My best friend

Bet you didn’t know that today is “National Dog Day.”

I never heard of it and learned of it by accident while surfing the net today.  One spam message about dogs led me to another about dog beds.  Suddenly, I was trying to buy a fashionable dog bed with a faux suede cow print on it but was getting nothing but grief from the website when I tried to pay with PayPal so I gave up on that in frustration.  And then my eye caught something about it being “National Dog Day.”

Okay, I know this may sound silly to some, but I’m all for National Dog Day.  My dog, as many of you know, is a Chocolate Lab named Lindsay.  And for several years, I had a segment on the news called, “I Love my Pet.”

Lindsay on a lazy afternoon

I’ve had some really great dogs in my lifetime — Shamrock the golden retriever was my first at the age of 3 and she was with me until I was 19.  Saying goodbye to her broke my heart and it took a long time to get over losing my childhood buddy.

Sadee the border collie was by far the smartest dog I’ve ever known.

She and I were together from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon to Oak Park, Illinois, Evanston, and finally Riverwoods, Illinois.  She collapsed on the porch floor the day after I moved to Riverwoods.  For the last nine months of her life, she was living with congestive heart failure and I kept saying, “I just hope she can make it through one more move.”  Indeed, she was pretty alert and seemed content as the movers came and took everything away from Evanston.  And that night, she even jumped up on the bed as usual.  But after 12 years, her heart gave out the very next day.  It seemed as if she knew to hang on.  I loved that dog so much.  I never thought I would have a dog as sweet or bright or loyal as Sadee.

But then came Lindsay.  This dog has all of that and then something else.  She may be just a little less intelligent than Sadee.  It takes slightly longer to teach her a new trick, but she’ll get it.  The something more I’m talking about is her emotional intelligence.  I swear this dog knows what I’m feeling and is right there to try her best to be supportive.

During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, I remember former President Bill Clinton talking about how there were times when he felt like his dog was not only his best friend, but just about his only friend.  Hillary had banished him to another room and she was doing little speaking with him, as the story went.  The Clintons’ dog at that time was named Buddy, and he was, coincidentally, a Chocolate Lab.

At the time, I didn’t fully understand what President Clinton meant by that.  I have a much better appreciation for it these days.  Over the course of the past year and a half, I’ve said goodbye to a partner, my job, my hometown, and who was with me through all of it?  Lindsay.  I’m proud to say she’s my best friend.

I only hope I can be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

So let’s hear it for National Dog Day.  Here’s an article explaining what this special day is all about:

National Dog Day August 26th

National Dog Day is a holiday founded in 2004 that is celebrated each year on August 26th. It urges the public to recognize the number of dogs in shelters that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort, love and support to our families. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.

This holiday was founded by pet lifestyle expert and author Colleen Paige, in order to celebrate and honor dogs by giving them a “day” of their own to show our appreciation and love. National Dog Day also encourages dog ownership of all breeds, mixed and pure and encourages the opportunity for all dog owners to provide their pet with a happy, safe and abuse-free life.

Thousands of dogs are euthanized each year because of overpopulation and lack of resources, and National Dog Day encourages people to adopt these homeless animals and raise awareness of the conditions unwanted dogs are forced to live in.

You can celebrate this day by taking your dog for a stroll on the beach, going to the park, taking it to a dog bakery for a special treat or just planning a night on the couch cuddling up to an animal friendly movie like “Homeward Bound”. If you have children who are dog owners, you can have them visit crayola.com where they have 7 different greeting cards just for your dog’s special day!

Whether you are a dog owner or not, everyone is encouraged to donate $5 to their local shelter on National Dog Day.

For more information on this special day visit the official website of National Dog Day by clicking on the blue text link. Want to help save orphaned dogs in your town? Click on the link to host your own National Dog Day or other holiday event!

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