Today is National Dog Day, and since 2004 events nationwide have helped to save more than 100,000 dogs. Today we celebrate all dogs, and with this celebration we honor our appreciation, our emotional connection, their patience, loyalty, undying love, and their impact on our lives.
How amazing are our canine companions? We can ask Debbie Parkhurst, 45 who was home alone and choked while eating an apple. Parkhurst tried to do the Heimlich on herself and began to beat on her chest, when her Labrador retriever Toby ran towards Parkhurst, stood up on his hind feet, put his front paws on her shoulders and pushed his mistress to the ground. Once the dog had Parkhurst on the ground, Toby jumped up and down on her chest.
“As soon as I started breathing, he licked my face, as if to keep me from passing out,” Parkhurst recalled in an interview.
Then there is the story of a chihuahua who saved a one-year-old child from the bite of a rattlesnake by jumping on the snake only seconds before the snake tried to bite the child. Fortunately the dog survived despite some touch and go moments while being treated by his veterinarian.
In 2005, there was the amazing story in Nairobi, Kenya of a female dog finding an abandoned baby in a plastic bag, and the dog dragged the seven pound four ounce baby across a busy road and through a barbed wire fence to the dog’s own litter of puppies. The baby survived.
Can we ever forget the impact of the news story of the yellow service dog Labrador retriever Salty who led his blind master, Omar E. Rivera and a friend down through the smoke and jet fuel of the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster?
Those, among thousands and thousands of other dogs who have not made the news, but have been heroes to the humans they love are the reasons we celebrate National Dog Day. Started in 2004 by Colleen Paige, an animal behaviorist, pet author and devoted animal advocate, Paige encourages all of us to seek canine companions and look beyond the need for having to just have a purebred dog. Paige is also against a “breeding ban” where certain dog species are killed and shunned because of their breed.
The holiday asks you to avoid pet stores, newspaper advertisements from backyard breeders, and puppy mills.
National Dog Day honors the service dogs, law enforcement dogs who have protected us from bombs, from criminals, and who have and continue to protect our soldiers and law enforcement officers who put their lives at risk everyday to keep us safe. The holiday recognizes that
“dogs work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe, and bring us comfort.”
This year National Dog Day has gone international, and we welcome the addition of the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Spain and Canada.
Are you wondering what you can do today to honor a dog? If you have room in your heart and your home, think about adopting a dog from a shelter or a rescue. Report any suspicious actions of possible animal cruelty and neglect.
And why not – skip the latte today or the fries and donate $5.00 to your nearest shelter or rescue. Help us save lives and honor these beautiful animals.