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Maria Menounos Wants Animal Lovers to Spend Thanksgiving Week Expressing Gratitude for Pets

As Turkey Day approaches, so do memories of all the traditions the holiday holds.

For many animal lovers, one of the best parts about Thanksgiving is watching the National Dog Show Presented by Purina. This year the 17th annual National Dog Show will air on NBC at noon across all time zones, and will feature upwards of 2,000 dogs from more than 190 breeds.

Only one canine will be crowned Best in Show, but every pet is a winner. That is the message that Maria Menounos is spreading as she and the National Dog Show Presented by Purina support the #DogThanking campaign.

The 4th annual #DogThanking social media campaign offers pet owners a chance to brag about their fur babies while also helping animals across the country. All you have to is post a picture of your pet on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #DogThanking and the tag @Purina along with a message about why you are grateful for the animals in your life. The campaign is accepting submissions from now through Nov. 25.

For each #DogThanking post, Purina will donate $1 (up to $25,000) to Tony La Russa’s ARF. ARF is a non-profit organization that supports numerous rescue pet programs including Pets and Vets, which matches veterans with emotional support animals free of charge – transforming rescue dogs into skilled service animals for veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, severe depression and more.

“It’s a really unique program because the vet actually trains the shelter dog to be their own service dog,” Menounos tells PEOPLE about ARF’s Pets and Vets program. “Watching the program and seeing what these vets are saying afterwards you get to see how much more helpful training them yourself is in your therapy and in your healing.”

To show just how easy it is to be thankful for the four-legged angels in your life, Menounos tells us what her #DogThanking posts might be for her pooches, Winnie and Maximus.

“She helped caretake for me and my mom after brain surgery,” the host of the podcast Conversations with Maria Menounos explains, adding that Bichon Frise Winnie is “so therapeutic.”

As for Maximus, the star’s rescue German Shepherd, Menounos says that she is thankful for the security he provides and the laughs: “He brought the smile back to my face.”

After seeing how easy #DogThanking can be, Menounos hopes all pet owners find the time to share why they are grateful for their own pets.

Don’t forget to tune into the National Dog Show Presented by Purina on Thanksgiving Day on NBC at noon after you have shared your #DogThanking post.

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