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National Pet Week’s ‘pet-friendly’ initiative

National Pet Week (NPW) 2003 is almost upon us and will celebrate its 15th anniversary. This year, with the theme ‘Pets – your local community friends’, NPW will bring people and pets together to focus on the valuable role pets play in the local community.

Philippa Forrester, TV presenter and pet lover, is supporting the week and joined the search for the organisation running the most ‘pet-friendly’ initiative. NPW issued a call to all animal welfare officers in the UK, asking them to nominate an organisation in their area for NPW’s ‘pet-friendly’ Recognition Award.

The winner of the Award, nominated by Barry Briggs, dog warden for Rutland County Council, is Oak House Residential Home in Rutland. Oak House Residential Home has openly encouraged pets at the home since 1989. Resident pets include a dog, cat, chinchilla, budgie, canary and fish. Don Walker, Proprietor of Oak House comments “Contact with pets is very therapeutic for our residents and their presence helps to create a homely environment. For those who previously owned pets, it creates a greater sense of normality to their life at Oak House. Residents tell us the animals encourage a feeling of wellbeing and provide them with company.”

The Recognition Award highlights the benefits of pets to people across all areas of the community, from school children to the sick and elderly. The many social, educational, health and physical benefits of pet ownership are gradually being recognised by organisations such as offices, hospitals, hotels, schools and residential homes. ‘Pet-friendly’ initiatives include pet crèches and allowing pets to visit patients.

Benefits

Philippa Forrester comments, “National Pet Week continues to bring pets and people together, and in doing so highlights the benefits to both parties. In its 15th year, I’m sure it will be as popular and as successful as ever.” NPW – a success story Over the past 14 years, NPW has successfully run education campaigns to promote responsible pet ownership, giving hundreds of people (and their pets!) the opportunity to get involved in fun and exciting events. NPW 2002 was again a popular event for pet lovers across the country, with a record 780 events ranging from church services dedicated to pets, to school open days and pet shows.

To get involved in events Check out the NPW website, at www.nationalpetweek.org.uk. Together with general information on NPW, the site features details on how to get involved in NPW 2003, including a list of events taking place in each area.

Anyone wanting to hold an event can register via the web and access publicity and merchandise material as well as tips on running events. Alternatively, contact the NPW Administration Office: 4-6 Peterborough Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 2BQ Tel / Fax: 020 8422 9300