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Celebrities and their pets: TV actress Lu Corfield

We've been overwhelmed with support shown to us by our celebrity friends. Here actress Lu Corfield (Doctors, Candy Cabs) explains why she loves being a pet owner and why she decided to support National Pet Month for the second year running.

LuandNorma

Please tell us about your pets. Who are they, what are they and how old are they?

My two beautiful girls are Norma and Audrey (Norma after Marilyn Monroe and Audrey after Ms Hepburn. Yup; you can tell which era I wish I'd been born into).

Norma is a dog, and a mix of everything. The poodle gene is strongest, but I also think there's a strong streak of woolly sheep! She'll be five soon.

Audrey is our grumpy moggy. Being a rescue cat, it's hard to know exactly how old she is. She's an older girl...maybe 11? 11 going on 111.

What’s so great about sharing your life with pets?

What isn't so great about sharing your life with pets?! They give so much and ask for so little in return.

We’d love to hear of any funny stories or anecdotes you have about the pets in your life.

Last year, when I was on tour, my partner brought Norma to see me on my birthday as a surprise. We were playing at The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff at the time and my partner booked us into a lovely dog-friendly hotel. My birthday evening (after the show) was me, my partner and Norma all having a floor picnic in the hotel room. Perfect.

Have you ever holidayed with your pet? Where did you go and what was the experience like?

Audrey is very much a home bird (well...home cat) and doesn't like to be moved from familiar surroundings.

Norma is the polar opposite and easily transportable. If we head back to Wales to see our folks she's in the car before our suitcases are. She loves going to new places/meeting new people. When we're about five minutes away from my Mum's house, she recognises where we are and her tail starts to go into warp speed.

Have you ever taken your pet to work with you? What was that experience like?

One day will always stand out in my mind. I took Norma to a meeting I had with the director of a company I was running acting workshops for.

She was very excited to be in central London (so many new smells and sounds) but it all got a bit much for her. I'd calmed her down (sort of) by the time we went into the meeting.

I'd got her on a lead and I thought she'd curled up by my feet under the table the director and I were sitting at. I should have been more suspicious of such good behaviour as soon enough there was a yelp from across the open-plan office. Norma was trying to jump onto the knee of the director's assistant. She'd been 'quiet' because she was busy chewing through her lead as a means of escape!

National Pet Month is being run on the theme of Your Pets and You: Companions For Life. What is it that makes a pet such a great companion?

Obviously, pets are a great aid to becoming more active because, quite simply, a dog must be taken for a walk every day whether we feel like it or not. One of my favourite sights in the world is to see my dog running full-pelt across the field in our local park. Plus, it's well documented that pets help relieve stress, lower blood-pressure etc and that's so valuable when you get home from a long day's work. I should market my girls as an effective anti-depressant. They work better than any pill I've taken.

Do you have any amusing stories to share of taking your pets to the vet?

At the vets Norma goes into fast-forward (tail wagging, licks for everyone - she knows where the treat jar is behind reception) whilst Audrey sulks. It's like watching Garfield and Odie.

Why are you supporting National Pet Month?

I've always loved animals and was brought up around pets right from the earliest part of my life. Anything that encourages people to give animals a home where they are properly looked after gets my support.

As part of National Pet Month we like to work with schools to teach the importance of responsible pet ownership. Do you have any advice for youngsters with pets or who are thinking of owning a pet?

I said this last year, but still feel the same. Kids need to know the saying I have stuck as a bumper sticker on my car - that "A dog is for life - not just for Christmas"; and that applies to whatever pet they're thinking about getting. Using a dog as an example, it's very difficult, when you're young, to fully comprehend that the cute puppy you've just picked out will still be alive and in need of care 11 years later. So much can change in that time but the animal will be there as a constant presence.

On the positive side, that constant presence provides a loyal and grounding companion as you grow up and helps foster a sense of responsibility. It also gets you used to picking up poo which, let's face it, is a lesson in humility for us all.

At the heart of National Pet Month is our aim to help pet fans across the UK raise money for the country’s pet charities by organising and attending fun and educational events during the campaign. Do you have any suggestions for fun events that could be held?

Shows are a fun idea. I love the ones where all kinds of animals/breeds are allowed and there are broader, more fun categories such as "Animals who most resemble their owners", "Waggiest Tail" etc. Last year my mum's dog won "Most Scruffy" at their village dog show. She was ever so proud.

When have you been most proud of your pet and why?

One of the things I love about taking Norma back to see my family in Wales is the joy it brings to my gran.

My gran is very unwell and finds it difficult to move, but Norma doesn't know this.

As soon as she sees her she leaps up onto her chair and gives her face a good tongue-washing. Nanny loves it!

People can be so tentative around old people, often to the point of being patronising. I can see how refreshing Nanny finds Norma's bulldozer approach. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

National Pet Month takes place from now until May 6.

Please help us by becoming a supporter. It's free and only takes a minute here. http://www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/portal/admin/create-account

Let's work TOGETHER to help our nation's pets. www.nationalpetmonthorg.uk

Press Office

For media information, images or to speak to a spokesperson about National Pet Month and Pet Care Aware please contact Taz Thornton or Asha Clearwater at Turquoise Tiger on +44 (0)1406 380737 or email info@nationalpetmonth.org.uk

Please note we have access to a range of spokespeople via our trustees, sponsors and most animal welfare organisations and charities who get involved with NPM.

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Pet Care Aware is a home for pet lovers, pet friendly businesses and organisations, which supports pet related campaigns whatever the time of year.