We celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, and even days set aside for National Sons Day and National Daughters Day. So, it’s only natural that our four-legged family members have their own day as well. August 26 is National Dog Day, celebrating all dog breeds – pure and mixed – and acknowledging these amazing pets, service animals, and working dogs. As CEO of Rover.com Aaron Easterly has pointed out, “Name one development in the history of humankind that has increased happiness more than the domestication of dogs.” Go ahead and think about it. We’ll wait.
As veterinarians, we want to draw extra attention to this special day and highlight the many positive roles dogs play in our lives – both directly and indirectly.
Dogs Are Beloved Pets
They’re not only our fun-loving, playful pets but our fierce protectors guarding us against anything out of the ordinary. They exemplify the very definition of loyalty and show their owners nothing but unconditional love. For those who live alone, they are a companion and source of much-needed company. It is estimated that 63 million U.S. households include at least one dog, but many remain in shelters awaiting their forever homes. According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year, and approximately 670,000 will be euthanized. If you’re looking to add a dog to your home, visit your local shelter and save a life by adopting.
Many dogs that are pets double as service dogs, with special training to help their owner with a disability. They are individually trained to perform specific tasks to aid their handler, from assisting the visually impaired with navigating the world to warning a person with epilepsy of an oncoming seizure. Service dogs enjoy privileges that regular dogs do not, such as lawfully accompanying their owners on flights and in public spaces where dogs aren’t typically permitted.
Emotional Support Dogs
Unlike service dogs in that they’re not legally allowed in all public places, emotional support dogs bring comfort to individuals who experience specific mental and emotional challenges such as anxiety. Licensed mental health professionals can lawfully prescribe emotional support dogs for those with disabling mental illness. Emotional support dogs can be any age or breed and help improve the quality of life for their owners.
The most impressive of dogs, working dogs include those assisting law enforcement, search and rescue teams, hunters, and farmers. They are quick to learn, intelligent, strong, and alert. Bred to assist and save, they excel at guarding, performing water rescues, herding, sniffing out illegal substances, detecting bombs, chasing down criminals, tracking people, and more. The American Kennel Club breaks down the various types of working dogs, including the natural characteristics that make them successful in their specific roles. Working dogs must remain incredibly fit and eat a healthy diet that will help them endure through the rigors of their workday.
Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day
Now that you’re aware of National Dog Day, make it memorable.
Celebrate National Dog Day in any of the following meaningful ways:
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter
- Donate money or supplies to your local animal shelter
- Conduct a fire safety check of your home, ensuring your pet’s safety
- Bring your dog on a tour of local dog parks and set them free for a day of play
- Treat your dog to a spa day or holistic treatment
- Spend quality time with your dog, teaching them a new trick
- Hire a professional photographer for a photoshoot and get great shots of your dog
- Take a stand against unethical puppy mills by writing to your state representatives
- Spoil your dog with a new supply of safe, mentally stimulating new toys
- Get your faithful canine companion a special treat, like a Puppuccino or a dog-friendly “cake” or ice cream
This year, set aside August 26 on your calendar for some quality time with your dog and plan a day centered around National Dog Day. You can learn more about National Dog day online at https://www.nationaldogday.com/about1, and if visiting a shelter is among your plans, the ASPCA can help you locate one close by. If you’ve recently adopted a dog, call us right away to get them scheduled for a wellness exam and any necessary vaccinations along with other preventive measures.