Every year on August 26, National Dog Day is celebrated all over the world to honor man’s best friend. This celebration was started in 2004 by animal rights advocate Coleen Page to raise awareness on how much work there is to be done with regards to animal welfare.
She, along with other animal welfare groups, raised issues on this day regarding dog welfare including rescue from dog meat trade, calls to adopt, feeding shelter dogs and strays, spaying and neutering to prevent overpopulation, closing down puppy mills and illegal breeders, as well as pushing the federal government to pass stronger laws against animal rights violation.
Dogs have served humanity for decades in multiple ways, risking their lives in the process. They are trained for search and rescue operations, to sniff bombs, to detect illegal drugs, become therapy dogs, guard houses, and guide the blind and disabled. The support they provide for humanity can only be paid back by treating them with love and respect, no matter the breed.
10 Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day
There are different ways dogs are celebrated and honored in various parts of the world. In Nepal for instance, dogs are blessed with a Tika (red mark) on their foreheads and offered food and flowers during the dog festival. The Hindus believe that dogs are the messengers of the god of death Yamaraj and that taking good care of dogs also means appeasing the god.
Every dog lover and owner can contribute in their own way to the true essence of the celebration of National Dog Day by giving gifts or doing something significant for our furry friends. Here are some ways to celebrate:
1) Adopt or foster from a shelter
Be like Coleen Page who adopted her first pet on August 26. Living in a shelter is not the ideal way for a dog to spend the rest of its life given its short life span. Although it is definitely better than being abused and maltreated on the streets.
If you can open your home to one furry soul and make life better, it would be a significant way to celebrate dog day. If you already have a pet, a new addition to the pack will always bring more joy to life. And if you’re really not sure, why not volunteer to foster or sponsor a pet. Contact the nearest dog shelter for available pups.
2) Organize a feeding program
Dogs love to eat! They are easily motivated by food. Probably the easiest way to make them happy on this special day is to give them a tasty meal. Organizing a feeding program in one of the nearest shelters will make more dogs happy. Food can either be dog-suitable cooked meals or if you don’t want any fuss, simply purchase sacks of high quality dog food.
As a bonus, give them premium natural treats that could benefit their health such as organic single ingredient dog treats (safer for dogs with food allergies), dog biscuits with CBD oil, or grain-free dental chews. You can also extend the effort to feeding street dogs on that day. You will surely go home tired but fulfilled.
3) Take your dogs or shelter dogs out for a day of adventure
This is a wonderful day to spend outdoors with your dog. Plan a little adventure somewhere your dog can run around and explore leash-free. Try a dog park, a secluded beach or a short hiking trail. Another option is to borrow one or a few shelter dogs for a day and give them a little adventure getaway so they can take a break from the walls of the shelter.
4) Throw an adoption dog party
It doesn’t have to be grand, a manageable number would do. Throw a small backyard party for shelter dogs and help get them adopted. Invite friends and acquaintances for a petting day. Even if they do not have any intention to adopt, ask them for help to take pictures of the dogs and post on social media to help get the message of “adopt, don’t shop” across.
5) Buy your dog a new toy
Pretty much like kids, dogs will rip and tear their toys to pieces, especially if they are at the chewing stage or when they are often bored. Having loads of toys in stock will help keep their sanity intact, especially when they are often left alone in the house.
Take a trip to the nearest pet store with your dog and let him choose a new chew toy. Balls are an all-time favourite for dogs. A hollow toy wherein you can put peanut butter inside will keep them busy for hours. While you’re at it, why not buy a few more and drop it off at the nearest shelter.
6) A day of pampering and grooming
This is the perfect time to have your dog groomed – fur cut, nails trimmed, ears cleaned, teeth brushed, and a full relaxing bath. Bring your dog to a vet clinic or a dog grooming facility for a professional treatment. If you’re up to it, a dog spa can also give your dog a relaxing massage to ease stress.
Pro tip: A lot of owners are probably thinking the same way as you. The vet and grooming services might be booked on August 26. Get an appointment a day or two earlier to avoid long waits in the grooming facility.
7) DIY a backyard dog obstacle course
For endless fun and exercise even when you’re within the premises of your home, build a backyard obstacle course. This will benefit your dog for a long time. If you have enough space in your backyard, you can make tunnels, weave poles, balance boards and sticks to jump over. This will improve your dog’s agility and stamina.
8) Organize a donation drive
Dogs love to lie down on soft fluffy things such as blankets, especially during the cold season. There’s always a lack of these things in most shelters, so why not organize a donation drive. Ask family and friends for old blankets and toys to be donated to dog shelters. If they are willing to shell out a bit of cash, throw in a few sacks of dog food, pet vitamins and dog shampoos.
9) Build or buy a dog house
If your dog has been sleeping on the porch, in the living room carpet, kitchen floor or even in your bed, then it’s probably nice to give your pet an alternative place to retreat. Build a dog house and decorate it according to your dog’s personality. It can be located in a safe area in the backyard or even indoors! Select a corner area and turn it into a mini room for your dog. Place his favourite bed and toys in there so that he knows it’s his very own safe space.
10) Bring your dog around the city
On his special day, bring your dog out around the city. Visit neighbours and say hello to their pets. Show your dog where the park is. If your office is nearby, bring your dog to work if permitted. Treat him to food from your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Walk him to the nearest fire hydrant (they love that, don’t they?). It can be beneficial for your dog to be familiar with the smell of his immediate environment so that if your dog gets lost for any reason, chances are higher that he will be able to find his way home. Just be sure to follow a specific route, so that your dog will be able to remember the way to your house.
There is a popular saying by Mahatma Gandhi that goes – ‘The greatness of a nation is judged by the way animals are treated’. National Dog Day brings another day of hope not just for all animal lovers but for all animals that one day they will be treated better in a society that they have served without conditions.