Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Is the Real Message Behind National Puppy Day?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Is the Real Message Behind National Puppy Day?

Article excerpt

National Puppy Day is March 23, giving all dog-enthusiasts a valid excuse to fawn over cute online puppy photos.

But National Puppy Day is about more than just watching adorable puppy videos. Since it was established in 2006, National Puppy Day is designed to persuade dog owners to "adopt instead of shop."

"The tragedy of puppy mills is that they don't care about the animals more than a commodity to be sold," says the National Puppy Day website. "National Puppy Day encourages you to always consider adoption first and don't forget the importance of spaying and neutering to reduce the overpopulation of unwanted pets and unnecessary suffering."

Many prospective owners go to breeders or pet stores to find their dog because they are looking for a certain breed or age. And while not all breeding businesses operate as "puppy mills" with deplorable conditions and the sole aim of breeding as many puppies for profit as possible, National Puppy Day aims to spread awareness about how many dogs are euthanized or left to live in shelters each year in the United States.

According to the ASPCA, 3.9 million dogs enter US animal shelters each year. And of these dogs, 1.4 million dogs are adopted out the animal shelters, 1.2 million are euthanized and the remaining dogs are eventually returned to their owners.

"Maybe not a lot of people are aware that shelters and rescues are filled with puppies," Guinnevere Shuster, photographer and social media coordinator at the Humane Society of Utah, tells CNN. "Even if you're looking for a younger dog, the chances are you can find one that needs a home at a shelter or rescue."

Especially considering that dogs in the US continue to be in high demand. The Humane Society of the United States suggests in a 2015- 2016 survey that 44 percent of all US households - 54.4 million - own at least one dog. …

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