This Saturday 26th August 2017 is National Dog Day where dogs of all sizes, shapes and breeds are recognised and celebrated for the important role they play in our lives.
Whilst Darcy and I think all dogs deserve to be celebrated everyday, National Dog Day provides the opportunity to educate people about the mental and physical health benefits companion dogs provide, whilst also recognising the amazing work many dogs do in the community.
We all know having a dog encourages us to get outside and exercise more which in turn makes us feel better, but according to Dogs NSW, people that have pets actually also save the public health care system $2 billion annually in Australia as they visit healthcare providers less than non pet owners¹. How amazing is that?
The reason for recognising our pooches on National Dog Day is also important when you consider the working dogs that are saving and helping millions of Australians very day. From dogs on the front-line at war to drug and bomb detector dogs protecting the community, assistance dogs for the visually impaired, disabled and people suffering from mental illness to disease detecting dogs – there is no end to the work they do.
National Dog Day is also about raising awareness about the serious problem of dogs being surrendered to shelters, pounds and rescue organisations every year. It is a very sad and often unnecessary situation that could be reduced if people wanting to get a dog properly researched and carefully considered their decision.
Sadly too many people still don’t do enough research to ensure a dog, or how a particular breed, will fit in with their lifestyle, family and economic situation. They don’t consider that a dog requires a lot of care and financial support, and that a dog depends totally on us for their average life span of 10 years…not just when they’re a cute, fluffy puppy.
Many people also don’t consider the benefits of adopting a dog. Giving a dog in need their forever home and the love and care that it may not have had before. There’s such a big misconception that rescue dogs are all damaged and have been given up because of their behaviour problems. This is simply not true.
Many dogs end up in foster care or shelters for no fault of their own and, as someone who has never bought a ‘new’ dog in their life, I can’t tell you the joy it brings to both you and the dog when you stumble upon your perfect little mate who has been waiting for you to come into their life so you can give them the unconditional love and care they deserve and that they return tenfold.
So, for this National Dog Day, Darcy and I hope you will help spread the word about how pawsome dogs are, how important it is to do thorough research before getting a dog and will encourage others to ‘adopt’ rather than ‘shop’ like we do.
Source: ¹Healthcare Economics of Pets. July 2017. Commissioned report by Blue Green Economics
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.