It's National Dog Day: Hug your mutt

national-dog-day.jpgSurely man's best friend deserves a holiday in honor of his devotion, unflagging loyalty, general good nature and ability to ingest pretty much anything. Luckily, Friday (Aug. 26) is National Dog Day.

The holiday is the brainchild of "pet lifestyle expert" Colleen Paige, who first celebrated the day in 2004. Since then, it's grown to six countries and is marked by celebs from Cindy Crawford to Brooke Shields.

According to the day's official website, the point is to raise awareness about dogs in need of a home and "acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort." It also honors canine heroes who work as drug sniffers, disaster relief workers and companion animals to the blind.

Paige suggests celebrating by making a donation to a local dog-related charity -- a shelter or breed rescue program. We're sure a few extra pats on the head and a nice steak wouldn't go unmarked by your own pooch, as well.

Above: Dogs hang out with the 1st Batallion 67th Armor Regiment in Afghanistan.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images