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Celebrated every year on October 4

World Animal Day is celebrated on the same day as the feast day for  St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis is a popular catholic saint who is considered to be the patron saint for animals, ecology, merchants …and a list of some other things according to who you ask it.

Born as a wealthy son of a silk merchant and a noble woman, the little Francis didn’t have any trading spirit at all.
He was spoiled rotten by his wealthy parents and soon learned to spend money like candy.
Though, the young Francis learned that buying stuff didn’t make him happy enough.
Francis tried the opposite of spending and gave away everything he had.
When he had nothing to give away anymore of himself, he would give away his parent’s merchant wares.
This was not very much appreciated and led to many domestic fights with his parents
Several times he escaped his parents anger to attend a pilgrimage to let things cool off.
But each time he would find his parent yet again disagreeing with another of his well meaning actions.
Francis decided that he never wanted to return to being rich ever.
He finally left his parents and wealth behind to pursue a life of poverty and piety.

Among the many ways Franciscus helped people, he was greatly known for how he treated animals.
Regularly he stopped traveling to preach to flocks of birds.
And according to what we are told, the birds listened to him attentively because they liked his voice so much.
This was how St Francis became known as one of the most famous animal whisperers.

Famous is the tale of how Franciscus negotiated between a ferocious wolf and the town of Gubbio.
Franciscus befriended the wolf who was terrorizing Gubbio.
With great patience and compassion Franciscus convinced the wolf  and the citizens of Gubbio to make a deal.
The town would feed the wolf and the wolf would do no more harm.
He even negotiated between the dogs of the town  and the wolf to make peace.

In 1925 Heinrich Zimmermann, writer and publisher of the magazine “Mensch und Hund” (“Man and Dog”), organized the first World Animal Day on March 24.
World Animal Day was then first celebrated on October 4, 1926.
Later in 1931 Zimmermann succeeded to have a resolution adopted at the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence to make World Animal Day an official global holiday on October 4.

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