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National Dog Day

August 26th marks National Dog Day-a day set aside to honor man’s best friend and express appreciation for all the joys and benefits dogs bring to our lives. From the well-known heroes like the dogs that led their owners to safety on 9/11 to the quiet champions that enable their sightless or physically impaired owners to live life to the fullest through their keen senses and canine instincts, dogs play a vitally important role in the lives of many people.

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In celebration of National Dog Day, here are a few stories of the amazing faithfulness of our canine companions. Many of us are familiar with the story of Hachiko, made famous through the recent movie Hachi. This true tale recounts the faithfulness of an Akita who waited ten years for his deceased master to return home.

Grayfriars Bobby, a devoted Skye terrier who stood at his master’s unmarked grave for over fourteen years, is a symbol of fidelity throughout Britain. A gardener, touched by such devotion, built a small shelter for Grayfriars Bobby and Edinburgh’s Lord Provost paid the dog’s licensing fee to allow him to remain at his post. Grayfriars Bobby died in 1873 and a year later a giant granite fountain was commissioned as a symbol of the dog’s loyalty and headstone was finally placed at his owner’s gravesite. You can read more about Grayfriars Bobby here.

There is also a story of a lone sheep rancher who died in 1870. Given his remote New Mexico location, it was two years before anyone discovered his death, however, his flock of sheep were all doing fine (in fact, they had grown in number during those two years). The rancher’s dog had diligently taken the sheep out to pasture, watching over them through the day and then herding them home each evening.

Dozer, while not recognized for his faithfulness to his owner, is still a very dedicated dog. This goldendoodle crossed his invisible fence after seeing large crowds of people run past his home. Dozer ran along with them, completing the seven mile Maryland Half Marathon to raise money for cancer before quietly returning home. Not knowing about his running spree, his owners were concerned about Dozer’s sudden exhaustion and took him to the vet. Soon after, they saw TV coverage about Dozer’s amazing feat and realized the cause of his fatigue. Dozer received a special award and has raised over $21,000 towards the area cancer center through his Facebook fan page.

Founded by author Colleen Paige in 2004, National Dog Day was created to celebrate dogs and encourage ownership. Many pet owners choose today to celebrate their dog’s birthday (if they don’t know the actual date), making it an even more memorable occasion. It’s also a great day to adopt a dog from your local shelter or rescue group, and to make a donation to your local shelter. Let’s celebrate the contribution dogs make to our lives-today and every day. Happy National Dog Day!

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