by: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Volunteer and Board Member

The “Dog Days” of summer are here, and on Monday, August 1, DOGust began.

In 2008, the world’s largest no-kill shelter and adoption organization, North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, New York, chose August 1, “DOGust,” as the universal birthday for all shelter dogs who have no records.

Shelter workers can estimate a dog’s age, but they cannot precisely determine the day a dog was born.  Because no one at North Shore Animal League wanted to see a sweet dog without a birthday, DOGust began.

It is now considered a universal birthday for all shelter dogs and a way shelters across America come together to call attention to all the dogs in shelters waiting for their forever homes.

According to the Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick and mortar animal shelters in the United States.

The start of animal rescue in the U.S is credited to Henry Burgh.  He was mocked and ridiculed by many who were indifferent to the plight of dogs, but the concept did not end.  The ASPCA was born and continued to grow.

In 1869, the women’s branch of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, led by Caroline Earl White, opened the nation’s first animal shelter outside of Philadelphia.  Now over 150 years later, it still stands in the form of the Women’s Animal Center.

One of the largest challenges facing animal welfare organizations today is the sheer number of animals in need of assistance.

In 2019 the ASPCA estimated that about 6.3 million companion animals (3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats)  arrive at community shelters every year.  Approximately 4.1 million ( 2 million dogs and 2.1 million cats) of that number are adopted.  Sadly, approximately 920,000 animals are euthanized (390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats).

Although animals enter shelters for a variety of reasons, the majority of shelter populations are comprised of strays, rescues and surrenders. The live release rate of these animals last year at Ark-Valley Humane Society was 97% which shows the strength of our shelter and community in caring for animals.

This summer, there has been a huge surge in the number of animals coming into all shelters in the US.  The number of animals that the Ark-Valley Humane Society is serving this year is rising too.

No one knows if this number will ease up or if it is our “new normal.”  We do know that animals are in need and shelters, including our own AVHS, are doing all they can to keep animals happy, healthy and fulfilled.

You can bring joy into your life by being part of this DOGust celebration at AVHS.  You can adopt, foster, volunteer or donate.

This August whatever you donate will be doubled, as there is a matching campaign going on throughout the entire month.  Go to and find the August Matching Campaign. Click donate and make DOGust sizzle for our AVHS dogs and cats.


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