Celebrate the first day of spring and National Puppy Day this week

Friday, March 22, is "National Puppy Day." Labrador retriever puppies, like these, remain the most popular breed of dog in the United States. Getty Images / Special to The Forum
Friday, March 22, is "National Puppy Day." Labrador retriever puppies, like these, remain the most popular breed of dog in the United States. Getty Images / Special to The ForumGetty Images / Special to The Forum

Mark your calendar for this week's out-of-the-ordinary holidays.

Wednesday is a day of celebration for those of us sick of winter. March 20 is the start of spring. Don't let the snow, ice and slop fool you — warmer days are on the way. (Cross your fingers.)

If the start of spring isn't enough to put a smile on your face, consider this: Friday, March 22, is National Puppy Day. According to its website, "National Puppy Day is a special day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. But more importantly, it's a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills."

You could write an entire book (and many have) about puppies. We found a list of very fun puppy facts from Mental Floss. Here are just a few of our favorites. To see their entire list, visit their site.

Bonjour mon chiot

The word "puppy" appears to come from the French word "poupée," meaning "doll" or "toy." Puppy was not used until the late 16th century. Prior to that, English speakers referred to puppies as "whelps."

Puppy dog eyes are real

Any dog owner knows very well what puppy dog eyes are. The brow lifts and the eyes widen until they're big as saucers and a little forlorn. We might see this as a way to manipulate us into giving them the last scraps of food from our plates.

A 2017 study found dogs do indeed use facial expressions to communicate with people — but the findings show it's more likely they're trying to engage us than manipulate us into getting what they want.

A Broadway bark

One of the songs from smash-hit Broadway musical "Hamilton" was inspired by a dog. Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda says he and his wife had just adopted a puppy the week that he wrote the song "Dear Theodosia," the ballad in which Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr sing lovingly about their newborn babies. Miranda's tender lyrics might have been inspired by his new four-legged baby.

A real literary critic

Was John Steinbeck's dog a literary critic? Maybe. In 1936, Steinbeck left his yet-unpublished manuscript for "Of Mice and Men" out in the open where his Irish setter, Toby, could reach it. And reach it he did. In fact, Toby demolished half of the manuscript. Steinbeck said he had trouble staying angry at the pup. However, he didn't have any backup copies, so he simply rewrote the chewed-up chapters.

Puppies make us productive

You heard me right: Watching puppy videos at work, like Otis the winter-hating dog, might make you a more productive worker. According to a productivity study from Hiroshima University, people who looked at photos of puppies and kitties were able to concentrate better on work tasks than people who looked at photos of food or adult animals. Because The Monday Mark cares about your work productivity, we'll pledge to publish more puppy videos.

Other holidays this week

  • Monday, March 18: Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day
  • Tuesday, March 19: Certified Nurses Day
  • Wednesday, March 20: Kick Butts Day (and SPRING BEGINS!)
  • Thursday, March 21: Single Parent Day
  • Friday, March 22: Bavarian Crepes Day
  • Saturday, March 23: Melba Toast Day
  • Sunday, March 24: Chocolate Covered Raisin Day