New Delhi: Each year on August 26, ‘International Dog Day’, which started as ‘National Dog Day’ is celebrated worldwide. The day was founded and celebrated for the first time in 2004 by animal rescue advocate, conservationist, dog trainer, author and pet expert Colleen Paige.
On August 26, 2004 Paige’s family adopted their first dog ‘Sheltie’ from a local shelter. Since then the day is marked to highlight the importance of ‘adopting’ dogs vs ‘buying’ them.
Often in a bid to get fancy, purebred dogs people tend to unknowingly support extremely cruel, violent and unethical puppy farms or dog mills. Female dogs are used as puppy producing machines and kept in tiny, inhabitable cages at such farms.
As people increasingly opt for purebred dogs as a mark of status symbol among other reasons, indigenous dogs get ignored, are left homeless and forced to fend for themselves.
At times such street dogs might even be seen as a ‘menace’ in the society and be assaulted, abused and even put down in some cases.
Dog Day aims to celebrate all dogs whether purebred, mixed breed or indigenous but promotes rescues.
Indigenous dogs are just as loving, loyal, friendly as any other breed and this day aims to provide them a chance and change the negative, false perceptions about them
Ways to celebrate International Dog Day:
- Adopt a dog: If you wish to get a dog home, instead of going to a pet shop, visit an animal shelter or adopt a street dog.
- Volunteer: Even if you do not wish to adopt a dog you can volunteer at animal shelters to help around or simply spend some time with the dogs there. You can even take initiatives to help dogs at your personal level.
- Donate: If you do not have the time or energy to volunteer or do something on your own, you can donate to local animal shelters who often battle crunch of funds.
- Educate people: You can educate people by talking to them, through social media about the importance and benefits of adopting and rescuing dogs.
- Spay and neuter: You can get in touch with animal shelters, NGOs, hospitals or government organisations and arrange for spay and neuter of street dogs to control the dog population.
- Help strays: The simplest way to help stray dogs is putting out a bowl of water for them, feeding them, protecting them from abuse and looking after other such needs.
Not everyone is a dog lover and not everyone needs to be one. If you do not like dogs or can not help them, you can do your part by not abusing them and raising your voice for their rights.