If somehow you haven't heard, April 11 is National Pet Day.
And that means it's the best time of the year. You're welcome (nay, encouraged) to share stories about your first canine companion or feline familiar. And where did your hamster come from, anyway? Are you always being told you share too many pictures of your guinea pigs online? (I am.)
Well, on National Pet Day, that's all forgiven and forgotten. Besides, if Facebook's gonna violate your privacy, you may as well inundate their servers with 27 nearly identical pictures of your cat stretching. Without further ado, here is my rabbit, Ms. Cleo, just chilling like it's her job. (Which it is.)
And here are my guinea pigs, Buddy and Andy, being coaxed into a "Little Mermaid" themed photo shoot. (This image cost me four bell pepper slices).
Lest you think this is just some elaborate ploy to post pictures of my animals on the internet (My editor said it was OK. Post yours in response. My DMs are open.), I have some unfortunate news: Nothing you share will be as awesome as what I'm about to show you.
Because this has all been a preamble to what may be the most heartwarming video of all time.
Captain America himself, aka actor Chris Evans, has posted a video of the first time he met his best friend Dodger.
Are you ready for this? Here's hoping you're a) sitting down and b) in a place that's not teeming with dust. Because there's about to be something in your eye.
Evans met Dodger when he was shooting "Gifted." And as soon as they saw each other, they knew it was forever.
“One of the last scenes we were filming was in a pound, a kennel,” he told People. “I foolishly walked in and I thought, ‘Are these actor dogs or are these real up for adoption dogs?’ And sure enough they were, so I was walking up and down the aisles and saw this one dude and he didn’t belong there. I snagged him and he’s such a good dog."
"They aged him at about one, he acts like a puppy, he’s got the energy of a puppy, he’s just such a sweetheart, he’s such a good boy. He loves dogs, he loves kids, he’s full of love.”
I'm not crying, you're crying. (OK, fine, maybe I am crying.)
Of course, this isn't the first time Evans has shared his dog with the world. In fact, Dodger's a frequent presence on Evans' twitter.
Here he is singing:
Here he is looking handsome:
And here are some of Evans' and Dodger's glamour shots:
The two can't bear to be apart.
Beyond the cuteness of the video, though, there's an important message: So many rescue animals need your love.
"Rescue dogs are the best dogs," Evans says in his post. And whether or not you share his opinion, the reality is there are lots of shelter pets looking for a loving forever home.
According to the ASPCA, roughly 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year. That number's declined steadily from 2011 (thanks to people like Evans), but there are still an estimated 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats waiting for someone to love them. 3.2 million animals are adopted annually, but that number's got to grow. How could you say no to a face like Dodger's?
(The correct answer is that you can't.)
Rescuing an animal is also beneficial for you.
Let's get this out of the way: Adopting an animal isn't just good for the animal, it's good for everyone. According to the Humane Society of the United States, too many adoptable animals are euthanized in shelters because too few people think about adoption when they're looking for a pet.
And when you adopt an animal, you're not just saving its life, you're also fighting puppy mills — "factory-style breeding facilities" that usually focus more on the dollar, not an animal's welfare. By adopting, the Humane Society notes, "you can be certain you aren't giving them a dime." And taking an animal in makes room for others to be helped too. So you're saving more than just the life of your new best friend.
Plus, adoption's also good for your health. Studies show that people who own dogs and cats are happier (less stress), healthier (cat owners have been found to have a lower risk of heart problems), and may even have an easier time finding romance (you know, if the love of a good dog just isn't enough).
But don't just take my word for it. The response to Evans' post has been adorably explosive, with many sharing photos of their own rescued friends.
After Evans posted his video, thousands of people began sharing pictures of their pets too. Click here and get ready to say "Awww," because your day is about to get a whole lot better.
Your day's better, right? It's better.