National Dog Day is observed and celebrated on the 26th of August every year. This day celebrates dogs of all kinds, and encourages fostering love and kindness through ownership and adoption, regardless of breed.
Having a dog is much more than just having a pet. There are many dogs out there who need saving, who need a home to be loved and cared for. National Dog Day serves as a reminder that dogs have every right to live a loving, abuse-free life.
How and why was National Dog Day created?
This day was founded and created by Colleen Paige, an animal behaviourist and rescue advocate who is also nicknamed the “Animal Oracle”. She has a formidable ability to connect with dogs and loves them dearly. She was only 10 years old when her family adopted her first pet dog from a local animal shelter on the 26th of August 2004.
Her mission is to reach out to people and encourage them to rescue dogs and give them a forever home. It is also to create an awareness of the number of dogs that are in rescue centres and encourage their adoption.
Colleen learned how to train dogs at the National Institute of Dog Training in Los Angeles. With her unique approach and understanding of animal behaviour, she has trained dogs all over the world across Ireland, England, Belgium, and the Philippines.
Ever since its inception and recognition as National Dog Day in 2004, the 26th of August has been recognized worldwide in commemoration as International Dog Day due to its global recognition. Its global outreach has also given it the title of International Dog Day as well.
The National Dog Day Foundation
This foundation was set up with the aim of rescuing 10,000 animals every year. This means that 10,000 more dogs would have found a place in a home that would love and care for them. The vision of the foundation is also to encourage adoption of dogs from rescue organizations and shelters.
A Few Ways to Celebrate this day
We never hold back on celebrating significant days in our lives, so why not add this to one of those days and make it extra special for our furry angels too?
We have so much to thank them for. Their love, companionship, unfailing commitment and die-hard loyalty. There is more than one way we can say thank you and tell them we love them for all they are.
Here are a few tips on making the day fun and memorable.
1. Play day out and a special treat
Have an entire day out with your dog and bring along his/her favourite playmates. And don't forget to get them their favourite treats for the day. Perhaps a “puppuccino”? Dogs simply love whipped cream in a cup!
2. Create Awareness
Be part of an awareness campaign that promotes adoption and abuse-free treatment of dogs of all breeds.
3. Spa Day for the furry loved one
There are a number of pet grooming places nowadays that offer special promotions on these days. It would be nice to treat your loved furry one to a spa day!
4. Adopt, Don't Shop!
Maybe let history repeat a bit of itself and adopt a puppy from an adoption home or shelter on this day.
5. Spare some time to volunteer
If you cannot adopt a dog, another way of celebrating this day is volunteering at a local animal shelter and showing these furry babies some love.
6. Capture the moment
Shower them with extra hugs and cuddles that day, and capture the moment with a candid family picture doing just that!
Working Dogs in Service
In addition to being playful and therapeutic, dogs also possess an immense sense of duty and responsibility in protection and service. They have an innate capability to care and protect unconditionally, which makes them so much more faithful than humans, too! The work they do is formidable and can be categorized in many ways.
Therapy & Emotional Support Dogs
There are many dogs who are certified as comforters. They are brought around nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical institutions to provide a soothing and calming presence to the patients around. Many paediatric oncology units in certain parts of the world use these dogs as a part of assisted healing and therapy.
Service Dogs are used in many circumstances. They are ideally used in Mobility assistance, hearing assistance, autism support and psychiatric support as well. A dog's sense of smell is one of its strongest traits, and these dogs are even trained to the degree of detecting a peanut allergy in people!
These varied areas of service help improve the lives of many and provide emotional and physical support where needed.
Law Enforcement Dogs
Many dogs serve as a part of K9 units, which means they are trained to assist police or law enforcement personnel. A rather interesting fact is every military serving dog is a non-commissioned officer!
Another interesting fact about dogs is that, they were used to assisting in difficult and impassable terrains like the North and South poles. Sled dogs have also been instrumental in delivering medicine and food supplies to isolated towns in Alaska. Movies have been directed based on this particular capability of a dog.
A dog's love is unconditional
There would not be a single person out there who could ever deny this. A dog is surely man's most trusted and loyal friend. They would lay down their lives for their owners in a heartbeat because that is what they inherently know to do. Protect and serve, no matter what.
They spread oodles of love and affection in a household. As working dogs, they would risk it all to ensure the safety of the person they are meant to protect and care for. Dogs not only provide companionship as household pets, but are real life heroes when duty calls.
Colleen's lifesaving mission to create this day is surely one that reaches out to the hearts of many and reinforces the fact that a Dog is truly man's best friend.
Movies for every Dog Lover
The cinematic world goes one step further as well as portraying dogs the creatures you can love to the hilt, and who would love you back with their lives. A few based on real life stories, novels, classics and simply to remind us of the gift of a dog.
Of course, there are many comedic twists to the movies as well as a dog in it and are really entertaining and fun for the whole family. Probably another good way to spend the day, watching a movie about these heroes!
There are many movies which may not be in this list that are also very touching and entertaining. However, here are 10 popular recommendations for your watching pleasure.
Lassie (the many versions of it!)
Marley & Me
A Dog's Journey
Hachi: A Dog's Tale
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Heart of a Dog
Togo (The Alaskan rescue mission)
Lady & the Tramp(A classic animation)
Air Bud(A sports star in the making)
You may just want to love your dog even more after watching these movies and tell them in your own way how awesome they are!