January weather has been less than normal but what a great opportunity to travel safely over the holidays. I have been mulling over what my blog topics should be this year. I have covered many different subjects over the last 7 1/2 years. Interesting to note that the “Hacking Cats” blog has had one of the highest hits on the great wide web! Guess we know what gets cat owners frustrated or concerned regularly.

I was looking for topics and discovered there are over 150 different pet holidays in a calendar year. I was curious to see what all those could be. January alone has 8 days designated as a pet holiday along with being labelled “Walk Your Dog month and “National Train Your Dog” month. Each special event has a website you can explore to get involved. The information is designed to help strengthen the bond between your dog and family. I have never heard a client say they regretted training their dog or going for walks with their dog. Both activities help your dogs and yourself stay healthier which improves everyones quality of life.

I will list the celebrations that are coming up in January. It was interesting to see the variety of celebrations that you can participate in this month. I was just curious about some of them so will highlight those here. Feel free to do your own research to learn more about these days in January.

  • January  2nd  – National Pet Travel Safety Day
  • January  5th   – National Bird Day
  • January  8th   – National Labrador Retriever Day
  • January 14th  – National Dress Up Your Pet Day
  • January 21st  – Squirrel Appreciation Day
  • January 22nd – National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day
  • January 24th  – Change a Pet’s Life Day
  • January 29th  – Seeing-Eye Guide Dog Birthday

Each of these has their own website giving history about the celebration. January 29th commemorates the date “The Seeing Eye” was incorporated in Nashville, TN in 1929. This organization is the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. New Jersey is the location of the current campus that includes not only administration and training centers, but also houses an adult breeding center with puppies that are kept there until 8 weeks of age. These puppies are monitored early for behavioral and physical concerns that could prevent them from being guide dogs for the blind. Not all puppies that begin the program graduate. This is one reason, of many, that it is not recommended that you purchase a puppy and have it trained. One person who did that exact thing stated, “After spending over $20,000 to train a service dog for my son we were left with a very expensive pet.” Be cautious if a trainer indicates they can train your puppy to be a service dog. It is not that easy and failure rates are high even with dogs from an organization like The Seeing Eye.

January 21st – Squirrel Appreciation Day – Never knew there was a day to appreciate squirrels. Many people and dogs get frustrated with squirrels. They are mischievous and crafty – acrobatic and entertaining all at the same time. There are 3 types of squirrels listed on this website worth noting: flying squirrels, tree squirrels, and ground squirrels. Ground squirrels include the chipmunks, groundhogs, marmots, and prairie dogs. Flying squirrels are unique in that they are nocturnal and difficult to see as they glide from tree to tree. Be sure to put out some extra corn to honor these creatures Sunday, January 21st.

National Bird Day is on January 5th. I had difficulty finding much history on this celebration but activities surrounding this day include birdwatching, studying birds, and even adoption. A bird owner must be prepared for screaming, biting, continual clean up, special dietary needs, and social interactions on a daily basis. Some birds can like parrots and Macaws can live 35-50 years. You thought a dog or cat required a long commitment.

During this long month of winter get out and celebrate one or more of these occasions. There are many species of birds that winter here in Madison County. Bundle up and head outside to see and listen for squirrel and bird activity. Dress up your pet on January 14th and post a picture on Facebook for all to see. Let’s enjoy this month as the days are getting longer and we are one day closer to spring.