Today is the start of National Dog Week (September 19–25), a weeklong celebration of our canine companions that has apparently been around for more than eight decades. It’s on my radar thanks to the efforts of Lisa Begin-Kruysman, an artist and writer in Brick Township, N.J., who has been doing all she can (including a blog, Facebook page, and a book titled "Every Dog has its Week") to revive what had become a flagging tradition.
Ultimately, these day/week/month/year designations kind of irritate me. Here’s my issue: Isn’t every day National Dog Day? I know it is in my house. Why limit yourself? Are you kind to your dad or mom—only one day a year? (If you answered yes to that, you’ve got challenges we can’t get into here.)
So I treat these designations as little alarm bells, a reminder to do something more or different. Happily, a sort of solution has presented itself: National Dog Week overlaps with Petfinder’s Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week (September 17–25).
This is a cause very dear to my heart since my husband and I specialize in unadoptable pups—most recently, a big (strike one), black (strike two), five-year-old former sled dog. In Fairbanks, where Renzo lived until joining us, old sled dogs are about as desirable as a bikini in February.
Every day we are grateful for Renzo’s presence, never more than during the past few weeks, as we’ve coped with the sudden death of our older dog Lulu. From the waiting room at Washington State University veterinary hospital to the days that have followed, Renzo seems to know precisely when we need a little extra snuggling and when we need a kick in the pants.
Of the people I’ve talked to who adopted “less-adoptable” dogs—those with behavioral challenges, health problems and/or intimidating looks, or simply seniors—they all, to a person, describe something special in the connection, maybe a sense of bad fate narrowly avoided. It may be projection, but it’s a good sort of projection that inspires us to help dogs who need a little extra dose of compassion.
So why not celebrate two weeks in one? Perhaps National Dog Week is your excuse to make the leap for a dog with less than stellar chances. Or, if that’s too big a step right now, maybe you can support a shelter or rescue that is going the extra mile to find homes for these special-needs pups.
Check out the gallery of less-adoptable pets at Petfinder.