Verona and Cedar Grove dog owners will give a little bit more TLC to their pets on Sunday as the nation celebrates National Dog Day.
Whether it’s a walk in the park or an extra treat, people will be showing their canine friends they care just a bit more that day.
“I think it's a cool idea,” said Lauren Gaita of Hoboken, who took her 4-year old Cockapoo, Ferris, for a walk in Verona Park. “I always bake him a cake with natural ingredients from a recipe I found online. Maybe I will give him a few extra treats on Sunday.”
Animal advocate Colleen Paige is credited with creating National Dog Day tomorrow. The holiday should not be confused with National Mutt Day (Dec. 2), National Puppy Day (March 23) or National Pet Day (April 11), each of the 19 national and international pet days founded by Paige are all designed with one thing in mind: to draw attention to the need for pet rescue.
Paige, author, pet behaviorist and self proclaimed "pet celebrity lifestyle expert" founded the Animal Miracle Foundation and Network (AMFN), a nonprofit Christian faith based charity, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Since 2004 Paige says National Dog Day has rescued 100,000 dogs and has now spread its efforts worldwide.
"We will never meet a human who will love us without condition, without expectation, without someone, at some point, disappointing us, breaking our heart..." Paige said, "Dogs will never do this to us. They are steadfast.... and short, fat, tall, skinny, any race, any religion, there is no discrimination - we are perfect in their eyes. They deserve so much more than they get."
Paige dubbed the holiday a K-9 Fourth of July and asks pet lovers to celebrate by adopting a shelter dog, helping an ill or elderly neighbor by walking their dog, or with a $5 donation to a local shelter. But that's just three of National Dog Day's 50 Ways to Celebrate.
Locally, , located at 399 Pompton Ave. in Verona provides pet adoptions every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I think the awareness is great,” said Jennifer Tonko, Pharmacy Technician at the . “There are so many animals in shelters that need homes. These rescue groups are wonderful and I highly recommend looking into them.”
One of the organizations attending Petco's pet adoptions is Pound Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), an organization that has been serving Verona and Cedar Grove for the past 35 years.
“There is always an overpopulation due to overbreeding of pets and they are often discarded when the owners have a financial situation,” said PAWS Director Carole Michales. “We make sure that a lot of great animals, that would have been destroyed at shelters, get good homes.”
Dee Latella, Receptionist at Marsh Animal Hospital in Verona recognizes the importance of animal rescue. Latella's Pitbull, Grizzle, was used as a bait dog for fights before she rescued him, she said.
“I recommend adopting because some of the mutts are very sturdy, loyal dogs and they need homes too,” she added.
Post photos of your pooch to the to show 'em some love. Also, tell us in the comment section below how you are celebrating National Dog Day.