Happy National Dog Day! Today’s holiday is all about celebrating our furry friends in all their varied splendor. More than giving us an excuse to shower our pets with extra love and treats, today is also a time to honor how important dogs are to our lives, both as home companions and as assistants to help us work and get through everyday life.
Most importantly, National Dog Day encourages us to focus on rescuing and adopting those dogs that are in desperate need of our intervention to give them a safe, secure, and loving home.
Even if you’re not a position to adopt a dog, there are still ways you can celebrate the day and support the spirit of the holiday. Here are some ideas I found on the National Dog Day website:
- Donate your time or make a contribution to a local animal shelter.
- Write your legislators on all levels to ask them to pass laws to shut down puppy mills.
- Volunteer to walk a friend’s dog or to pet sit for the day.
One of my favorite ways to honor the day is to listen to a true story that highlights the incredible bonds formed between humans and dogs. My list of recommended audiobooks includes some of my favorites and some that are on my own listening wish list.
In THIS MUCH COUNTRY, Kristin Knight Pace writes about falling in love with a team of working dogs and how that led her to compete in two of the most grueling sled dog races in the world and eventually to open her own kennel in her adopted state of Alaska. She talks about the dangers as well as the beauty and harshness of the northern wilderness, her incredible relationship with her sled dogs, and the emotional journey that has given her a life fully led. She narrates her own story with clarity and heartfelt expression.
Maria Goodavage pays homage to the many service dogs that work in the healthcare sector in DOCTOR DOGS. Based on personal stories about medical companion dogs, this audiobook tells us how these animals can keep people safe by warning them about a range of dangers, such as a diabetic blood-sugar crash; can help calm those who suffer from PTSD; and can offer comfort to victims of child abuse. Narrator Suzanne Elise Freeman strengthens our connection to these inspiring stories.
Have you ever thought about being a veterinarian? Jessica Vogelsang’s memoir, ALL DOGS GO TO KEVIN, offers a vet’s perspective on how much we learn and grow from our relationships with our family dogs. They help us cope with grief, they offer a portal to difficult conversations with our children, and they are our friends and sounding boards when we feel lonely. Vogelsang narrates her own book, infusing her performance with authentic emotions and passion.
NO BETTER FRIEND by Robert Weintraub offers a unique World War II story set in the Pacific theater. Judy, a pointer, was initially adopted as a mascot for a British gunboat serving in Singapore. Later, she developed an unbreakable, lifelong bond with a flight technician as they together fought to survive in a Japanese POW camp. Dan Woren narrates Judy’s story, which is based on firsthand accounts of the many war veterans who were touched by the dog’s valor and loyalty.
With his signature humor, author-narrator Dave Barry muses about getting older and how his dog has given him a fresh perspective in LESSONS FROM LUCY. What can Lucy teach us about our middle years and beyond? Many are simple lessons that deserve more of our attention, such as don’t forget to have fun; others are a little deeper, like assume the best in people from the get-go. Barry sees his life with Lucy as a springboard to talk about a variety of topics, some quirky, some all too familiar.
For more information and for ideas for getting involved in helping dogs, visit the National Dog Day website.