September is zooming by. Just ahead are three very different and unique pet calendar dates. In honor of the first, Puppy Mill Awareness Day, there will be a few informational articles posted later in the week on this topic. We’ll leave you to you how to celebrate the rest!
September 21: Puppy Mill Awareness Day
The goal behind Puppy Mill Awareness Day is to draw attention to the poor conditions found at many commercial breeding facilities: overcrowded kennels, inadequate supply of clean water and healthy food, and the lack of veterinarian care. On the Puppy Mill Awareness Day site, you can find a list of ways to help animals in this condition including:
- Educate family and friends by informing them that adoption is a better option than buying a pet from a store.
- Hold a fund-raiser to contribute towards the medical bills of puppy mill rescues.
- Donate regularly-needed pet supplies, such as blankets, towels, food, and treats, to groups such as Hearts United for Animals that specializes in rescuing puppy mills dogs.
- Get involved at a local shelter or rescue.
September 22: Responsible Pet Ownership
Observed annually on the third Saturday in September, Responsible Dog Ownership Day encourages owners to make a promise of loyalty to their pet. As part of doing so, owners should educate themselves about pet care. They should know how to handle the size, temperament, and energy level of their pet. They should also know how to provide for their pet’s general well-being and for their pet’s medical care. Pets bring many benefits to our lives. They also depend on humans for their care. This makes us responsible for them. Since at least September 17, 2003, on the 119th anniversary of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Responsible Dog Ownership Day has been encouraging dog owners to take the loyalty pledge.
September 23: Dogs in Politics
The most unusual origin of a September calendar date is that of Dogs in Politics. On September 23, 1952, vice president candidate Richard Nixon gave a televised and radio-broadcast speech to refute charges that he had used campaign funds for personal use. In what’s known as the “Checkers Speech,” Nixon stated that he intended to keep one gift, a donation that had been sent to his family as a personal gift: a black-and-white dog that had been named Checkers by the Nixon children, thus giving the speech its popular name.
“A man down in Texas heard Pat [Nixon’s wife] on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was?
“It was a little Cocker Spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl — Tricia, the six-year old — named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”
Link to the Checkers part of the speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqjwBDH-vhY&feature=youtu.be&t=17m47s
The “Checkers Speech” was seen or heard by about 60 million Americans, amounting to the largest television audience of that time. The dog, Checkers, died in 1964, and was buried in Bide-a-Wee Pet Cemetery, located in Long Island, NY. As to how to best celebrate this day, how about educating yourself about political pets? President Adams’ Alligator and Other White House Pets is a good children’s book to start with, and there are many other books on the topic.