Maybe because my last two columns were about Valentine’s Day I remain in a holiday mind-frame and, happily, February still has four special pet-themed holidays to celebrate. February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day. Don’t get too excited since, according to the national holidays trade group, there are over 1,500 similarly named national days which means that on average every day is four National Something-Or-Other Days (including National Homemade Soup Day and National Wash A Blanket Day). That said, I am happy for any day which focuses on what we should all do 365 days every year: that is, appreciate and demonstrate the love we have for those wonderful nonhuman members of our families. One good way to show that love, specifically for the dogs in our lives, is called out on February 22, otherwise known as National Walk Your Dog Day, excellent advice for both body and spirit for dogs and their best friends. Leash up and head out!
After a day spent calorie-burning, it’s good to know that February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. While the origin of this particular holiday remains unknown, the history of dog biscuits themselves has two competing theories. Was it a dog-loving American by the name James Spratt who purposefully cooked up the first dog biscuit in the mid-nineteenth century, or an English butcher of the late 1800s who baked a batch of “meat cookies” he thought would be the toast of London but which proved completely inedible until he tossed one to his drooling mutt? (I’ve had similar results with some of my own cooking!) Either way, the original recipe (meat, grains, vegetables) now comes in flavors from bacon to pumpkin to popcorn-and-cheese combinations, in textures from extra-extra crunchy to gloppy-gooey, with vegan, lactose- and gluten-free options.
And February 25 is World Spay Day. Spaying (ovariohysterectomy performed on female dogs, cats and rabbits) and neutering (surgical castration) prevent unwanted births and are the most critically important life-saving tools: by most tallies, nationwide more pets are euthanized as the result of homelessness than die of all diseases combined. PHS/SPCA’s own low- and no-cost spay/neuter programs have reduced euthanasia in this community by more than 98%, something most definitely worth celebrating!