International Dog Day 2021: A special occasion to honour man's best friend

·4-min read
Representative image
Representative image

By Devashish

New Delhi [India], August 26 (ANI): International Dog Day is annually observed on August 26 to honour the most loyal beings on this planet by drawing attention to their plight around the world and to raise awareness about the adoption of dogs, also known as man's best friend.

The day can be celebrated by donating to shelter homes for canines or by volunteering with organisations that work towards taking care of dogs. A lot of people in India even take up the idea of adopting a stray dog.

Also, when looking for a dog as a companion, one should "adopt, not shop". By buying a particular dog breed discrimination gets promoted. Instead, when a person adopts a dog from a shelter home, another dog takes its place there. Hence, two lives end up getting saved.

Dog Day has been created so that all breeds of dogs are celebrated, whether mixed or pure. The day helps to galvanize the public so that they can recognise the number of dogs that must be rescued every year, from pure breed rescuers, rescues, and public shelters.

Presently, when the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our lives, it becomes our moral duty and responsibility to take care of these beings and protect them from anything that can cause harm to them. This, in turn, also protects us from getting infected through unknown causes.

Interestingly, the mental health benefits of owning a companion animal, such as a dog or a cat, have been shown by several scientific studies, the majority of which indicate that interactions with animals may help with depression, anxiety, and stress, in particular under stress-prone conditions.

Pushpendra Singh Shekhawat, a Gurugram based software tester, who owns a 5-year-old Labrador, spoke about his experience of having a pet around during the stressful COVID period.

He said, "During this pandemic period, my dog really helped in decreasing my anxiety levels. He gave me purpose and something to focus on beyond my own self. No matter what else was happening around, my dog needed food, water, attention, and walks. This helped me in maintaining focus even on days when I was low because I had to cater to his needs. Plus, from the moment I wake up, I always have company and something to take care of."

However, there were also instances when COVID-positive dog parents found themselves in a dilemma, not being able to cater to their dog's daily needs or take the pet out for walks.

For such individuals, local boarding facilities were being run by some good Samaritans, who took ample precautions to ensure that their furry friends were taken care of.

One such good soul, Hiya Sharma, a hospitality student, stepped up during this period, and along with her friend helped COVID positive dog owners in her society by taking care of their pooches.

She said, "I just love dogs. Me and my flatmate have always been happy and willing to take people's dogs into our house when needed. During May-June, when COVID hit the nation with unprecedented intensity, we offered to take in pets of families in our society, who had turned Covid positive."

Hiya further explained, "There were a lot of people who needed help at that time. So, we thought when we can help, then why not? Though we could not take in several pets at that time due to limited helping hands, we are now planning to set up a proper boarding facility, as volunteers join in."

While the situation has improved in the past few months, there are still a lot of things that pet owners need to keep in mind while caring for their animals. As we continue to plan for the uncertainties of COVID-19, some precautions can be practised to maintain the good health of dogs.

"The most important point of all is to maintain a proper and healthy diet by ensuring that you give adequate food and water to your dog. Also, while it's almost impossible for pets to stay without playtime, hence as a responsible owner, to avoid your dog from getting sick, one can make a designated place at home or in the garden for them to play. Furthermore, when returning home from outside, always clean your dog and wash your hands, as well, before and after touching them," advised Dr Dheerendra Kumar, who runs a veterinarian clinic in New Delhi.

He added, "Also, never wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, or other products, such as hand sanitiser, counter-cleaning wipes, and other industrial or surface cleaners because using them could make your pet very sick or even kill them in some instances. Always, ask your veterinarian first, when in doubt about the health of your pet."

From keeping us safe to supporting people who are blind, deaf, or disabled, dogs do a lot for humans, and this day is an opportunity to give something back to these loyal creations of God. The day is all about paying tribute to these incredible animals who work selflessly to bring comfort and save lives.

Hence, in conclusion, to celebrate International Dog Day, take time to appreciate the love and value that dogs bring to our daily lives, and do your bit for them. (ANI)

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