Sunday, July 31 is Mutts’ Day, and I encourage anyone who is ready to give an animal a lifetime of love to adopt a true American original — a mixed-breed dog or cat — from their local animal shelter.

Dogs and cats of diverse heritage are every bit as loving and loyal as animals who have “papers,” but they are significantly less likely to suffer from many of the serious health problems that plague purebreds, such as crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems, epilepsy and more.

Adopting a mutt from a shelter also saves a life and avoids supporting the cruel “pet” industry, which churns out litter after litter of purebred puppies and kittens while millions of equally deserving animals must be euthanized in shelters for lack of good homes.

If you must have a purebred, you can still save a life by searching Petfinder.com for specific breeds in shelters near you or adopting from a breed rescue group.

If you already have a lucky mutt, why not celebrate Mutts’ Day by throwing him or her a special celebration? Check out “Let’s Have a Dog Party!” by Ingrid E. Newkirk (available at www.PETACatalog.com) for inspiration and visit www.PETA.org to learn more.

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