There seems to be a general absence of ticker-tape parades during this year’s National Dog Week, as well as a good bit of misinformation floating around the great big online dog park we call the dogosphere. Sniffing around, we found different sources claiming different dates for celebrating the week, and many references to the celebration’s origin as having started 74 years ago by veteran dog show judge Capt. Will Judy. So we decided to do a bit of digging…
The True Origin of National Dog Week
In fact, National Dog Week did not begin in 1935, but rather in 1928. Yes, this is the 82nd official celebration of our beloved four-legged companions. The distinction of National Dog Week was created by a group of dog fanciers and sportsmen dedicated to a broad nationwide educational campaign for better dog care. This was somewhat revolutionary at the time – just on the eve of the Great Depression – when the majority of dog fanciers were vocal advocates of one particular breed or another.
Back in the Swing Era, breed clubs were filled with passionate devotees to their particular favored pedigreed pups. But the high-minded goals of the founders of National Dog Week envisioned a far broader campaign that would reach out to all dog owners, regardless of their socioeconomic status (or of the registration status of their pups). In fact, their charter included seven specific objectives:
- A good home for every dog
- Elimination of stray dogs from the street
- Better-informed dog owners
- Consideration for dogs and all animals
- Emphasis of the dog’s use as companion and protector
- Fair laws for dogs and dog owners
- Respect for the rights of non-dog owners
They even came up with several slogans to promote their newly created National Dog Week. Our favorie is this one:
“A Dog is the Only True Love Money Can Buy”
Originally, the annual event was sponsored by the Dog Owner’s League of America and the National Dog Week Association which was based in Chicago, Illinois. Neither organization still exists. During the days of the FDR administration, these organizations had a far reach, connecting with legislators throughout America, and working as advocates for better dog laws and more humane policies.
Although the Association has falled to the wayside, National Dog Week is indeed still mentioned each year as a general news item, but without too much fanfare. Some local communities and businesses use this week as a time to promote special activities and dog events. But we believe that this is an annual tradition deserving of a renaissance. Animal rights advocates can use this week as a platform to broadcast issues of great concern to dog owners throughout America.
While we agree that every day we should celebrate our dogs and all of the joys they bring us, we love the idea of a special week – for the simple reason that any excuse for a celebrating mans is fine by us.
And now you know the real story of National Dog Week.
National Dog Week is celebrated during the last full week of September each year. In 2014, National Dog Week runs from September 20 through September 27.