Attention dog lovers: If you ever needed an excuse to shower your pup with love and appreciation, you've found it.
Aug. 26, otherwise known as National Dog Day, is the day animal advocate Colleen Paige has designated for honoring all those dogs who bring in the paper, and all those dogs who are neglected.
Not to be confused with National Mutt Day (Dec. 2), National Puppy Day (March 23) or National Pet Day (April 11), each of the 19 national and international pet days founded by Paige are all designed with one thing in mind: to draw attention to the need for pet rescue.
Paige dubbed the holiday a K-9 Fourth of July and asks pet lovers to celebrate by adopting a shelter dog, helping an ill or elderly neighbor by walking their dog, or with a $5 donation to a local shelter. But that's just three of National Dog Day's 50 Ways to Celebrate.
If you're not quite ready to adopt, fill out an application to volunteer at Greenbelt's animal shelter or stop by Best Friend's Pet Care, which has locations in Gaithersburg and Rockville, to grab a free ice cream for your dog on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Paige, author, pet behaviorist and self proclaimed "pet celebrity lifestyle expert" founded the Animal Miracle Foundation and Network (AMFN), a nonprofit Christian faith based charity, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Since 2004 Paige says that National Dog Day has rescued 100,000 dogs and has now spread its efforts worldwide.
"We will never meet a human who will love us without condition, without expectation, without someone, at some point, disappointing us, breaking our heart..." Paige said, "Dogs will never do this to us. They are steadfast.... and short, fat, tall, skinny, any race, any religion, there is no discrimination - we are perfect in their eyes. They deserve so much more than they get."
National Dog Day will also receive some political attention, The Hill reports, when Dogs Against Romney holds a rally in Tampa, FL, on Sunday -- the day before the Republican National Convention begins.
The group is committed to spreading the message that when Mitt Romney strapped his dog in a crate to the roof of his car for a 12-hour drive, it constituted animal abuse.
Closer to home, local Takoma Park dogs took a stand for animal rights on Independence Day, when they walked with their human companions in the parade sporting signs and t-shirts that read "Love Your Dog."
SHARE! Post photos of your pooch to the gallery above to show 'em some love. Also, tell us in the comment section below how you are celebrating National Dog Day.