By Susi Szeremy
The journey that led me to champion National Purebred Dog Day -- a national celebration of the purpose-bred dog -- has roots all the way back to Hungary in 1944.
That's where my mother grew up with her purebred Puli (a dog whose name I no longer remember despite repeated telling of this story). It was the last gasp of World War II, and allied aircraft were bombing Budapest almost daily between 1944 and 1945. Sadly, my mother's Puli didn't survive the onslaught one day. A broken chain and bits of bloody collar were all that remained of him.
He was a casualty of a war that had nearly decimated all the Hungarian dog breeds either by bombing or starvation; many more shot or beaten to death by soldiers.
It was thirty years before my mother could pet another Puli. It was mine, a puppy that had taken me years to find. When I first introduced them to each other, my mother buried her face in the puppy's soft black curls and wept for a long time. In that moment, I understood the significance of the human-dog bond.
Today, half of the dogs owned in the United States are believed to be purebreds. They make up more than 300 distinct breeds and varieties developed in countries from all over the globe. Each dog is a bit of "history with a pulse;" each breed the legacy of the people who created it for a reason.
Purebred dogs were created to work alongside man as hunters and herders, vermin control and livestock guardians. They are service, military, and Search and Rescue dogs, and have provided inestimable companionship while protecting family and home.
That's why it was a shocking for me to discover that they had no day of recognition.
I believe all dogs should be valued, whatever their ancestry; however, National Purebred Dog Day was created to celebrate the heritage, diversity and predictability of the purpose-bred dog, and to help restore balance to the national conversation about responsible dog ownership.
The State of Colorado agreed when it recently passed a joint resolution recognizing May 1 as National Purebred Dog Day. I invite you to flood social media this May 1 with photos of your happy, sound purebred dogs. Use the hashtags #NationalPurebredDogDay and #Purebreddogs!