by Melody Keilig
Did you know there's a holiday to celebrate puppies? That's right, a whole day just to think about adorable pups! Okay, there's more to it than just that. So let's dig into what this holiday is all about, as well as what you can do to participate.
March 23rd is International Puppy Day, a holiday for dog lovers to show our pups how much we love them. The holiday has been around since 2006, founded by Pet Lifestyle Expert Colleen Paige. She also founded International Dog Day held annually in the summer.
So, why start International Puppy Day when there's already a day dedicated to dogs?
Paige decided that International Puppy Day was needed because of the much higher prevalence of canine adoption in the summer. So, she thought a holiday to bring awareness to animal shelters and encourage more adoptions earlier in the year would boost yearly adoption numbers.
It's also a holiday to bring awareness about inhumane and illegal puppy mills. These cruel operations are known to hold animals in inhumane conditions, where they raise them to sell to unsuspecting people looking to adopt puppies. Or, even worse, some pet shops know of these operations and still buy animals from them.
For more insight, there are around 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, with only 3,000 supervised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You might think this number is relatively small for a large country like the U.S., but about two million dogs originate from these mills.
In 2020, approximately 871,296 dogs in the U.S. were adopted, with 25.3% of that number being puppies. However, rolling into the following year, adoptions dropped by 31% in January 2021.
With over 1,000 animals entering shelters in the U.S. every year, International Puppy Day reminds us of the importance of donating to shelters to help unadopted animals in need.
Internationally, there are several continents with a major problem of stray dogs living in the streets with no hope of being taken into animal shelters.
- Europe has an estimated 100 million stray dogs
- In Asia, there are about 20 million stray dogs
- Africa has about 70 million stray dogs
- Oceania has about 2 million stray dogs
For a larger picture, the World Health Organization estimates that there are 200 million stray dogs in the world. This population only increases with the number of dogs who are not spayed or neutered.
By having International Puppy Day in March, we're reminded to help a puppy by adopting from a shelter rather than buying one from a breeder. If your home is currently full, you can still show your puppy how much you love and appreciate them. So spend the day doing all sorts of fun, pup-approved activities.
So, how can you help puppies and animal shelters this March 23rd? Check out these fun ideas to raise awareness, encourage donations, and help animals find their forever home!
- Hold an adoption event: One of the best ways to get eyes on pups waiting for their forever home is to encourage the public to view the animals ready for adoption. In preparation for the event, volunteer your time and take pictures of the dogs waiting to be adopted.
Then, write a short and sweet bio describing what makes them unique and why they should have a forever home as soon as possible! Finally, post the photos and bios on the shelter's website and social media to spread awareness to anyone looking to add a pup to their family.
- Meet-and-Greet for Pups: A meet-and-greet has a similar set-up to adoption events, but it's specifically for pups who haven't been adopted after a certain amount of time. Some puppies and older dogs don't get adopted as quickly. So, holding a special meet-and-greet event where each dog receives a personal bio can entice people to adopt.
When a dog's unique personality is highlighted, we connect closer with them. So have a poster board with a doggie bio and let the dogs express their personalities, whether they're spunky, quiet, or full of boundless energy. Then, help the humans find their perfect furbaby by matching their personalities to the pups!
- Donate to your local shelter: For local animal shelters, donations go a long way in helping the animals in many ways. Financial donations are always greatly appreciated, from helping to keep the lights on to lifting food and medical care costs. But contributions can go beyond money and be just as helpful.
Canned food, treats, and basic medical supplies help with the daily cost of care for the animals. If you have clean blankets, you could part with or gently used pet supplies, like toys, leashes, or more. These supplies also go a long way in helping animals in need.
Now that we've covered what this holiday is all about, you'll be fully prepped for this year's International Puppy Day! Contact your local animal shelter and ask how you can help. If they're looking for ideas, pitch an adoption event, offer to volunteer, make a financial donation, or donate pet supplies to do your part. No matter how you're able to help, every effort goes a long way in bringing awareness to help pups and dogs in need of a loving home.
This year, Porch Potty is hosting our 2nd Annual International Puppy Day Awards! Stay tuned for more details.
Okay, okay, we'll give you a hint: dust off those cameras!