For the past 85 years, the last week of September has marked National Dog Week. Conceived by Silver Star recipient Captain William Lewis Judy in 1928. Captain Judy was an avid dog lover and, after returning home from serving in the U.S. Army through World War I, Judy launched a publishing house and produced multiple works centered on dogs. After purchasing Dog World magazine—the largest dog publication in the world—and creating the Dog Writers Association of America, Judy proclaimed the fourth week of September National Dog Week with the hopes of honoring both military service dogs and the dogs that provide companionship to individuals and families across the world.
Honored with the 1936 Ellie Sheets Memorial Trophy and the 1949 Man of the Year prize for his influence in the dog world, Judy was called “an icon in the sport” of dog shows and his name is still synonymous with exceptional performance at a prestigious obedience competitions. In his introduction to The Dog Encyclopedia: A Complete Reference Work on Dogs, Judy expressed the following sentiments about dogs,
“A kinship between man and the lower animals surely exists, for the good God who made us also made them as part of the order of creation.
The barrier between the two has been the impossibility of communicating the thots [sic] of each other’s mind. Of all the dumb creation, the dog most nearly communicates with man. He can discern the moods of man, whether of gladness or sorrow, anger or pain, contentment or want, and can enter into these moods.
More than any other animal he has given to man loyalty, companionship and usefulness. He aids in the quest of securing food and guards what is his master’s. All that he cares to know is whether the stranger is friend or foe.
Gratitude is his abounding virtue; for a bone and a kindly word he will render loyalty at the danger of his life.”
May those thoughts guide us as celebrate both National Dog Week and its founder, Captain William Lewis Judy. As you reflect upon and spend time with the dogs in your life, may you see them with renewed appreciation for their loyalty, their companionship, and their faithfulness.