Mutts are so special that National Mutt Day is celebrated on July 31st AND on December 2nd, every year. Twice the celebration means twice the opportunity to make a difference in the day or the life of these special canines.
Celebrating diversity can take many forms. We celebrate human diversity when we include a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities and groups, races, religious beliefs, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities in our celebration.
We can also celebrate biological diversity when we explore and protect the variability of living organisms across ecosystems as well as the ecological complexities of which they are a part.
Twice a year, the nation celebrates a particularly special form of diversity – Mutts.
It turns out, 80% of dogs in shelters are mixed breed dogs. So, in 2005 Colleen Paige, a celebrity pet expert and animal welfare advocate, founded #NationalMuttDay to create awareness and support for mixed breed dogs.
Every day there are millions of loving, healthy, mutts waiting for forever homes in shelters across the country. Sadly, many of them are passed over for dogs that have more recognizable features. Purebred dogs, or those who resemble one particular breed, are adopted more than mixed breed dogs because of our natural fear of the unknown.
Purebred dogs have reliable, identifiable characteristics. Some are known for their easy-going nature and family-friendly characteristics. Others are perfect canine-companions for hunting, sporting, and outdoor excursions. But mixed breed dogs have plenty in the pro column too.
The Mixed Breed ‘Pro’ Column
For one thing, mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier and live longer than purebreds. That’s partly because they don’t carry as many genetic weaknesses that breeding has built into many breeds.
Mixed breed dogs tend to be better behaved than purebred dogs. They lack the genetic weight on personality markers to be one way or the other. This blend of characteristics often means they are many things: smart, protective, docile, and adaptive.
Mutts can perform the same jobs we often associate with certain breeds. For example, bomb and drug sniffing are often associated with shepherds. Search and Rescue breeds are often shepherds, labs, hounds, and collies. And service dogs tend to be labs or collies. But mixed breeds can be tested and trained for the same jobs.
Ways to Celebrate National Mutt Day
- We can open our home to a mixed breed dog from our local no-kill shelter. A loving heart and a healthy, happy home are a sanctuary to a mixed breed who might otherwise stay caged for months or even years.
- We can share this article across our personal social media platforms. Even if we are busy on National Mutt Day, sharing the day and its importance will help educate and inspire others to celebrate.
- Shelters often need volunteers. We can read to lonely strays. We might walk and play with pups who could use a break from the concrete and fencing. Asking the local shelter how we can help is the first step.
- Sharing is caring. We might share the story and picture of a mixed breed dog that is up for adoption. Every pup has a story, and even those who are a mystery to us can be a perfect fit for the right family. The only way they’ll be found is if we take a great picture and help get the word out.
- Crafting is fun and productive. We can craft some special beds, blankets, toys, or other treats for dogs at the local shelter and know that the comfort will be shared among all pups, mixed and purebred. For crafty ideas, check out one of our articles about Crafting For Local Shelters.
- Donate. A little cash from the sofa cushions can help. Or shop for swag that gives back. Every dollar counts and as little as $5 can feed a shelter dog. Or, there are many companies selling products with a percent reserved for a shelter. Food donations are often a welcome sight, too. We just need to call ahead to see what is needed.
National Mutt Day is a way to embrace the diversity of mixed breed dogs, and there are tons of ways to observe this important day, even if adoption isn’t in the cards. Afterall, every dog has his day, and now we can make that day a very special one.
Did you adopt a mutt that surprised you or changed your life for the better? Share your mutt adoption story with us! Leave a comment or share your fur-family story on social.