Although it might be a holiday that remains under the radar for many people, Aug. 26 means only one thing for canine lovers: It's National Dog Day. The holiday was conceived by Colleen Paige as a day for humans to return some of the unconditional love they're given by man's best friend. Paige also started the holiday to help eradicate the myth that pit bulls are anything less than desirable animals, according to the Inquisitr.
"It breaks my heart to see the plight of certain breeds like pit bulls being slaughtered the way they are in this country, even as puppies entering the shelter," Paige said. "Not all shelters are like this, but it seems to be a growing trend. ... The tragic thing is that the reason behind the bad rap that the pit bull gets, it is specifically crafted at the hands of evil people."
As National Dog Day has grown over the years -- 2012 is the ninth annual celebration -- so has the awareness around it, according to PR Web. St. Louis news affiliate KPLR reported that Americans will spend more than $53 billion on their pets in 2012. The owner of a pet store in St. Louis even compared Sunday's festivities to Mother's Day.
One driving force behind National Dog Day is the encouragement for pet owners and non-pet owners to donate to their local animal shelter. It's also designed to increase the number of pet adoptions, rather than purchasing animals from pet stores. Another main objective is to raise the number of animals that have been sprayed and neutered. Bob Barker, the former host of "The Price Is Right," would be proud.
ShakyPlanet, a company in partnership with National Dog Day - has developed an iPhone app for canine lovers. The holiday's official website outlines some possible plans for dog owners looking to take their pet out of the house on Sunday.
In New York City, the Ripley's Believe It or Not in Times Square has been opened to dogs. Owners and their dogs will be given free admission and be able to meet "Beefy," the skateboarding bulldog. Knights stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., has welcomed fans to bring their dogs to the baseball game Sunday and to walk an on-field "Pooch Parade."
The website encourages dog and pet owners of all kinds to try to take their animal outside for the day and run around in a park or take a long walk.
National Dog Day even has its own Facebook page with almost 10,000 likes. Along with sales offers for pet toys there's also information about how to help save animals in need and tips on how to keep dogs happy all year round.