It is National Dog Day, a day for celebrating our canine companions.
National Dog Day falls on Aug. 26 and serves as a time to consider the work of those rescue and shelter organizations — including our own, the Animal Care Shelter for Kent County — that help find forever homes for animals in need.
I grew up with dogs. My wife and I have owned three dogs — all important members of our family. All three also came from shelters or foster homes.
We adopted Tuck when he was a puppy. He was a shaggy black dog that provided friends and acquaintances endless fun just trying to guess his breed. A DNA test claimed there was greyhound in his blood — imagine that for a dog with the body and ears of a golden retriever, but with a black coat and a face of, well, not a retriever, not even of the Labrador variety.
Between the shape of his head and the longer hair around his ears, I joked when we met him that he resembled President Martin Van Buren.
And Tuck had the most soulful eyes.
Tuck went everywhere with us. He loved going on a good hike. When he was thirsty, he was not content to stand at the edge of the water and lap it up. No, he had to fully wallow in the creek or the river or the pond or the mud puddle. Never had I needed to bathe a dog so much. But all that long hair would get matted with stinky swamp mud.
Next in our family came little Piper. Piper was a foster-fail. She had a bad case of heartworms while at a shelter on the Mid-Shore. The shelter needed to place her in a foster home that would provide a calming environment while she was under treatment.
Listed as an Australian cattle dog, we knew something was amiss the minute we met her. She looked at us and smiled. And then that smile grew and grew and grew into that big pit-bull grin. Sure enough, she came home with us. Sure enough, after her treatment time finished, she stayed with us. Piper was the sweetest dog.
Tuck had a new best friend for life, and so did we.
Those two loved to romp and play together and then curl up to sleep — the shaggy retriever-something-or-other and the little yellow pit mix with the pointy ears.
We probably have hundreds, if not thousands of photos of those two. One of my favorites is Tuck and Piper running full speed off leash at the Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area. All four of Piper’s little feet are off the ground as the two of them are flying down one of the dirt lanes.
While Tuck was a natural swimmer, Piper needed some lessons. Her first attempt had her kicking her hind legs so hard she nearly fell over backward in the water. I had to wade in and pull her out. But once she got it, you could not keep her out of the water.
Sadly, both Tuck and Piper passed away in recent years. And that’s all I can say about that.
I wasn’t sure this year if I was ready for another dog to join our family.
But then we found Daisy.
She was under the care of a foster organization and living near Taneytown. We went to meet her. Immediately we knew she would be riding home with us.
For starters, she bears a resemblance to Tuck, the same face and soulful eyes, a similar coat, though brindle rather than jet black.
Daisy is just a joyful dog and we couldn’t be happier to have her in our family.
All of our pets — there’s a cat named Moo, as well — have come from shelter and rescue organizations.
I encourage you on this National Dog Day to show your support for these organizations and also see if maybe, there might be a canine companion in need of a forever home that you could provide.
Daniel Divilio is the editor of the Kent County News. Email him at ddivilio@