October days for the dogs

Pups enjoy pool play time at the Castaic Animal Care Center. Courtesy

Each and every day, our pups shower us with unconditional love and attention, truly embodying the phrase “man’s best friend,” as they wag their tails each and every time we walk in the door.

Dogs give us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. In fact, a recent study shows that dogs are among a small group of animals who show voluntary unselfish kindness towards others without any reward — a fact that dog-lovers have known all along.

So, as National Make a Dog’s Day approaches on Oct. 22, make sure to return some of that love and affection.

The holiday provides an opportunity to give all dogs the best day of their lives, and Canyon Country resident Theresa Tomas is taking that to heart this year. She and her four rescue pups are headed to their favorite place: dog beach.

“I don’t know how, but all four of my dogs — even the little terrier — are obsessed with water,” Tomas said. “They love, love, love playing around in the waves or swimming for sticks.”

As often as she can, Tomas takes her pups to the beach, lake, river or really just any body of water, and Friday’s National Make a Dog’s Day is no exception.

“It’s getting chillier so it’ll probably be one of our last beach days of the season, and it may even be too chilly already, but they deserve it,” Tomas added.

You still have time to plan something special for your own dog or even let other dogs know they’re special — just because.

It’s the simple things

Throw the ball already! Most times, pups just want to play, so grab their favorite ball or chew toy and spend some quality time tossing it around with them.

Or you can take them for an extra-long walk, maybe even to play with some other pups at the dog park.

Here in the Santa Clarita Valley, there are a number of dog parks scattered about with separate areas for big and small dogs.

Treat them to something special

What’s your pup been craving: A special treat? A new chew toy? A big old bone? Maybe even a costume for the upcoming Halloween holiday?

Get out to the store and get your dog something special. Even better, take them with you and let them decide.

Adopt, don’t shop

National Make a Dog’s Day also encourages visits to the shelter and serves as a reminder to animal lovers everywhere to adopt instead of shop for a new pet.

October is also Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, making it the perfect time to add a new furry friend to your family.

Of the approximately 6.3 million animals that enter shelters nationwide every year, an estimated 920,000 are euthanized (390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats), according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

While many animals were adopted through the pandemic, the Castaic Animal Care Center still has dozens of dogs waiting to find their forever home.

If you’re not quite ready to adopt a pup of your own, there are plenty of ways to volunteer with local shelters and rescues, or even donate much-needed supplies, like dog food and blankets.

The Castaic Animal Care Center is located at 31044 North Charlie Canyon Road in Castaic and can be visited by appointment only due to COVID-19. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit animalcare.lacounty.gov or call 661-257-3191.

Take care of your pup’s health

When’s the last time you took your dog to the vet? This one may not immediately make your dog’s day, but it can certainly make your dog’s days longer.

While most pups would probably cringe, regular vet checkups are vital to your dog’s long-lasting health.

Making sure Fido’s healthy and his vaccinations are up to date can help to ensure he’s here to celebrate many more Make a Dog’s Days to come.

If your dog could talk, I’m sure they’d thank you for loving them as much as they love you.

INFOBOX — Fun facts about dogs, from the American Kennel Club

  • Dogs are not colorblind — they can see blue and yellow.
  • Petting a dog is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure.
  • A dog’s noseprint is as distinctive as a human fingerprint — no two are identical.
  • Those born under the sign of the dog in Chinese astrology are said to be loyal and true.
  • Forty-five percent of U.S. dogs sleep in their owner’s bed.
  • A dog’s nose has as many as 300 million receptors, whereas a human nose has about 5 million.
  • Yawning is contagious — even for dogs. Research shows that the sound of a human yawn can trigger one from your dog, and it’s four times as likely to happen when it’s the yawn of a person they know.
  • Dogs curl up in a ball when sleeping to protect their organs — a holdover from their days in the wild when they were vulnerable to predator attacks.
  • There are more than 75 million pet dogs in the U.S. — more than in any other country.

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