Darla Shelden, The City Sentinel Senior Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – As the dog days of summer are upon us, Best Friends Animal Society reminds the public that Thursday, August 26 is National Dog Day. For those with dogs at home, or those considering adopting or fostering a dog, this holiday is the perfect time to pause and appreciate the joy dogs bring, and the comfort and companionship they provide.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people craved canine companionship and welcomed new dogs and puppies into their homes.
According to the American Pet Products Association, dog ownership increased by nearly 11 percent in 2020, with approximately 108 million dogs in U.S. households, up from 97 million in 2018. That represents a lot of new pet parents preparing to celebrate National Dog Day.
Dogs have been a real source of companionship and comfort through an extremely difficult year and a half, and this is a great opportunity to honor the commitment we, as pet owners, have made to them.
National Dog Day, established in 2004, celebrates all breeds, pure and mixed and serves to help raise public awareness of the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, either from public shelters, rescues and pure breed rescues.
National Dog Day honors family dogs and dogs that work selflessly to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort.
Across the country, many people are unsure of if or when they’re going back to the office.Whether you’re remote, back to work, or both, dogs would rather be in homes than in shelters.Studies show thatdogs do lots of napping, whether they’re alone or if they have human company.Leave them with enrichment toys and food puzzles while you’re gone, and give them love, exercise and playtime when you’re home, and they’ll be happy hounds.
Many people work full time jobs and still provide loving homes to foster or adopted pets.
Now is a perfect time to adopt or foster a dogbecause canine company is just good for us. Numerous studies have determined that the presence of pets is beneficial for a person’s physical and mental health.
The companionship of animals has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure no matter what’s going on in the outside world.
It’s also an important time to consider adopting, because adoptions are currently down across the country.Nationally, according to recent data from 24PetWatch from nearly 1,200 shelters, adoptions are down 3.7 percent overall this year, and for the month of June, intake was up 5.9 percent as compared to 2020.
More animals coming in and fewer going out is causing stress for shelters. Adopting or fostering from a shelter or rescue group literally saves lives.
Many of the dogs that enter shelters are purebreds and even popular mixed breeds, like doodles (poodle mix). No matter what you’re looking for, a variety of dogs can be found in a shelter or from a rescue.
To begin a search for a new dog, one resource is petfinder.com. Adopting from shelters or rescue groups rather than buying from breeders, pet stores or online retailers saves lives.
Celebrate National Dog Day by adopting a deserving dog from a local shelter or rescue group. If you aren’t ready to adopt, fostering can be a good option.
If you already have the perfect pup, celebrate by proudly posting photos on social media to encourage adoptions and spread awareness.
Let your dog know it’s his or her special day by offering a new treat or toy and spending some extra quality time with them.
If you have a dog who joined your household during the pandemic, enrolling him or her in an obedience class can help the two of you better communicate and understand each other’s expectations.
Work regularly with dogs on training and socialization so they can be a well-behaved member of the family, and react appropriately when meeting people in the outside world.
Prepare your dog for changes in your schedule to prevent separation anxiety, if you’ll be at home less due to work or school.
If you’re not ready to foster or adopt, you can still celebrate National Dog Day by volunteering or donating to a local shelter or rescue group, to support their lifesaving efforts.
Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 347,000.
For more information or to find a local shelter or rescue, visit bestfriends.org.