This past week we saw the observance of National Dog Day. It is every August 26 and also known as International Dog Day and National Dog Appreciation Day. It was founded by Colleen Paige following the September 11 terrorist attacks as she watched the numerous Search & Rescue Dogs at Ground Zero, but found so little information and acknowledgement regarding their service and work. It has since expanded to provide a moment (day) for all of us to acknowledge and celebrate all that is great about sharing your life with a dog, as well as to provide awareness of all the dogs who suffer, are abused, and live in misery.
It’s an incredible dichotomy when you consider how those of us who love dogs spend incredible amounts of time and money providing healthy and happy lives for our best friends, but the numbers are overwhelming when you tally all the dogs who have such horrific experiences due to the cruelty of man.
So National Dog Day is intended to be a celebration, but also to drive awareness and ideally encourage folks to maybe help all these wonderful animals who want nothing more than to love and be loved. Check out nationaldogday.com/ways_to_celebrate.htm for a complete list, but here are some of my favorites.
- Adopt a dog. But also take the time to know what you’re getting into so it is a pleasant and forever experience for both you and your fuzzy friend.
- Donate to a shelter. Money is great, but so are blankets and food. You can also inquire about volunteer opportunities to help. At the very least, be sure to check out their animals for adoption and share awareness with friends and family.
- Assist an ill or elderly neighbor by walking their dog. What can be more awesome than that? You help a sick or old person AND a dog. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at helping a sick or old person directly, but I can certainly give their dog some time and attention and make sure they return exercised and relaxed.
- Dog proof your home, yard, vehicle, etc. Dogs will do things you never even think possible. If you’re not going to provide constant 24/7 supervision, make sure that when you leave them alone they are in a safe environment.
- Buy a canine first aid kit. This is especially true when you have more than one in the house, and ever more necessary if they are young. Puppies play hard. They will get hurt. It’s inevitable. Be prepared.
- Microchip and ID your dog. Duh. I’ll add to this and say get customized collars with their name and your phone number. They are much easier to read by a stranger than tiny dog tags.
- Carpet any stairs so your dog doesn’t slip. Also use runners with non-slip backing on any hardwood or linoleum floors. Place them strategically on the pivot and turning points.
The list on the site has plenty more, and these were my edits on some already included.
And please don’t get me wrong or misunderstand – there are plenty of moments and times in any given day that having the dogs around can be loud, annoying, and frustrating. Just remember that they are only being dogs, they only mean well, and it’s that behavior which is part of their wonderful spirit and unconditional love. The best part is they get better every day. Take the time to train them with love and patience and you’ll have years and years of a wonderful relationship.
(Photo courtesy National Media Museum)