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December 19, 2017 05:24 PM

Mariah Carey is always ubiquitous at Christmastime due to the beloved holiday tune “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” but this year the superstar has even more to celebrate. This week, PETA announced that Carey is the honored recipient of the animal rights organization’s Angel for Animals Award.

“Mariah Carey is PETA’s hero for homeless animals for encouraging families to adopt from their local shelter,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Her holiday film reminds us all that caring for an animal is a responsibility, not just a fantasy — but the one sweet day when you meet the dog who will always be your baby and you know that you belong together.”

This year, Carey produced, narrated and provided the music for a new animated film called “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (naturally). It tells the story of a young girl and a homeless mutt who fulfills her Christmas wish. Animated “Mariah” and her puppy Jack (named for one of Carey’s beloved pets) struggle at first, but she eventually learns to treat her adopted fur baby with patience and understanding.

PETA notes that more than 6 million dogs and cats end up in U.S. animal shelters every year. Usually half of them are euthanized because there aren’t enough good homes to go around. “For every cat or dog bought from a pet store or breeder, one in a shelter loses his or her chance of finding a home,” says PETA. “And every year after the holidays, animal shelters see a spike in homeless animals as families find themselves unable to care for the puppies and kittens that they purchased as gifts.”

Thus, PETA encourages people to never buy animals from pet stores or as surprise gifts. The group recommends a gift certificate to your local animal shelter (after the holiday commotion is over) to find your fur-ever baby.

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