March 23rd is National Puppy Day, a day to celebrate puppies and focus on adopting these lovable creatures! Even on social media, #NationalPuppyDay is making the rounds as people share their favorite videos and pictures of their “fur-babies”.

Animal Behaviorist, Colleen Paige, is the Founder of National Dog Day, not to mention Puppy Day, Cat Day, and Wildlife Day among others. Adoption has saved millions of unwanted pets since the inception of National Puppy Day approximately 10 years ago. The goal is to save as many pets as possible from shelters instead of pet stores, where most of the pets come from puppy mills.  And while Paige may have created this day, such celebrity animal activists as Hilary Swank, Demi Lovato, Jimmy Fallon, and Taylor Swift have promoted it.

There are many benefits to adopting a pet.  Not only are puppies loyal companions, but they encourage social interaction and can even lower stress levels and provide mental stimulation.  Pets help those with dementia stay busy and engaged in activities. Pets can also make your elderly loved one feel needed, which makes them feel better about themselves and gives them a sense of self-worth.

In addition, pets have even been known to lower levels of anxiety, confusion, and agitation; and they are especially important with patients dealing with Sundowner’s Syndrome, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  Oh, and let’s not forget the exercise you get when you have to walk your dog.  Cardiovascular exercise of any kind is essential in lowering blood pressure and increasing your heart rate, thus fighting symptoms of heart disease.

So, take the time to find a fur companion and give them the forever home they need and deserve. Trust me…it’ll be worth it.