National Puppy Day! Pamper your pooch

Dog lovers are celebrating "National Puppy Day" this weekend. Puppies have happy and sometimes sad stories to tell, but there's no denying the universal joy, enthusiasm, and loyalty they inspire.

Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP
A group of puppies stand in their enclosure at Lied Animal Shelter in Las Vegas where 27 puppies were taken after a fire at Gloria Lee's Prince and Princess Pet Boutique. Lee, 35, is facing charges of arson following the fire. All the puppies were rescued from the fire.

Dog lovers just celebrated National Puppy Day, but I will resist telling you about our pair of rapscallion Welsh corgis called Dodger and Dylan.

Yeah, right.

When they joined the family about 56 dog years ago, I could carry each under an arm like loaves of bread. They may have grown to a svelte 25 pounds each, but I can’t really say they’ve “grown up.” They’re still more like teenagers, exuberant (but never petulant), easily bored, enthusiastic when friends – that includes the UPS man – show up.

They may be twin brothers who conspire against their parents, but they have distinct personalities.

Dodger thinks he’s Alpha, and he’s sort of a jock. If he can’t find a tennis ball to chase, he’ll grab a pine cone and drop it at my feet. He's unusually agile and coordinated.

Dylan (described as “an old soul” by the breeder when he was four months old, and he does seem to be able to see to the depths of your being) is more the explorer. On our morning walk in the woods, he’s the first to spot a squirrel, deer, wild turkey, or fresh pile of bear scat.

But enough about me. Any number of Monitor colleagues could be writing this. Peter Grier has beagles. Gail Russell Chaddock has bassets.

But what you really want are cute photos and videos. Google has more than 70 million results for “cute puppies.” Here are a few to get you started:

This one describes itself as “Cuteness Overload: Cutest Puppies Ever Seen on Video.”

Then there’s “Daily Puppy” with a “live puppy feed” – Oo…there’s Teddy the Welsh corgi! – and advice on adopting or buying a puppy, training, clothing, dog doors, and pet meds.

And here's a puppy "nursery cam."

Some puppies are doing very good work, although they may not realize it. Like the puppies being trained by prison inmates as guide dogs for the blind, or those trained to become therapy dogs for returning war veterans with PTSD. (Read “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him” by former US Army Captain Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, severely wounded in Iraq.)

Some puppies have frightening stories to tell too. Like the 27 who were rescued last month from a fire in Las Vegas. The owner of Gloria Lee's Prince and Princess Pet Boutique has been charged with arson. Those raised to fight other dogs, or the one’s whose lives started in notorious “puppy mills.”

But as the world turns ominously today, puppies can be an inspiration, joyful, enthusiastic, and loyal.

And at the risk of upsetting your line of thinking these days on the crisis in Ukraine and the Russian leader who ordered the military invasion of Crimea, I will just say that even Vladimir Putin – the former KGB colonel – gets all warm and squishy in the presence of his puppy.

See photos of Mr. Putin and his Karakachan (Bulgarian shepherd) “Buffy” here

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