Dogs are family and we treat them as such. We bring them into our homes and we integrate them as we would any new family member. Albeit, they are 4- legged family members, but family nonetheless. Our love of dogs is centuries old. Every day, they bring us joy and ask for little in return. That loyalty is to be rewarded and celebrated. Most of us celebrate our beloved babies every day, but the end of August is officially National Dog Day. Woof!
This one’s for the dogs
I wished my dog, Lottie, (pictured above), a happy National Dog Day and she just blinked at me. I am pretty sure what that meant was, “Every day is me day.” Most of us who are dog parents know this to be true. Every day, we love them. Every day, they do something cute, or if you’re Lottie, you do something naughty because you’re a puppy and you’re learning. And we still love them. Case in point, as I began writing this, Lottie stole my slipper off my foot and my pen from the table. Attention seeker. Obviously, I took a break and played with her and administered the required belly rubs. I’m not a monster.
Dogs are so special and so amazing and we love them so, so hard, not just on National Dog Day. My first dog was a pug named Rigby I brought home as a puppy when I was finishing up my undergrad. I took her everywhere. Her feet smelled like Fritos and her ears smelled like bellybuttons. (If you’re not a dog person, I know you are cringing, but if you are a dog person, you’re nodding and saying, “Yesssss.” Because you know.)
Rigby lived until she was 11 and passed away from diabetes. Her crossing the Rainbow Bridge took a piece of my heart with her, but that’s ok, it was hers to take. Last year, our other dog, Teddy, a golden retriever crossed the bridge, too. He was also 11 and is deeply missed by my son in particular. Beautiful, good boy. If you’ve ever lost a dog, you feel this.
The day of the dog
Like most dog owners, we do not need a special day to celebrate our dogs. That being said, I love the idea of a special day to cheer for pups across the nation. So many of these national days of celebration and recognition come from someone who was deeply passionate about the subject at hand. The founder of National Dog Day is Colleen Paige. Paige is an animal rescue advocate, author and animal trainer who founded National Dog Day in 2004. The official date of National Dog Day is August 26. The significance of this date is that it was when Colleen and her family adopted their dog, Sheltie when Colleen was a child. The adoption struck such a cord with Paige, that it ultimately shaped the trajectory of her life and life’s work!
National Dog Day celebrates all the dogs- purebred, mixed breeds, shelter dogs, rescue pups, old dogs and puppies! While the day is a fun opportunity to spotlight our beloved pets, it is also to bring awareness to the sheer volume of dogs in shelters and foster homes. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the dogs who live to serve. Some dogs work as guide or support animals, some perform missions alongside first responders- from drug or bomb sniffing dogs to locating survivors after a disaster.
Save furry lives
If your family is looking to adopt a pet, specifically a dog, like mine was recently, please make sure to consider adopting! Shelters are full of unwanted pets (breaks my heart!) and many “breeders” are not practicing ethical breeding practices. Paige founded National Dog Day with the intent to bring dogs into homes and minimize the unwanted fur babies.
“Millions of dogs are killed each year because they’re simply unwanted”, says Colleen Paige, founder of National Dog Day. “They’re unwanted because no one realized how to properly care for the demands of the breed. They’re unwanted because they were bought as a Christmas gift for a child that didn’t keep their promises about caring for the dog. Unwanted because they shed too much. Unwanted because they bark too much. UNWANTED. Simply because someone changed their mind. All a dog wants to do is love you and be loved by you. Dogs are amazing, courageous, sensitive and sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect. Please consider bringing what was once considered “unwanted love”, into your heart and home on National Dog Day!”
I was somewhat hesitant to adopt a dog, but resources like Paige’s on National Dog Day really helped my family understand the benefits of dog adoption. We were lucky enough to find a puppy from a local rescue and bring her home. She is just the sweetest and it has been so fun to watch her grow and help her learn how to be a dog! We still have daily conversations about how mommy’s plants and throw rugs aren’t appropriate snacks! But you know, we’re getting there. Check out your big chain pet stores for adoption events. Ask around with family and friends who have adopted recently and follow the rescues on social media. That was how we found Lottie through the listing on their Facebook.
I have read varying accounts of when dogs were first domesticated, but most historians agree that generally it sometime around 25000 B.C.- which is pretty wild. That’s a long time to love the doggos! Fast forward to the year 1859 when the first formal dog show is held in England. Then, in 1869, the first pet shelter was formed in America by the Women’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals. Their mission was to care for abandoned and unwanted pets and help them improve their lives.
The Women’s Animal Shelter was founded by Caroline Earle White, an animal activist who led a group of women to speak for animals who were being mistreated, abandoned and unwanted. Despite leading the charge with several dozen other women, White and her counterparts were still denied seats on the Humane Society board simply because they were women. They struck out on their own and formed the Pennsylvania “branch” of the SPCA. Interestingly, though it was referred to as a branch of the SPCA, it was actually entirely independent from the larger national SPCA.
How to help
How can you and your families celebrate National Dog Day? Certainly, you do not need to go out and get a dog. On the contrary, that is a big, HUGE commitment. Instead, consider making a donation to a shelter agency. You can opt for a monetary donation or even to donate much needed supplies. Do something nice for the special pups in your life. Get some new treats, give your pet a massage or just go for a nice walk!
My son and I have a few puppers that we like to follow on social media. As I mentioned, I had a pug for a long time, so we love to enjoy squishy pugs on the internet.
Some of our favorites are, Noodle the Pug and Doug the Pug. Noodle is a sweetheart of an old gentleman. His claim to fame is a daily game of “Bones or No Bones”. Each day he either stands up (“bones”), or lays (rather flops) back down (hence, “no bones”). It’s become a great way to connect with my students who also follow Noodle. I can just say, “Hey there! Bones or no bones today?” I do it each morning with my own kids as well.
Doug the Pug is the OG of the internet pugs. You can buy Doug merch at Five Below and other big stores. Doug loves to be sung to by his human mom. He is well known for his loaf-like physique, love of posing and of course, snacks.
Share with us! Let us know in the comments what famous dogs are your favorite? Or what makes your dog special? Lastly, what is your favorite dog movie?
Finally, how did you choose to celebrate National Dog Day in your families? I am planning to take Lottie on a long walk and administer ALLLLLL the belly rubs.
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.