Aug. 26 is National Dog Day. That's the day animal advocate Colleen Paige has designated for honoring all those dogs who bring in the paper, and all those dogs who are neglected.
And who better to celebrate with than the Animal Welfare League of Chicago Ridge. The league finds forever homes for hundreds of homeless dogs, cats, bunnies, birds and any other animal species that lands on its doorstep.
A raid on an animal shelter? Dog-fighting in the south suburbs? Chances are if there is an animal abuse story in the news, those animals are taken to the Animal Welfare League for rehabilitation, tender loving care and ultimately adoption. The shelter cares for 18,000 animals, and reunites 1,500 lost pets with their owners annully. The league also offers a low-cost vet clinic.
The Animal Welfare League is currently accepting submissions for its 2013 Dog Calendar. In Oak Lawn, Skye, the husky, was the AWL's pinup doggie for January 2012. Entires are being accepted through Aug. 31. All proceeds from calendar sales will benefit the Animal Welfare League where no pet is turned away.
Not to be confused with National Mutt Day (Dec. 2), National Puppy Day (March 23) or National Pet Day (April 11), each of the 19 national and international pet days founded by Paige are all designed with one thing in mind: to draw attention to the need for pet rescue.
Paige, author, pet behaviorist and self proclaimed "pet celebrity lifestyle expert" founded the Animal Miracle Foundation and Network (AMFN), a nonprofit Christian faith based charity, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Since 2004 Paige says that National Dog Day has rescued 100,000 dogs and has now spread its efforts worldwide.
"We will never meet a human who will love us without condition, without expectation, without someone, at some point, disappointing us, breaking our heart..." Paige said, "Dogs will never do this to us. They are steadfast.... and short, fat, tall, skinny, any race, any religion, there is no discrimination - we are perfect in their eyes. They deserve so much more than they get."
Paige dubbed the holiday a K-9 Fourth of July and asks pet lovers to celebrate by adopting a shelter dog, helping an ill or elderly neighbor by walking their dog, or with a $5 donation to a local shelter. But that's just three of National Dog Day's 50 Ways to Celebrate.