As we again approach the dog days of summer, no one can argue that it’s been a grueling 17 months, with no “return-to-normal” in sight. For those with dogs at home, or those considering adopting or fostering a dog, National Dog Day is the perfect time to pause and appreciate the joy dogs bring, and the comfort and companionship they provide.
This should come as no surprise, but millions of people craved canine camaraderie and welcomed new dogs and puppies into their homes over the past year or so. According to the American Pet Products Association, dog ownership increased by nearly 11% in 2020, with roughly 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!
National Dog Day, established in 2004, celebrates all breeds, pure and mixed and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize 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. Dogs do lots of napping, no matter if they’re alone or 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. Plenty of people work full time jobs and provide loving homes to foster or adopted pets. If you have a dog who joined your household during the pandemic, enroll him or her in an obedience class, to 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 home less due to work or school.
Now is a perfect time to adopt or foster a dog because canine company is just good for us. Numerous studies have determined that the presence of pets is beneficial for our 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 down across the country. Nationally, according to recent data from 24PetWatch from nearly 1,200 shelters, adoptions are down 3.7% overall this year, and for the month of June, intake was up 5.9% 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.
Looking for a certain type of dog to adopt? Many of the dogs that enter shelters are purebreds and even trendy mixed breeds, like doodles. No matter what you’re looking for, it can be found in a shelter or from a rescue. Check petfinder.com to start your search. Adopting from shelters or rescue groups rather than buying from breeders, pet stores or online retailers saves lives.
Our dogs have been there for us and provided companionship and comfort through an extremely difficult year and a half, and this is a great opportunity to celebrate them and honor the commitment we made to them through adoption.