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There’s a day or week for everything – Love Day is just over and Ballroom Dancing Week is coming in September – but dog lovers across the country want everyone to know that a particularly important day is coming. Monday, February 22nd, is National Walking Your Dog Day.
The day’s origins are a little hazy – pretty much unknown, actually – but some suggest it could have its roots in the beginning of the dog walking profession, which presumably began in New York City in the early 1960s as one of The Enterprising Man named Jim Buck, began asking for money to walk the busy New Yorkers’ dogs.
Regardless, the day now falls on February 22 each year, and the organizers of the day want to emphasize the importance of being both human and animal – and also treating man’s best friend well.
The day raising awareness of the importance of your dog’s regular walking was undoubtedly much more necessary before March 2020 when people started walking their dogs 40 or 50 times a day because there was nothing else to do. (Pandemics are bad for people, but they’re great for dogs – just ask the staff at the Guilford County Animal Shelter, which is temporarily running out of animals in 2020 to be adopted by humans.)
The demand for dogs to run and love has reached such a high level in the pandemic that Inside Edition aired a special report on the rise of napping in the US on Tuesday, February 16, including the story of a couple who were at Walking deprived of their dog at gunpoint. In this case, two men – one with a gun – jumped out of the car and grabbed the pooch. (The dog was recovered and the thieves were not caught.)
Proponents of National Walking Your Dog Day encourage people to choose a new trail, route, or trail for their dog and give him a special treat on Monday.
Veterinarian Stephanie Wenban, co-founder of Front of the Pack – a dog supplements company – said regular exercise is important for both you and your dogs.
“An estimated 66 percent of dogs across America today have poor joint health,” she said in a press release promoting the day. “Our dogs lead longer and more adventurous lives than ever before, so it’s important to consider joint health from a young age,” Wenban said. “There are preventive measures that can help keep your dog active and mobile throughout their life.”
She encourages people to walk their dogs early on and vary their exercises by doing something other than throwing the dog a ball to retrieve. She also stresses that owners must monitor the dog’s weight, take it to the vet regularly, and make sure the animal is getting proper nutrition and any necessary supplements.