Sometime around 2009, I came across an observance called National Dog Week. Founded by a man named Captain Wm. Lewis Judy in 1928, this intriguing slice of canine Americana fascinated me; there really was an actual seven day observance just to celebrate dogs and the humans that love them during the last week of September each year! This week of the dog became the platform for many of my writing projects and continues to fuel my work to this day.
Back in January 2010 I launched a blog dedicated to my efforts to promote National Dog Week and a book I was writing about its founder. I actively posted for over ten years. Today I serve on the board of the Dog Writers of America (co-founded by Will Judy in 1935) and contribute to their newsletter, Ruff Drafts.
This year National Dog Week, established in 1928, commences on September 25th (always the last full week of September). My Book, Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co. – 2014) presents the story of one man’s crusade to promote the emotional bond between dog and human, and their unique value to humankind, at a time when it wasn’t yet mainstream or widely accepted.
Today, many of us truly understand the important roles and value of dogs in our lives. In this fall’s issue of Ruff Drafts, my article At Any Given Time relays how the presence of emotional support dogs at Camp Widow in San Diego showed how the Power of the Paw is so important in the grieving and healing process.
My life has changed so much since my first blog post. During those “Dog Daze” when I was actively writing and researching for the Judy biography. During those years, I found myself attending the Pre-Westminster Dog Show in NYC (an important fund raiser for dogs), protesting a retail dog store in New Jersey (it got closed down), attending hearings for those accused of dog abuse, fostering a few pups (I kept one) and getting to know the true underdogs of dog rescue and foster who tirelessly volunteer to make a better world for our canines (they are truly amazint). When I recall so many people and events that have filled my life, I remember how Rich and I shared a love of all things canine and his gift as a true Dog Whisperer is never forgotten.
Below is an excerpt for my first blog post in January 2010. All archived posts can be viewed here: https://nationaldogweekbook.wordpress.com/2020/07/
“There are too many dog books. There are never enuf good dog books.” Captain William Judy, 1949
‘Captain William Lewis Judy was a publishing dynamo, and the ultimate dog enthusiast. For 36 years, he served as publisher of Dog World magazine. The Captain liked to reinvent words in his quirky way, enough became “enuf” and of course rough became “ruff.” In the late 1920s, he helped to establish the National Dog Week Movement.
In its heyday, NDW was quite the spectacle, with hundreds of dogs and large crowds watching in awe on the grounds of Rockefeller Plaza in New York, and elsewhere.
I unexpectedly happened upon the story of Will Judy and his mission to honor the nation’s dogs in a meaningful way. His work and life inspired me to start writing about NDW, as sadly, it has fallen out of favor, sort of like a new puppy can a few months after being received as a Christmas present. That’s unfortunate, because its message of how dogs make our lives better each and every day is an important one.
Throughout this process of writing and research, I’ve learned a lot from helpful editors, publishers, and agents who have been generous with their feedback. My friends and family, and those in the dog-industry have also been very supportive. In time, I hope to acknowledge as many as possible.
While these posts do intend to help sell a book, it also aims to educate and inform those who seek effective ways to help the dogs of the nation by sharing this story of how seven days each year bring seven more reasons to celebrate our pups! And maybe, if I do my job, dogs, and their humans can once again “Rock On at the Rock” one warm September day in the near future.’
Happy Dog Week 2023 everyone! Give the Page a Like and a Lick for your Dog.