The strength of the human-pet bond is so important that one charity has dedicated a month of the year to promoting the welfare and wellbeing of our companions. This year, that month is April and in fact it spills over into May, coming to an end on the 7th. So what does this mean to pet owners, and how can you get involved?
National Pet Month is a registered charity. It’s supported by influential trustees, such as the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) and the Pet Food Manufacturing Association. Additional supporters include Cats Protection, Blue Cross and many other charities, businesses and organisations who hold animal welfare central to their values. While these institutions and charities work tirelessly year-round to help animals in all sorts of ways, it is during the National Pet Month that the profile of these shared objectives is heightened.
Promoting responsible pet ownership is one of the cornerstones of their strategy, a sentiment which they aim to spread amongst the pet owning population and anyone else who would like to get involved in spreading the word.
Another popular method of getting on the National Pet Month bandwagon is to fundraise for animal charities, and the National Pet Month website can help you do so. They have a fantastic site from which you can take inspiration, and from where you can download material to help run your fundraiser, just search for their ‘tool kit’ online. So be it a sponsored walk or a teddy bear’s picnic, pet people out there have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and get their heads together for a good cause.
Another focus of this initiative is to better the lives of pets though the power of education. Some things as simple as providing an appropriate diet, the right levels of exercise, or improving environmental enrichment, can dramatically impact an animal’s quality of life. So the National Pet Month website have developed a portal dedicated to the sharing of such ideas and information called ‘Pet Care Aware’, where users and pet lovers can interact with another via social media. Many interesting articles can be found from pet health news to amusing and unusual stories.
There are many ways in which you can contribute to improving the lives of less fortunate animals out there, and one of the most direct methods is to promote the merits of re-homing those abandoned pets.
It has been estimated that every day in England, 100 animals are given up or discarded and with so many animals finding themselves in difficulty, National Pet Month is a great reminder to help spread word of their plight as well. Why not go one step further and consider whether or not you could provide a permanent, loving environment for one such case.
For some, the right decision is to buy a young animal from a reputable breeder when they consider inviting a pet into their family, however for others, the satisfaction of watching an abandoned pet flourish in their care is just too hard to beat. It is worth knowing that rescue centres have many issue-free pets just waiting for a new family. Even those with medical or psychological considerations can make lovely pets with time and patience, and potentially some professional help, for example from vets and behaviourists. There is nothing quite like seeing the suppressed soul of a confused, abandoned pet gradually come to life as a result of the love and care that you provide.
Some pet-lovers can’t commit to a pet long term, yet crave the joy that they bring. For these people fostering may well be a realistic alternative. Fosterers act as an interim placement for abandoned pets, so that they can be brought back to health (if necessary), nurtured and, importantly, assessed for their likes and dislikes and of course their individual needs. This stands them in good stead for finding their perfect, forever home.
Some of the most avid pet-lovers sadly can’t even have animals living with them and in which case, volunteering at a rescue centre will provide some of the joys akin to pet ownership. So you see the opportunities are plentiful. National Pet Month is just one great opportunity to galvanise your thoughts, your friends, your colleagues, and give something back to this wonderful population of creatures who provide so much joy in our lives.