William Lewis Judy was instrumental in establishing the DWAA, an organization that paved the way for those who made a living writing about man’s best friend. The DWAA gave the profession of dog-writing the respect it deserved. He also published Dog World Magazine for four incredible decades and established the venerable National Dog Week Movement.
A consummate dog-enthusiast and expert, Judy wrote extensively on all topics related to dogs; breeding, feeding, the building of kennels, dog showing, dog training, canine anatomy, raising puppies, and dog law. He also espoused their potential in the fields of police work and the military.
But I think his greatest legacy was the way in which he enlightened a new generation about the spiritual and emotional bond that existed between humans and dogs. Long before it was “fashionable” or widely acknowledged; Judy understood the potential for dogs as healers. He encouraged VA hospitals to include dogs in helping veterans to recover and promoted them as guide dogs for the blind. Judy also understood that the caring for dogs developed strong character traits in young people.
In 1928, Judy launched the first observance of National Dog Week to honor all the ways dogs served humans and to promote responsible dog ownership at a time when the American dog population was on the rise. As a decorated WWI veteran, Judy witnessed first-hand how valuable dogs were in military service and also wanted to acknowledge their contributions.
National Dog Week continues to be observed the last week of each September, and those who write about dogs are encouraged to give it, and its founder, the credit the occasion deserves.
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