This weekend is for the dogs. I don’t just mean that we’re sweltering in the middle of the famous “dog days” of summer. This is literally a weekend where we should be giving thoughts to our dogs even more than usual. We have not one, but two holidays in honor of our canine friends.
Today is National Mutt Day. Founded in 2005, Mutt Day is actually one of those few holidays that comes around twice a year, on July 31 and December 31. The point is to push back just a little on the fetish that so many people have for “purebred” dogs, despite the consequences that breeding has on the health of the dogs themselves.
National Mutt Day is a way to tweak the obsession with canine purity just a little bit, and remind people that there are a lot of so-called “mutts” in our nation’s shelters just waiting to be adopted. One way to think of it (especially if you’re living here in the San Francisco Bay Area or its environs), is that it’s a day of encouraging people to go for “organically bred dogs.” After all, mutts are what you wind up with when you let dogs run around free in their natural surroundings.
As the official webpage for National Mutt Day tells us, “Mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier, better behaved, they live longer, and are just as able to perform the duties of pure bred dogs – such as bomb and drug sniffing, search and rescue, and guiding the blind. There are millions of loving and healthy mixed breed dogs sitting in shelters, who are desperately searching for a new home.” However you feel about purebreeding, this would be a great day to pop down to the shelter and find a dog to take home.
Tomorrow, as we more officially enter the period generally thought of as “dog days,” is DOGust the First, which has been commemorated as the official birthday of shelter dogs since 2008.
The North Shore Animal League America came up with the idea of a birthday for shelter dogs because the actual birthdays of most shelter pups are unknown. Like National Mutt Day, it’s also an opportunity to encourage people to adopt dogs from shelters instead of going to a breeder or pet store.
“We at the North Shore Animal League America, want to encourage everyone to partake in this celebration and demonstrate the importance of rescuing and adopting homeless and abused dogs,” J. John Stevenson, President of NSALA said in a statement. “On August 1, we’re offering free adoptions of dogs six months and older for approved adopters. Let’s get these lovable pets into homes for real birthday parties!”
NSALA is based in Long Island, New York, but the advice is just as legitimate for any time of year, anyplace you live. No matter where you are in the country, there are sure to be dogs needing a new home in your local shelter. Sometimes it’s just something that would give them comfort; other times it’s a matter of life and death.
This year, NSALA got a boost from Bounty Paper Towels, who gave them a $10,000 donation and 500 rolls of paper towels for their facility. Tomorrow, they’ll be helping their dogs celebrate their honorary birthdays in style with dog-friendly cupcakes designed by dog blogger Crystal VanTassel-Lopez.
However you choose to celebrate, keep in mind the important point: There are a lot of dogs in shelters that need homes. If and when you can, try to help one of them out by offering yours.
Read more about dog in Dogster: