Humans dressing as dogs and spending a night in kennels, a 24-hour bingo-athon, Britain’s Next Top Dog Model competition, family fun days and free health checks for our animal companions can mean only one thing.
National Pet Month – April 1 – May 6, 2013 has arrived, with thousands of pet mad Brits coming together to celebrate responsible pet ownership and raise money for their favourite UK pet charities.
With almost 50 per cent of UK households owning at least one pet, this national event, now in its 24th year, offers pet fans and pet care professionals across the UK the chance to come together to stage and attend a wide variety of fun and educational events.
All kinds of organisations are taking part - from nurseries and schools to colleges, workplaces, clubs, churches, community groups, pet stores, veterinary clinics and many others.
The NPM interactive map. www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/events/ lists some of the events taking place and is being constantly updated as news of the campaign builds.
Celebrity supporters include keep fit queen and pet owner Rosemary Conley, TV vet Marc Abraham, West End stars Jodie Prenger and Daniel Boys, actress Lu Corfield (Doctors, Candy Cabs). TV presenter and Dancing On Ice finalist Laura Hamilton and pop singer Chesney Hawkes.
This year’s National Pet Month theme is Your Pets and You; companions for life which looks at the companionship side of owning a pet and the health benefits that come with pet ownership.
TV actress Lu Corfield certainly understands what a positive contribution pets can make to a family, thanks to her poodle cross Norma.
She says: “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.”
Throughout the month National Pet Month will be sharing plenty of pet stories from some of its celebrity supporters and ordinary members of the public in a bid to acknowledge and celebrate the positive impact pets have on our lives.
Online followers will be able to enter a variety of competitions on Facebook and Twitter to win pet goodies and special school lesson plans are available to help youngsters learn about the importance of looking after pets properly.
At the heart of National Pet Month lies NPM’s Top 10 Tips For Responsible Pet Ownership. (See editor’s notes for details).
Phil Sketchley, National Pet Month Chairman explains: “Whether you are a toddler or a pensioner a pet can be a truly wonderful companion, helping to reduce anxiety and instil a sense of calm. Scientific research suggests there are numerous associated health benefits of pet ownership which we’ll be highlighting during National Pet Month.
He adds: “Pets really do make people’s lives happier and healthier and so what better way to repay them than by encouraging people to spread the responsible pet ownership message and help raise cash for pet charities around the UK?”
To say we British love our pets is an understatement. A survey carried out in 2012 on behalf of the PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association) proved beyond all doubt just how much we like to share our lives with animals.
Animal fans from across the country are asked to show their support for National Pet Month by staging and attending fundraising events for local pet charities, taking part in schools projects and competitions and helping spread the word on important pet ownership issues.
Anyone can register as a supporter on the National Pet Month website for free www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk where they’ll receive a free events pack featuring information on NPM’s key messages plus posters and tips on how to successfully stage an event.
They can then register their event on the NPM interactive map. www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/events/.
National Pet Month takes place from April 1 to May 6 2013