August marks birthday festivities for shelter dogs

August marks birthday festivities for shelter dogs
North Shore Animal League America celebrated their dogs' birthday at the start of the month. Dog-friendly cupcakes were provided. (Photo by Samuele Petruccelli)

For rescue dogs, August 1st isn’t just the start of a new month.

It also marked DOGust 1st, the universal birthday for all shelter canines at the North Shore Animal League America rescue center in Port Washington. Man’s best friend got to celebrate by spending time prancing around the nearby dog park with volunteers and local press.

Since the actual dates of birth for most rescued dogs are unknown, in 2008 North Shore Animal League America marked the day of celebration. This year, festivities included dogs (briefly) wearing birthday hats, cooling off in a kiddie pool and, of course, dog-friendly cupcakes.

While the dogs sprinted across the park, Jamie Malone, kennel manager at North Shore Animal League America, translated their joy into English.

“They get a little bit more spotlight and attention,” Malone said. “It’s definitely a time you can see them very happy. You could see that they’re enjoying themselves.”

Humans could do more than just celebrate. The festivities also raise awareness for giving gifts like chew toys, purchased through the organization’s AmazonSmile Charity Wish List.

“The wish list is a huge impact for their quality of life,” said Courtney Sullivan, pet behavior manager. “It really prevents undesirable behaviors if they have what they need to play with, chew on, sniff, whatever it is, that enrichment keeps flowing, you don’t get any of those behaviors that you don’t want.”

North Shore Animal League America’s reach spans across the country. But based in Port Washington, the organization has both an adoption and medical center, which, according to some, is evident of a higher level of care for the animals.

“A pet store is going to ask one question: does your check clear?” said Kathleen Lynn, director of communications. “We’re going to make sure that it’s a fit.”

Another argument offered for adopting from the organization is that because the organization works nationwide, employees can bring dogs from maximum capacity shelters across the country.

“When they come to us, they’re coming to save a life,” Sullivan said. “But they’re not just saving that one life, they’re opening up that cage for a second life to be saved.”

Additionally, staff are trained in matching eligible canines with the person of best fit, considering level of exercise, living space and work schedule.

“A lot of people, they’re staying home now, a lot of people are working remotely indefinitely,” Malone said. “So, they want that company at home.”

That extra company, for a dog that’s been adopted after living in a shelter, could mean a great deal.

“That’s the great thing about animals,” Malone said. “With everything that is going on in the world, they’re a wonderful distraction and you’re their world.”

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