National Dog Day is recognized on Aug. 26 and celebrates all breeds, mixed and pure, and aspires to bring public attention to the number of dogs that need to be rescued. It honors family dogs and dogs that work to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort.

National Dog Day was established in 2004 by Colleen Paige who chose Aug. 26 because that was the day her family brought home their first dog.

That brings me back to the day I got my first dog. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and I really had never had a desire for a dog. It was my kids idea and of course, they were going to take care of it. We all know how that goes, right? Meeko was a feisty little Pomeranian Terrier with crooked teeth and wiry hair. He had one health problem after another and cost me a fortune. But I loved that little guy. He was one of the most unexpected joys of my life.

Not only can a dog bring you joy, there are proven health benefits of having a dog. Research shows they benefit children and seniors the most. A few of the top health benefits are:

• They encourage you to move, those treks along sidewalks, trails and paths add up. Many dog owners will say walking the dog doesn’t feel like exercise, rather they are fulfilling a responsibility to the dog.

• You feel less alone, dogs can be there for you even when people can’t. They offer unconditional love, emotional support, and constant cuddles. Owning a dog can lead to increased interaction between people, which leads to developing friendships and finding social support networks.

• Dog owners are happier! Being a dog parent can lower stress, depression, provide a sense of calmness and even relax tense muscles. They teach us patience, compassion, generosity, and kindness. These are all factors that definitely contribute to happiness.

Dogs have served as man’s best friend for thousands of years. They are always there for you, in good times and in bad. Treat your canine buddy to a long walk and some extra attention on National Dog Day. I’ll be fondly remembering my little buddy, Meeko.

The Friendship Café is open for indoor dining, takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. We are open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Main entree, $7. Comes with a vegetable or fruit, bread and dessert.

Monday, Aug. 30: Chicken Noodle Casserole.

Tuesday, Aug. 31: Stuffed Green Peppers.

Wednesday, Sept. 1: Ravioli Casserole.

Thursday, Sept. 2: Baked Chicken w/Potatoes.

Soup and Sandwich (Ham or Turkey) w/fruit, $6.50. Turkey or Ham Wrap w/cup of soup or salad, $8. Chef Salad or Taco Salad w/bread, $8.

All applicable taxes are included in prices. For payment we take cash or check.

Senior meal delivery program: If you are a senior citizen located in Isanti County and interested in delivery, call us at (763-689-6555) the night before or the morning of, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Please state your name, phone number and address.

Package deal: You can order fresh, hot meals to be delivered to your home Monday thru Thursday for $27.50/week. This includes an extra bag on Thursday containing soup, bread, and fruit for your weekend meal. Please call by Sunday and leave a message, including your name, phone number, and address, to place your meal package order for the following week (763-689-6555).

The Senior Activity Center is located at 140 Buchanan St. N., Suite 164, Cambridge, 763-689-6555.

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