Back in 2003, author and animal rights activist Colleen Paige noticed something peculiar when she was browsing a book full of 9/11 photographs. There were photos of fire fighters, police officers and volunteers sifting through the rubble, and none of any service dogs, Paige said in an interview with the Daily Dot.
“I knew that there were over 300 search and rescue dogs from the continental United States and Canada and other countries there at Ground Zero,” Paige said in an interview with the Daily Dot. “There was not one photo of a rescue dog. I ended up in tears. I could not believe it. I was shocked.”
Her shock inspired Paige to declare Aug. 25 National Dog Day as a way to recognize these canines who help keep America safe and to encourage people to adopt from animal shelters.
Since 2004, the National Dog Day holiday she founded along with her volunteer organization, the Animal Miracle Network have helped get more than 100,000 dogs adopted, she said.
“We just don’t realize on a daily basis how much better our lives are and how much freedom we have because of the things that these amazing dogs do, selflessly, with unconditional love,” Paige said.
The holiday has been a top trending topic and has collected more than 11,000 mentions in the last 24 hours, according to statistics from Topsy, a social media search engine.
It was also a huge hit with everyday dog owners (@erinedwards92, @napoli_blu, and @cangiolillo) and organizations like Thinkgeek, White Pages, and The Wadworth Atheneum Museum in Connecticut.
The White Pages, in particular, compiled a list of the number of people who share common names with dogs and cities with the most pet services. At the top was Lucy with 86,983 people and Atlanta.
“We’re absolutely astounded,” Paige said. “The fact that it is trending worldwide, I couldn’t even have hoped for the United States let along worldwide. I’m ecstatic.”
Image from National Dog Day. thi sis the "2011 National Dog Day 'Little Dog Carrier.'