Many dogs who wind up in shelters can’t be registered for official birthdays. Shelter workers might be able to estimate their age, but they can never know for sure. When these dogs of unknown origins finally find their forever homes, their family assigns them a random date–such as the adoption day itself–as a birthday. To rectify this sad situation, The North Shore Animal League America declared August 1 as Dogust or the universal birthday for all shelter animals whose birthdays are unknown.
The North Shore Animal League America is considered the largest no-kill and adoption. Established in 1944, the organization is considered a leader on innovation in the no-kill movement. Some of their practices include:
- Raising Awareness of Shelter Pets through advertising of shelter pets “with the expectation that once people learned that amazing shelter pets were available at a shelter close to home, they would adopt instead of buying a pet from a pet store. In addition, the organization hosts a global adoption event. Today over 2,000 shelters in the U.S., and in 26 other countries unite one day “to join forces and adopt over 20,000 animals into permanent homes over a single weekend”.
- Increasing Adoptions Worldwide by using Mobile Adoption Units to bring homeless pets out of the shelter and into high-traffic areas. In addition, the organization hosts a national adoption tour and a pet referral website.
- Reducing Euthanasia and Overpopulation by the provision of low-cost spay/neuter services
- Embracing the Next Generation through a national education initiative that uses dogs to teach children social and emotional skills. This curriculum was developed in collaboration with Yale University.
What most impressed me beyond the background of the Dogust’s founder are the practical ways in which pet lovers have embraced this special day. One Bark and Swagger blogger, who is herself a proud parent of a shelter puppy, encouraged ones to use the day for extra good by picking a shelter and some of its animals to post, tweet, and share about. “Think about how many we could have a hand in getting adopted! How many we might save from euthanasia. Could be pretty powerful.” I know that there are a few individuals on Lincoln Pet Exchange who make this their mission. Moreover, I’ve helped in some cases and agree that the idea seems potentially powerful. I might have to consider doing it myself, in honor of my own pets—two of which are rescues without any official birthdays.
How are you going to celebrate Dogust?