Happy National Puppy Day! Yes, it's a day to celebrate the preciousness of puppies, but more importantly it is to bring awareness to the cruel practice of puppy mills and to encourage people to adopt--rather than shop--for your fuzzy bundle of joy.

In the midst of the madness that life can sometimes entail, it's extra important to take note of the things that bring joy to our lives. We need all the joy we can get. When we take an inventory of the people, places, and things that add so much goodness and light to our lives, for many of us, puppies fall near, or at the very top, of that list.

Although I don't have the pleasure of being a puppy/dog guardian at this point in my life, my intense love for these creatures that seem to be nothing but a manifestation of 100% pure love has not changed.

I confess it's hard for me to fully accept that we somehow get to share our lives with dogs. They are the epitome of all that is good in the world. And PUPPIES? Seriously, is there anything more precious?

Honestly, I wonder sometimes if we even deserve them. ;) They remind us every day to live in the moment, to be grateful, and to laugh, play, and be silly.

On top of that, research has shown that dog owners (who were once puppies and may still be at heart) may even live longer since dogs seem to have such a healing effect on our heart and somehow manage to bring down our stress levels even on the darkest days.

If you've been considering adopting a puppy, I want to encourage you to connect with the SPCA of East TexasPets Fur People, the Longview Animal Care & Adoption Center, or any of these incredible East Texas facilities that work diligently every day to find homes for the best friends we'll ever have. If you can--adopt, don't shop.

I look forward to adopting a puppy again soon. Ever since I lost my beloved Wolfie a few years ago, there's been a notable absence.

In fact, every puppy or dog I've ever had the joy of spending time with has made an impression on my heart. Add some sunshine to your days, and consider adopting--today.

KEEP LOOKING: See What 50 of America's Most 'Pupular' Dog Breeds Look Like as Puppies

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