Dog birthday

"How old is your dog?" 

Seems like a simple question, right? But if your rescue dog joined your family as an adult, it can actually be quite tricky. Maybe you know your pup is about 5 years old, but don’t know his exact birthday (or even the month), or maybe you just know you’ve brought a senior dog into your home and whether she’s 8 or 10 is anybody’s guess.

Aside from the fact that knowing your pet’s approximate age can help you be aware of certain age-related health issues, it doesn’t really matter… except that it makes it challenging to throw your rescue dog a birthday party. And hey, to many of us, that’s important!

Happily, North Shore Animal League came up with a solution by declaring Aug. 1 to be DOGust the 1st, a universal birthday for all shelter and rescue dogs. And, that got us thinking that it would be particularly, well, pawsome (sorry, had to!) if our DOGust celebrations not only let us make a fuss over our own dogs, but also made a difference in a bigger way. Here are a few fun ways to do just that!

Throw a Party Benefiting the Paws Cause

Whether you host a party at your home or invite your friends (human and canine alike) to join you at the dog park, make it special with cake for the people and treats for the pups. Ask guests to bring an item to donate to your local shelter or rescue (or the organization from which you adopted your own rescue dog).  

Step it up: Consider contacting the organization ahead of time to see if it has a wishlist or any particular needs. Some groups have contacts that supply them with food and beds, but they might really need sturdy leashes or plush puppy toys. Since you’re giving, you might as well give them things that will be truly helpful!

Take Some Pictures and Share Your Happy Tale

Everyone loves a happy ending, and that holds especially true for the employees and volunteers who helped place your pup with your family. Hire a dog-friendly photographer, grab a friend with a good eye for photography or just set aside an hour to go somewhere beautiful with your dog and take some great pictures yourself, then send those — along with a paragraph or two talking about your dog’s happily ever after — to the rescue where you adopted your dog.

Step it up: These stories aren’t just a boost to the people at the organization, but they can also provide some great publicity via social media. If the organization is fairly social media savvy, you can probably just send your pictures and story over to them with your consent to share. If you have some social media skills, though, you can also offer to handle sharing it for them on their various channels, walk someone there through how to do it themselves or share publicly on your own channels and tag the shelter, providing instructions on how to share what you’ve posted.

Provide Some Therapy

If you and your rescue dog are therapy certified, DOGust the 1st would be a great day to use that skill by visiting a hospital, nursing home or other location you’re cleared to visit. It’s a win-win because you’ll feel good about helping other people, your dog will be happy about spending time with you and overall, it’s beneficial to the pet rescue community when people see you and your pup setting such a stellar example of the great work a shelter dog can do.

Step it up: Chances are pretty good that you know a few other people who also have therapy dogs, so why not round up the gang to make an even bigger impact in celebration of DOGust? Stopping off at a dog-friendly cafe for a celebratory snack afterward can make the day even more fun.

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