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National Rescue Dog Day: How Can I Celebrate[Owners Guide]

Every year, countless dogs remain without a family, living in animal shelters, waiting to be adopted. Many of us know this situation is tragic, yet it stays the same year after year. Did you know the ASPCA estimates that millions of dogs enter shelters annually? Our nation needs more awareness, and that’s partly why National Rescue Dog Day was created — to encourage the public to adopt, rather than buy, a dog.

On top of rescue efforts, National Rescue Dog Day promotes education for the humane treatment of dogs. This includes and teaching the public about spaying and neutering and ways to prevent abandonment.

Many of us can’t imagine living without our dogs, and yet everyday dogs are surrendered because owners are unable to care for them. This movement to adopt a dog over buying one can help many loving, loyal dogs find a new family. Keep reading to learn about the ways you can observe National Dog Rescue Day, and why we love this special day!

What Is National Rescue Dog Day?

National Dog Rescue Day was founded by Lisa Wiehebrink of Tails That Teach. The whole idea of the holiday is to bring awareness to the growing population of homeless dogs stuck in shelters.

Every year, many people have to give up their dogs because they become unable to care for them. Many dogs are also abandoned and left on the streets by cold-hearted owners simply because they don’t want the responsibility anymore. Some people don’t spay or neuter their dogs and end up with puppies they can’t care for. The list of reasons for canine homelessness is long!

National Dog Rescue Dog is also all about educating the public on being kind and responsible with their pets. Taking the initiative to spay and neuter can curb the population of homeless dogs on the streets and reduce the number of dogs given up to shelters. Wiehebrink also has a Tails That Teach book series for children that stresses the importance of treating pets in a loving, caring manner.

RELATED: National Cat Day

When Is National Rescue Dog Day?

National Rescue Dog Day is celebrated on May 20th every year! Be sure to mark your calendars ahead of time!

a man, woman, and child petting a labrador

Why Celebrate National Rescue Dog Day?

Of the approximately 3.3 million dogs that enter shelters every year, only about 1.6 million are adopted. In the remaining half, over a third are euthanized due to age, sickness, or aggressive behaviors to save space and prevent overcrowding.



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Fortunately, this number has started to decline every year due to increased adoption rates. National Rescue Dog Day aims to continue this trend by inviting people to adopt if they are looking for a new addition to the family.

If you’ve been thinking about adopting a dog, use this day as an excuse to finally pull the trigger! Many shelters across the country also observe National Rescue Dog Day and offer incentives. They may waive or lower adoption fees and give away free items, like leashes or collars, to get you started.

Benefits of Adopting

Many people worry that an adopted dog might have abandonment issues or behavioral problems. This may be the case with some dogs, but most rescues belonged to loving families and just need someone to trust again. Though it could take extra time and patience to bring an adopted dog into the family, the reward is repaid many times over!

On top of the affection you’ll earn, the lower price point is a plus. Adopting from shelters will cost you far less than purchasing from a breeder. Many breeders often charge outrageous prices for new puppies simply because of the pedigree.

Plus, all animal shelters provide basic medical care, so there is essentially minimal risk to adopting a dog. In contrast, some irresponsible breeders will attempt to save money by not properly vaccinating their dogs or allow dogs with prior health issues to breed.

When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you can rest assured that the dog has been in the trusted hands of dedicated workers and volunteers. On top of that, you won’t have to worry about training the dog (in some cases) because they have already been trained! If you decide to adopt a young puppy or a dog with behavioral issues, you can try using CBD oil to calm their jitters and make training easier.

When you adopt, you can rest easy knowing that you saved a life, and that dog will be forever grateful and loyal towards you. There’s nothing better than giving a dog their new forever home. Dogs are the ultimate loving, affectionate pet, and we should take every chance we get to save one.

How Can I Celebrate National Rescue Dog Day?

There are many amazing ways that you can celebrate National Rescue Dog Day, even if you already have a few dogs of your own! After all, this special day is just another reason for us to celebrate our dogs together and show our love for them.

Adopt One For Yourself!

If you don’t already own a dog, this might be the perfect opportunity to make your family one member larger! Check your local shelters and rescues for more information. You might find special deals or incentives to help get you started.

If you already have a dog at home, consider if they would like to have a new friend to play with! If you have the means to care for another one, National Rescue Dog Day can be an excellent opportunity to add a new member to the family and keep your dog from feeling lonely. Sometimes multiple dogs running around the house can make for more entertainment and joy!

Help Out By Fostering

Fostering dogs can offer a great way for them to socialize before they find their forever home. Many dogs need help transitioning to a home environment away from the shelter. Fostering can help dogs overcome anxiety or stress they and prepare them for adoption in the future.

Fostering is also helpful for those unsure about owning a dog long-term. Typically, fostering a dog can stay up to 2 months, allowing people to decide if owning a dog is for them. Ultimately, this increases the chance of a foster dog getting adopted, which is the goal!

And who knows? You might fall in love with your foster dog and end up adopting it for yourself!

a man lying in the grass playing with his dog

Volunteer At A Shelter

Shelters are almost always understaffed and rely on the help of volunteers to keep the place running. Even if you can’t afford to adopt, volunteering is a fantastic way to spend some time with dogs. You’ll walk, groom, and play with the rescues, helping their socialization.

Did you know interacting with animals can help reduce stress and boost your serotonin levels? Studies have found that playing with animals like dogs or cats actually lowers cortisol levels (the “stress” hormone). So, why not take advantage of National Rescue Dog Day to help out at shelters and relieve some stress?

Spay/Neuter Your Dog

National Rescue Dog Day is all about responsibility. On this day, advocates stress the importance of spaying and neutering your dog. These procedures help prevent surprise pregnancies, which often lead to abandoned puppies.

Many homeless dogs are the result of unexpected pregnancies (i.e., careless owners who don’t spay/neuter). Then, these homeless dogs have litters of their own because they don’t get spayed or neutered. This creates a dangerous cycle that causes the homeless dog population to grow rapidly without anyone to care for them.

Educate Your Children

As a nation of pet lovers, it’s important to continue the tradition of teaching our children how to be kind and responsible owners. A large portion of the dogs found in shelters has a history of abuse and neglect. By educating young children and even ourselves, we can help bring awareness to the mistreatment of dogs.

We have already seen some level of success from educating the public. The ASPCA reports a decline of dogs entering shelters, from 3.9 million in 2011 to 3.3 million in 2018. There are also far lower euthanization rates each year, and more lost pets are becoming reunited with their owners.

As long as we continue to treat our pets right and stay responsible, those numbers should continue to decline!

Final Thoughts – National Rescue Dog Day

Rescuing a dog from a shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience that creates a bond for life. Dogs are amazing, devoted animals that may be just the thing to complete your family. Celebrate National Rescue Dog Day with us and take the time to appreciate dogs and all the wonderful things we can do to support our shelters!



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