotcha Day party. Instead of the focus being on their birth, it’s a celebration of their adoption. If you’re throwing a shin-dig for your pup, be sure to invite all his puppy friends! Have your party inside a fenced yard or park so all your guests can stay happy and safe! I like to really have fun with these parties when it comes to decorating and party favors. Here are a few ideas.

Dog Party Outfit

Help your guest of honor look their best by getting them a sweet new outfit. Even if they only keep their attire on for a few minutes, it’s totally worth it to be able to snap those priceless photos! I’m obsessed with this one since it comes with a hat and matching bandana.

Happy Gotcha Day! Dog Bandana

Another outfit idea is a simple bandana like this one from FunDog Bandanas! I love how Chilly looks with a festive bandana on. This one is also great for those pups and kitties that are less thrilled about getting dressed up. You could even buy extras and give them as a party favor to all your furry guests!


Kitty Themed Balloons

I love these kitty-themed balloons. They are pur-fect to help you celebrate your feline friend’s Adoption Day! And, if your kitty is anything like my Olivia, they will have lots of fun playing with the balloons long after the party is over! Just be sure to pick up any balloon pieces so they don’t pose a health hazard to overly-curious cats.


Dog Themed Balloons

The dog version of these balloons is equally precious. This one even comes with a sweet crown for your lovable pup. I think these pup-themed balloons make an adorable backdrop for guests to take photos under!



Pay It Forward or Create a Fundraiser in Honor of your Pet

Donate to a local animal shelter or to your pet’s shelter or rescue alma mater! Another thing you can do is create a fundraiser and invite your friends to donate. Just think how those funds will benefit animals less fortunate than yours. Fundly is a wonderful site I recently found that allows you to create fundraisers and donate. It makes donating and asking friends to contribute effortless.

Inspire others to Adopt

We are so fortunate to live in a generation that makes sharing our experiences and advice with others through social media easy. On our pet’s special day, think about sharing your adoption story with your friends. Your adoption journey could inspire someone to adopt an animal in need.

Mini Celebration

If you don’t have time to throw a big party for your pet, try throwing a small event just for family. This is exactly what I’m doing this year. I like to bake some dog and kitty friendly treats to go along with a nice family dinner to make the day a little special for our household.

Petcakes Cake Kit For Dogs

This cake kit from Petcakes is too cute! I rarely bake, but I’m happy to do so for Chilly’s special day. His eyes get really big when he knows he’s about to get a treat:)

Peanut Butter Cake Mix and Frosting for Dogs

Chilly also loves anything peanut butter flavored, so this cake mix has been another great treat for his special day. I like to add my own finishing touches to it. I add his favorite peanut butter treats to the top of the cake as decoration. The result is unbelievably cute!

The Ultimate Cat Treat Cook book

My kitty, Olivia (aka “Livers”) can be a picky eater so it takes a little bit more effort to find just the right treat for this feline princess. The Ultimate Cat Treat Cookbook has been a great help to me. Olivia loves these wholesome treats that are not crammed with fillers like the store-bought ones often are. She especially loves the recipes with tuna in them!


After dinner and treats, Paul and I like to sit around and talk about some of our adventures and best memories with Chilly. Usually, he gets a gift too, like a toy or new collar. If you are stumped on what to buy for your pets special day check out my Amazon List of great gear for your dog.

A Day Just for Us

Really though, the whole point of these days is to share our affection with our pups and kitties. They bring us so much joy throughout the year and they deserve to know how much we appreciate them. So, even if you don’t have time to throw a party or bake a cake, be sure to spend some quality time with your beloved animals on their adoption day!