There are a lot of dog holidays this month and you hearing about the National Dog Week might make you think that it’s just like any ol’ holiday one should celebrate. But, it isn’t just an ordinary holiday that involves giving your dog a special treat or a quick trip to the park for some playtime with your dog companion. It’s about paying it forward, doing an act of kindness, and making a difference in a dog’s life.
National Dog Week is a celebration of dogs, what they mean to people, and the ongoing responsibility of improving life for all dogs. The week-long holiday focuses on educating dog owners and the general public about proper dog handling, promoting interaction between owners and dog care professionals, and particularly on helping lost, abused, and unwanted dogs around the country.
We do have to clarify that it is more than just celebrating dogs, it’s also about acknowledging the responsibilities of dog owners, dog lovers, and the dog community. With a particular theme each year, it offers a chance to organize new and fun events for dog lovers and dogs, while helping local organizations, shelters, and dogs in need.
STORY BEHIND THE HOLIDAY
Contrary to popular belief, it did not begin in 1935, but rather in 1928. In 1928 when a World War I veteran and canine advocate by the name of Captain William Judy decided that a week-long celebration was the least that could be done to recognize the service and the unwavering loyalty of man’s best friend.
After returning from the war, in which he earned the Silver Star, Captain Judy established a publishing operation dedicated to canines, in addition to purchasing and publishing Dog World magazine. National Dog Week takes place over the fourth week of September (20 to 27) and is a celebration of activities, fundraising events, adoption drives, and volunteer assistance programs that get the whole community involved.
Back in the 20s, breed clubs were filled with passionate devotees to their particular favored pedigreed pups, so the founders of National Dog Week envisioned a far broader campaign that would reach out to all dog owners. They included seven specific objectives:
- A good home for every dog
- Elimination of stray dogs from the street
- Better-informed dog owners
- Consideration for dogs and all animals
- Emphasis of the dog’s use as companion and protector
- Fair laws for dogs and dog owners
- Respect for the rights of non-dog owners
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
National Dog Week is a great opportunity to get out and make a real difference in the lives of dogs in the community while having fun and learning how to keep one’s own companion happy and healthy. We get too caught up with our own little bubbles that we sometimes forget to send out a bit of kindness out into the world. With so much going on in the world right now, we need this more than ever.
HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
We have to acknowledge that not everyone has the capacity to fully be involved in helping dogs continuously throughout the year, so taking the time to do it once a year for a week or so is more than enough. In whatever little way you can, you are making a big difference.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s what dog owners/lovers can do throughout the National Dog Week:
- Take an extra 10 minutes out of your day to play with your dog or spend a few extra minutes on a walk with your pup.
- Educate others on proper dog care. With the difficulty of gathering people now, consider asking your veterinarian or any dog care professionals to hold a virtual seminar on dog care, health, or grooming tips. Then invite all your dog-loving friends to attend.
- Consider adding to your family. Dogs are social creatures – this means they usually do better with other dogs, particularly if they are often home alone. If you have the ability, think about adopting another shelter pup, like these senior dogs from NOLA. If you are not in a position to adopt, encourage a friend to adopt a dog in need of a loving home.
- Donate items to a local shelter: shelters rely on volunteers and donations.
- Spend a few hours volunteering at a local shelter.
- Offer to walk shelter dogs – they could use companionship and love.
- Bring a toy or biscuit to a friend’s dog. Or even offer to pet sit for them.
- Dog lovers and owners are encouraged to get involved and organize their own events or support those organized by shelters and other individuals.
This includes donations, speaking engagements with local veterinarians, fun workshops, outreach programs, and special activities for kids, just to name a few.
- Organizing a gathering at the local dog park with guest speakers or dog care professionals is just one easy and fun idea, as most are more than eager to educate owners and the public, as well as promote their own services or organization. If you are not in a position to adopt, encourage a friend to adopt a dog in need of a loving home.
For more ways, check out : 21 Ways To Be a Responsible Dog Owner
There are a multitude of ways of celebrating this week! If you don’t have the full capacity of organizing your own event, you can donate whatever amount you can to help fund certain non-profit pet shelters and projects that are asking for donations to sustain their rescues.
Here are a few stories from different pet rescue shelters from all over the world, feel free to read through and find out how you can help:
- The Rescue of a Helpless Senior Dog Abandoned in a Cemetery
- Recovery of Injured Mother Dog
- Rescue of a Family Dog that Got Kicked Out
We all know that being responsible dog owners and kind dog lovers shouldn’t be a once-a-year type of thing, but dog holidays are there for a reason — to make us remember and give us motivation.
Whichever way you choose to celebrate the National Dog Week, a dog out there will be truly happy about it.