Break out the dog treats, squeaky toys and cue the social media photos — Monday is National Dog Day.
The annual holiday, celebrated every Aug. 26, commemorates four-legged friends of all sizes and breeds, promotes adoption and honors service dogs. Animal advocate Colleen Paige founded National Dog Day in 2004, according to the holiday’s website.
Don’t worry cat lovers — National Cat Day is just around the corner on Oct. 29.
Jane Collier, the vice president of Therapy Dogs Boulder County , has seen first-hand how dogs can make a difference in peoples’ lives. Therapy Dogs Boulder County helps to train and place therapy dogs in schools, hospitals and various other organizations.
“Dogs keep us healthy both mentally and physically,” Collier said. “It has been scientifically proven that petting a dog lowers the blood pressure. It increases oxytocin, which is a hormone that is associated with empathy and relationship-building in the brain.”
Daily dog walks can also give people a reason to get outside and get some exercise, Collier said.
With their capacity to serve as therapy dogs, help authorities on search and rescue mission and so many other roles, Collier said it’s no wonder the species is considered “man’s best friend.”
So, in honor of National Dog Day, Boulder County pet owners are advised to show their companions a little love.
In Boulder, residents can leash up their pooch for a W-A-L-K. City Open Space and Mountain Parks offers about 155 miles of trails to traverse. Roughly 90% of those trail miles are open for pets and people, according to Phil Yates, of OSMP .
Dogs can run wild at any one of Boulder’s four dog parks, including Valmont Dog Park, 5300 Valmont St.; East Boulder Dog Park, 5660 Sioux Drive; Foothills Dog Park, 800 Cherry Ave.; Howard Heuston, 3200 34th St. Park rules and regulations can be found on the city’s website.
Denise White, spokeswoman for the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department, said Boulder’s first dog park opened about 20 years ago. Today, dog owners can find a number of park options.
“Each park offers something different so we invite people and pups to check them all out,” White said in an email Friday.
In Longmont, there are six dog parks for people to choose from, including Blue Skies Park, 1520 Mountain Drive; Dog Park #1, 1505 21st Ave.; Dog Park #2, 375 Airport Road; Rough and Ready, 301 E. 21st Ave.; Stephen Day Dog Park, 1340 Deerwood Drive and Union Reservoir, 461 County Road 26.
In honor of the holiday, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley is hosting a social media contest. People can post dog photos to the shelter’s Facebook page. Some of the photos will earn a place on the humane society’s website. This task will be no easy feat to judge, said Amanda Boerman, the society’s marketing and community relations manager.
Boerman said the humane society’s Doggie Dash is a bit of an extension to the National Dog Day celebration. The 2-mile fun run will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 22, at the Boulder Reservoir.
Boerman encouraged people to visit the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s website to see current dogs available for adoption. As of Friday, more than 30 dogs were available. At the Longmont Humane Society, roughly 30 dogs were also up for adoption.
For Collier and her pets, every day is National Dog Day.
“We play, we exercise, we laugh and have fun together,” Collier said. “They keep a smile on my face all day long. I rejoice in their presence every minute of every day. Having them a part of my family makes life complete.”