On April 23, the U.S. will celebrate its fifth annual National Lost Dog Awareness Day (NLDAD).  This canine-focused awareness day was created by Lost Dogs of America to bring attention to the multitude of dogs that go missing from their homes, each and every day, while providing resources and hope to reunite them.

This day and these efforts to reunite lost pets with their owners is a tribute to the human-animal bond.

In the world of animal advocacy, adoption efforts of “homeless” dogs in shelters and rescues is a major focus.  National Lost Dog Awareness Day places a new focus on lost pets and reminds the public that “Not All Stray Dogs Are Homeless.”

An estimated 40 to 60 percent of “stray” animals in shelters are actually lost pets who really don’t need a new home. They just need some help to get back home.

Increased awareness of lost pets helps reduce stress on owners through hope and resources, and works towards reducing intake and shelter deaths at shelters and animal control facilities

The tenacious efforts of the combined Lost Dogs of America states’ volunteers, along with over 500,000 fans, have helped reunited over 100,000 dogs with their families since 2011. All services provided by Lost Dogs of America state organizations are free.

NDLAD was created by Susan Taney, Kathy Pobloskie and Marilyn Knapp Litt – directors of Lost Dogs Illinois, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Dogs of Texas respectively.

National Lost Dog Awareness Day was created to give hope to the families still looking for their dogs and remind the public that not all stray dogs are homeless.

Taney offered a recent success story in which a pit bull terrier named Lennox went missing.

Lennox’s owner used the Helping Lost Pets/Lost Dogs Illinois flyer to get the message out about Lennox. Every day she got a sighting. With that information, she was able to pinpoint where her lost pup was staying and she was able to follow his paw prints in the mud.

The owner left an article of her clothing and food out for Lennox. Soon, Lennox recognized his owner and came running, Taney said.

“We never gave up, and neither did Lennox’s owner,” Taney said. “Together, and with the help of our social media following, he was successfully reunited with his family.”

“Never doubt a dog’s ability to survive.”