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“Every day’s a holiday. Some holidays are better than others.” Attribution Unknown

Welcome to a new year nearly three weeks in. The above is one of my favorite quotes because of its positivity. It reminds me that even a day that brings sadness and bad news contains something that is good, even if we have to search for it. It also reminds me of the myriad of holidays and observances, much like National Dog Week, that ask us to  consider a topic we might otherwise overlook whether it be social causes, lesser known diseases and challenges, a forgotten figure in history, food and beverages and of course occasions that celebrate and honor our pets.

January presents among other observances National Train Your Dog, Walk Your Dog, and Unchain a Dog Month, Change a Pet’s Life Day and the lighter Dress Up Your Pet Day.

It occurs to me that Walk Your Dog and Unchain a Dog Month present two sides of the dog-human connection, while at the same time asking those who are good dog-guardians to be even more caring and engaged. Dog walking seems like a simple act at first, but the “art of dog walking” differs depending on where one resides. Suburban dog owners with large fenced-in yards may simply open a sliding glass door each morning to allow their dogs outdoor time. This may be ideal, but don’t forget that your dog(s) may become bored at times and might wonder what lies beyond that tall fence. Getting your dog out and about helps with socialization and may be good for their humans as they get some fresh air and exercise. Ironically many city-dogs may enjoy more walks than their suburban cousins, but those dogs must master elevators and stairwells and good timing. On the other paw, dogs of those who live in more rural areas may never see a leash, or don’t require a  fenced in yard. These dogs wander leash-free and hopefully safely each and every day.

Sadly, some people still believe it’s alright to chain a dog in their backyards in the heat of summer and during frigid days and nights. In many cases these dogs have little access to food and water and live sad and lonely days. Many states have passed laws that give law enforcement the ability to take action to protect and rescue these unfortunate dogs. If you see a dog suffering please check with local authorities to see how you can help.

As for Change a Pet’s Life Day, I still hear people saying that shelter pets are somehow damaged goods without realizing how much these pets need another chance at having a good home and family. It asks potential pet owners to consider that when seeking a new family member. Dress Up Your Pet Day encourages the more playful and fun-side of having a pet, and as many of us in pet-writing biz know, pet-couture is a big industy filled with creative individuals. If you’ve ever witnessed a pet fashion-show, you can’t help but smile at the models on the run-way and appreciate the fact that many of these events raise funds and awareness for good causes.

And of course whether welcoming a new pup or an older dog to your home, set aside some time to work on obedience training, and seek professionals who can help develop good life-time habits that will strengthen the dog-human bond.

Has walking your dog lead you to new friendships or encounters that were life-changing? Have you ever helped a dog become unchained or worked to pass legislation that helped to free neglected dogs in your neighborhood or state? Do you design fashions for pets or have you changed the life of a pet through foster or rescue? If so, please share in the comment section or leave your stories over on the National Dog Week Facebook page. We love to hear from our readers. https://www.facebook.com/NatDogWeek/

 

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My foster-to-furever dog, Teddy celebrates 6 years with us this month! He tolerated Dress Up Day!

Hooper

"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda

DJ

DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”