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National Dog Day
This year I'm celebrating kids who walk the bark.
Sofia with a rescued Pit Bull named Peppermint Patty. She's helping to raise money to pay for Patty's heartworm treatments.

Tomorrow, August 26, is National Dog Day. I know this because I read about it in a press release for natural and holistic pet care. I’ve never actually celebrated Dog Day (I sort of figured every day is dog day), and I wonder if anyone really does.

According to the National Dog Day website, “premier pet lifestyle expert” Colleen Paige is responsible for the designation. I can’t argue with Paige’s bottom line—encouraging adoption of rescue and shelter dogs—but there’s an awful lot of Martha Stewart-esque styling and PR around that mission, which makes me a little skeptical about who’s helping whom.

 

When I think about doing good for dogs, my cogs turn to all those people quietly doing good for dogs every day of the year, including, but not limited to, many of the folks I meet and talk to in my work for The Bark. I get especially goosepimply when I learn about youngsters going the extra mile for dogs.

So in honor of this National Dog Day, I raise the dog dish to all the young adults out there who’ve gotten a jumpstart on a lifetime of loving and supporting animals.
    
Like Sofia Gigure, a seven-year-old animal lover who created a website/blog, Blondie’s Gift for Gregory’s, and video to help raise awareness and money for Gregory’s Gift of Hope, a no-kill rescue in Wisconsin. “Sofia has always loved animals. When her little brother was born, I wanted to find something we could do together that not only gave us time alone but taught her about giving back,” says her mother Karen Gigure. “We started volunteering at Gregory’s Gift of Hope back in January of this year. When her school hosted a penny drive for a local food shelf, she thought it would be a good idea to have a penny drive for Gregory’s.” Sofia set the ambitious goal of raising $10,000, along with awareness about the need for adoptions and not breeding animals.

Sofia has also adopted two cats from Gregory’s—Mario and Casey, who are featured in the video. She doesn’t have a dog but helps foster dogs for shorter periods. Nicknamed Blondie, Sofia is a self-assured and informed presence in her video, preaching the gospel of responsible ownership with an irresistible wink.


And she’s only one of many youthful purveyors of random acts of kindness. Have you heard of Monica Plumb? After the 11-year-old saw a news story last year about how a firefighter saved a dog rescued from a house fire with a Pet Rescue and Resuscitation Oxygen Mask, she asked if her local Powhatan County, Virginia, fire station had them. The answer was no, so she decided to try and raise money to donate the masks to them. The result is PetMask.com, a website focused on raising money for the purchase of mask kits for fire departments all around the world. So far, she has donated donated 75 pet mask kits to 27 departments in 13 states and even one province in Canada. She has several other donations in the works and should be over 80 kits in the next week or two. In July, firefighters in Bonner Springs, Kansas used a donated mask to save a three-year-old cat named Cracker.

At only eight-years-old, Ian Cahr launched a beaded jewelry company to support dog rescue. Kristen Uyeoka, a 17-year-old from Aiea, Hawaii, developed interactive lesson plans to teach pre-school-age children responsible and compassionate care for animals. Mimi Ausland is the 13-year-old founder of freekibble.com, an online trivia game that provides pet food to shelters. And on and on….

With kids like these our dogs have a reason to celebrate.

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

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