Happy National Dog Day!
Before we begin, please meet my handsome boy, Tucker!
National Dog Day exists to celebrate all the dogs who are always there for us with big smiles, exposed bellies, and quirky little attitudes. Today we appreciate everything that dogs do in our world to keep us safe, happy, and feeling loved. We extol those who rescue humans from burning buildings, those who lead the blind, those who comfort the downhearted, and every one of the furry and not-so-furry little canines who warm our hearts and bewitch our souls. Colleen Paige, who founded National Dog Day in 2004, would also remind us on this day to think about all those loveable dogs who are just waiting for a good family to adopt them and give them a fresh start in life.
Dogs are our most beloved companions and life just wouldn’t be worth living without them, so in recognition of this worthy day, here’s a list of 5 awesome things you can do to celebrate (hu)man’s best friend:
Mix some extra treats into his breakfast
A few treats crumbled up and blended into his food will make for an extra scrumptious breakfast. If you’re trying to help your furry pal to lose some weight and don’t want to give any extra treats, sub the food reward with a relaxed morning belly rub. Better yet, do both! Fun fact: when a human and their dog are having a pet session, their cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) levels are reduced, and they both get a boost of the ‘love’ hormone, oxytocin, which helps develop the strong bond we know occurs between pets and their humans.
Spend some time grooming him
Now I know that not all dogs love baths, and some downright hate them. In my case, Tucker knows he can’t get his chubby butt out of the tub once he’s in there, so he will usually just sit there like a good boy until it’s over (though it wasn’t always that easy). If that’s not your dog’s idea of a good time, that’s okay, because it’s what comes next that gets really good. Although we’re not always happy to find our pets rolling in the dirt, we have all seen the pure joy of a clean dog getting outside and wiggling around in the grass. This, provided that a good sunny patch of grass can be found, should be worth the bath (and honestly, as long as he’s not rolling in a mud pit, this is not going to undo the whole bath you just gave him). At the end of the day, his coat will be so soft you’ll want to cuddle him all night long.
If you or your dog aren’t up for a bath-time adventure, you could opt to have his nails done. Whether you (carefully) clip your dog’s nails at home, or you take him on a car ride to your local groomer, your pet appreciates having neatly trimmed nails (this is true even if they hate the process of getting them done) – especially if you have hardwood or laminate flooring in your home!
Do some obedience training or teach him a new trick
Dogs love the attention, praise, and positive reinforcement (read: treats and snuggles) that come with training, and training is a great way to engage their minds and bodies while also strengthening your bond with them. You will also both benefit from either making progress towards building better manners (a well-trained dog is a happy dog), or having a cute new trick to show off the next time company comes over.
Go for a long walk
An obvious must, this day and every day! Getting to go on a nice, long walk with their favourite human where they can sniff the breeze to their heart’s content is ultimate bliss for dogs, as well as being absolutely vital to their happiness and well-being.
5. Give him a new bone or toy
Pick him up a new bone, one that you know he will love. He’ll be happier than a kid in a candy store to settle in with a new bone after the excitement of a busy day. And again, if you want to limit the amount of food treats you give to your dog, there are always alternatives! I like to bring Tucker to the pet store and let him pick out his own new toys.
Many of us could stand to learn a thing or two from our dogs, and to me the biggest take away is to enjoy the little things in life. A dog takes pleasure in some of the simplest things in life – sunshine, food, sleep. They experience such potent happiness when faced with the simple pleasures of a dog’s life. How great would it be if we could do the same for our own lives?
Can you adopt a dog who is in need of a loving home? If you can, there’s no better time than the present to welcome a new loyal friend into the family! If you’re not in a position to provide a great new life for a pup, please consider making a donation to your local animal rescue society.