September 24th to September 30th, 2012 is National Dog Week.
Really? Who knew there was a special week commemorating dogs? National Dog Week...why?
Started in 1928 as a public service educational campaign to improve canine care, the initial National Dog Week program outlined seven major objectives:
- 1.A good home for every dog.
- 2.Elimination of strays.
- 3.Better informed dog owners.
- 4.Consideration for dogs and all animals.
- 5.Emphasis of the dog's use as companion and protector.
- 6.Fair laws for dogs and dog owners.
- 7.Respect for the rights of non-dog owners.
Despite the lack of social media as we know it today, 1928's outreach program survived through the years. In fact, 2012 marks the 84th anniversary of National Dog Week. Again, why?
It's no secret I am an animal lover. You might even call me the “crazy lady” who talks to animals. Uh...no...they don't talk back...at least not in the traditional sense. But I can honestly say I have learned a great deal about love and humanity from my dogs.
My ten year old chihuahua, Tiny, is a puppy mill rescue with anxiety/health issues stemming from the abuse she suffered during her early life. Tiny is a beautiful dog, shy, reserved, frightened. Only a fellow animal lover will understand when I say I look into Tiny's eyes and see her wounded soul. Someone in her past hurt her deeply. Thus, Tiny taught me not everyone respects or honors life. She also showed me the healing power of love. Though Tiny remains a dog “with issues”, she knows she is loved and cherished here, protected and well taken care of.
My three year old chihuahua, Teddy, absolutely celebrates life. I wish I could greet the day with as much joy as he does! He stops and smells the roses – and everything else in his path - plays with the zest of a puppy, puts his paws around my neck and hugs me. Teddy has an endearing habit I like to call “praying”. On a sunny day, he leaps into my arms, closes his eyes and raises his face toward the sun. I imagine he is thanking his Creator for another new day. Go ahead...snicker...but I stand by my belief my dogs, and all animals, are connected to God in a very special way. It's no accident the word “animal” comes from the Latin word animale, derived from anima, meaning vital breath of the soul.
For my fellow dog lovers, as well as for those who have never been fortunate enough to experience the unique relationship between humans and dogs, I offer the following words of wisdom for your thoughtful consideration:
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers
“A dog is almost human, and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such.” John Holmes
“Man is troubled by what might be called the Dog Wish, a strange and involved compulsion to be as happy and carefree as a dog.” James Thurber
“Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he's owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.”
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.” Milan Kundera
National Dog Week...why?
Because “He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” Unknown