National Dog Day

August 26th 2015 is National Dog Day. Invented by Colleen Paige in 2004, it aims to celebrate everything about our faithful canine companions, and to promote adoption of dogs and puppies from shelters rather than buying from backyard breeders or worse, puppy farms.

Here’s the official website for National Dog Day. And here’s the blurb about the significance of the Day, taken from the website:

National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and was founded in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige (also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day and National Cat Day …to name a few).

National Dog Day serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.

National Dog Day is against any kind of “breed ban”. Dogs should not have to lose their lives because of the atrocities they have been forced to endure at the hands of man. And while we feel that Americans have the constitutional right to purchase a pure breed dog, we strongly discourage buying dogs from pet stores supplied by puppy mills, backyard breeders, the internet and newspaper ads. Rather, we encourage those seeking new canine companions, to consider choosing adoption first and if you’d like a pure breed dog, look into a pure breed rescue to see if they might have just the dog you’re looking for.

When considering buying from a breeder, verify that you’re buying from a reputable breeder by checking out their licensing, internet reviews and ask for local references such as a vet. It’s vital to educate yourself about the breed you’re considering parenting.

“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 and protect you. That’s all. 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!”

National Dog Day can be marked as many a dog’s birthday for those rescued on the day and for all of them it will be akin to a “K9- 4th of July!” Even citizens who are not dog owners will be encouraged to donate $5 to their local shelter on National Dog Day.

It may be an American invention, but it’s slowly catching on in countries across the world. In my opinion, EVERY DAY should be a Dog Day, where we acknowledge the place dogs have in our hearts, their contributions to society by way of working tirelessly as police dogs, guard dogs, drug sniffing dogs, companion dogs for the disabled, therapy dogs, or even just as house pets and guardians of the home. They deserve our respect and care, and should not be abused, mistreated or bred for the wrong purposes.

I have the privilege and honour of being a volunteer Canine Carer at a dog shelter in Perth City, Western Australia. My job is to keep the dogs company, maybe teach them a few tricks so their chances of getting adopted improve. But I’ve also found out that I’m a great spokesperson for the dogs when visitors come round. By showing off to visitors what each dog can do, and engaging their attention, I can then sell the dog’s character and attractiveness as a companion animal to the visitor. Interested adopters have to fill out a detailed questionnaire and be interviewed by a trained member of staff, who will try to pair them with the right dog. I feel that sometimes prospective adopters don’t really know what they’re looking for, or might miss seeing a dog because it’s the wrong size, breed or colour, until someone like me brings the dog to their attention. (I like to break the ice by introducing myself from within the dog’s enclosure by cheerily greeting visitors with a “Hello! I’m available for adoption too!” It always throws them when they realise it’s Not the dog speaking.

I’m really loving this job. And I intend to undertake a Certificate IV in Vererinary Nursing (the industry prerequisite for working at a vet practice) in the new year.

Meanwhile, here are photos of a few of my charges at the shelter. Happy National Dog Day!

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