It’s National Dog Day

Most weekdays I watch Daily Blast Live. It’s based in Denver, so the panelists/hosts are practically my neighbors. Today they mentioned that it’s National Dog Day, and when the credits rolled they included pictures of staff members’ dogs. It left me close to tears.

You may recall I lost my beloved Annie last September, and life hasn’t been the same since. Every picture or story of people seems to include their dogs. Everybody that walks by seems to have a dog. Every mention of Colorado seems to include a reference to its dog-friendliness. There are dogs in every commercial, every tv show, every movie. Or so it seems.

With few exceptions, such as my years in apartments, I’ve always had a dog. The last year without one — without Annie — has passed without an anchor, without a reason to be home or come home. Without a reason to even get off the couch. (A cat doesn’t count. Rowdy is a whole different thing.)

Lots of indecision. At my age (79) do I really want all the responsibilities of dog ownership? Can I physically manage one, giving it the time, attention, and exercise it needs? Would it be fair to adopt a dog that would have to be rehomed again if I predecease it? Or if it should die first, do I want to endure that searing, gut-rending grief again? Do I want to again go through the routine of getting a new dog — an older one — settled in, used to the routine, not getting me up at night, etc?

With Annie I sometimes felt guilty for not wanting to get up and play when she seemed to want to. I often felt guilty for being reluctant to get up and let her out when she wanted out … or in. So how would I feel about getting up even more often with a new dog?

I’ve just read that National Dog Day was established to encourage the adoption of more dogs. Talk about getting a nudge, a push, in that direction. I’ve had dog rescue groups bookmarked on my browser since last winter. I managed to stop checking them every day, but every few days is still pretty common. Maybe two or three times I’ve seen “the dog,” but dawdled too long and it disappeared. And in any case, I’d have no application or request already on file with the rescue group and thus was several days or weeks away from approval to adopt. Nor can I complete an application without one or more personal references, and I have put off asking for those.

So here I sit, still undecided about adopting another dog (and, meanwhile, getting older by the day) while reminding everyone else to adopt a dog. Adopt, don’t shop. Or at least show your current pup a little extra appreciation today.

10 thoughts on “It’s National Dog Day

  1. We seriously debated after we lost Molly – for the same reasons as we are the same age. Dogless and catless at the same time – well, there was no one to greet us at the door. No always constant, “No matter what, I’m here and I’m your best friend.” No walking partner – no hanging over the back of the front seat with “Hey, I like Jr bacon cheeseburgers, too.” Still it seemed sensible to not. we can live with the sadness, right? It will get less, right?
    Until the this month’s “Clear the shelters” push – (subsidized fees or basically free with chips and all) Rows and rows of dogs being dropped off as inflation left so many with little money for “extra mouths” – school starting. All good dogs – all confused as to why.
    I saw Hank online – after we check out another one (who must have been a hoarder’s rescue or puppy mill mom – she was in terrible shape – with long curved nails making walking painful – and she seemed to hate us and all humans. That too much of a project although she will make someone a great dog eventually. Sadly we left.
    But Hank. We showed up hoping he was still there – in the rain. The shelter guy fond him on the streets was fond of him, we could tell as we carefully walked to the kennel. Then Hank looked up and smiled and leaped into Sr. Staff’s arms. First smile from Sr. Staff in a long time. And they said “do you want to take him? Do you want to take him today?” Of course. Taking Hank opened a space for another dog in need – and while my mom would say it’s a dumb thing to do, no regrets…well, wish he would sleep a bit later. And he is his own dog with such a happy personality, and he is blooming fabulously. Somehow he know we can’t walk as fast as he would like – he taught himself loose leash walking…unless a cat shows up…not going to be friend of cat apparently, but one is enough for us right now. And a smile on Sr Staff’s face is worth all the time sweeping up dog tumbleweeds. We’re making guardianship plans for him if necessary. He’s a luxury, but one we need – maybe you, too.
    Give that cat a pet from us!

    1. You talk good sense, as always. And I gave it a lot of thought when you got Hank. Still, I’m the only Sr. staff here. So much hesitancy. And I’ve had almost a year now to get even more sedentary. Still, Annie’s “babies” are everywhere, her crate is an essential piece of furniture in the bedroom, the pet gates are still in the hall …

      Cat pet delivered. Rowdy says thanks.

    2. They’re doing “Clear the Shelters” here too, and it’s heartbreaking. I hate that so many people bought or adopted dogs during Covid and have recently decided those dogs are too much of an inconvenience. So instead of treating them with lifetime commitment like a member of the family, they just toss them aside like old shoes. Shameful. The really sad thing is that about half (quite possibly more) of the dogs in local shelters around here are pit bulls or pit bull mixes. I’m aware of all the debate about them, pro and con, and don’t want to take a chance on them. I’m no longer up to handling a dog like that in any case. I just wonder how adoptable those poor dogs are, once they’ve been dumped.

  2. Our Yorkie Winston, 13, was killed by a coyote last spring and our feelings about the situation are identical to yours. We live in a small area of the city that has a spot of wilderness to it, trees, small lake, bushes, etc., and along with deer, turkeys, eagles, vultures, rabbits and geese, Mr. Coyote showed up suddenly. I certainly don’t feel up to raising a puppy any more, the house training, the “accidents”, and the furniture chewing, but the idea of getting an older, gentle rescue continues to gnaw at our brains. I feel your pain, Susan.

    1. It’s a conundrum. Lousy timing all around. If I’d gotten Annie five years later, she’d still be here, aging along with me. If I’d gotten her five years earlier, I’d still be young enough to adopt another dog with few misgivings. Jim, I’m so sorry to hear about Winston. I know how much you must miss him. Such an emptiness where a dog ought to be and has always been.

  3. I appreciate the thoughts on dog ownership you wrote here. I, too, long for a dog and know the heartbreak of giving up a dog in my youth still wrenching my heart years later which I wrote about in the past. Many years later a dog from the pound for my children was a disappointment though I had never expected her to be anything like other dogs I had known. Though living alone, I reluctantly concluded to not get a dog, or any other pet, when I was your age for the reasons you describe. I recall when I was still providing services in long term care facilities, residents who had given up pets and the few who luckily had family or friends who occasionally were able to bring the pet to visit. Other residents weren’t as fortunate.

    1. I do have a cat, and as it happens he’s much more of a cuddler than any I’ve had before. But a cat is not a dog. Just as there’s a good chance another dog would not be the same as the last one. Still, several times a week, I browse through pictures from the shelters and rescue organizations …

... and that's my two cents