National Dog Day is Sunday, Aug. 26 – a time to celebrate your dog and help heighten public awareness to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year. Dogs not only provide companionship, but they work to save lives, keep their loved ones safe, and bring comfort. They serve as law enforcement partners, blind companions, assistants for disabled children, and even aid in homeland security and public safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.
Related: A Bow to Adopt-A-Dog Month
National Dog Day is also a day to encourage dog adoptions.
“There are somewhere around 190 million registered dogs and cats in the United States in the homes of almost 70% of the families. And, almost half of these are dogs,” says Dr. Marty Goldstein, holistic veteran and host of the weekly program, “Ask Martha’s Vet with Dr Marty” on Martha Stewart’s Sirius satellite radio network. ”That’s a lot of canines getting thought of, cared for and loved. But, what about those countless strays that are not? The ones that wind up in shelters or worse. The ones not recognized. The ones not thought of. But if they were brought to the mind of the public, many would think of adopting.
“My family recently adopted a little stray from a local shelter,” Dr. Goldstein added. ”His name is Joey and boy, does he have a great life now and so do we because of him.”
Jasmin Singer is an activist and writer, who, along with her partner, Mariann Sullivan, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Our Hen House, a central clearinghouse for all kinds of ideas on how individuals can make change for animals. She recounts her experience adopting a dog and how it made her life better…
“I was lucky enough that when I entered a relationship with my partner, Mariann, Rose – our dog – was part of the package. Rose was found tied up to a tree in Washington, D.C. She was about one year old, but had already weened puppies. Rose is a pit bull, and we suspect that she was used as a breeding dog, not a fighting dog. She was brought to a shelter where, at the time, they killed all pit bulls – no questions asked. This is fairly common with pit bulls in shelters, sadly. But a loving employee snuck her out through an ‘underground railroad’ of sorts, and she eventually wound up with Mariann,” Singer says.
“By the time I entered the picture, Rose had recovered from the trauma she had faced in her previous life, and is the most loving, gentle, funny, sensitive creature I have ever met. One of my favorite things to do with her is to watch her spend time with my two-year-old niece, who simply adores her (and vice versa). There are so many dogs who need to be rescued from shelters, or they will likely be killed. When I look at Rose, I can’t imagine that her fate almost went in that direction.”
“When you adopt, you are literally saving a life,” Singer says. “When you buy a companion animal, you are – I’m sorry to say – still contributing to the death of another animal, because supply is driven by demand, and we need to stop spending money on the cruel industry of breeding.”
There are many resources available through Our Hen House for those looking to rescue or adopt a dog. Our Hen House produces multimedia efforts for people to get involved with changing the world for animals. This includes everything from legal routes, the arts, media, grassroots, and academia, to name a few. “The point is that there is an inroad for each of us when it comes to changing the world for animals, and we can each tweak our talents and interests in a way that can help those who are less lucky,” Singer says.
Yvonne DiVita‘s BlogPaws’ Be the Change for Pets initiative embraces the concept that pets are important members of every family and adding a pet to your home via a shelter or rescue helps both the pet and the family.
Looking for other great ways to celebrate National Dog Day?
- Spend time with your dog and show your appreciation and love.
- Volunteer at your local shelter. Many of them look for volunteers to do everything from walk dogs, to play with dogs, to do paperwork.
- Nudge to friends and family to encourage them, if they are pet friendly, to adopt.
- The American Pet Products Association has a great current campaign called Pets Add Life; share that information and link with everyone – it demonstrates how pets add value to our lives.
- Celebrate the general awesomeness of dogs, and if you’re really enthusiastic people, try organizing a local parade – covered by the press.
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