Celebrate National Pet Week: May 6 -12, 2007

Happy National Pet Week! National Pet Week was founded by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Auxiliary to the AVMA in 1981. Since then, National Pet Week has become popular not only across the United States, but across the world. National Pet Week's website (www.petweek.org) states that the goals of this celebration are "to promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine."

Of all life's joys that we celebrate – birthdays, graduations, marriages, holidays – do any bring as much pure happiness as pets? Birthdays can be depressing because you're another year older. Graduations mean you're entering into the "real world". Marriages bring the stress of planning the perfect day. Holidays often mean traveling and in-laws! Pets bring unconditional love and loads of smiles. Pets truly deserve a whole week of parties and celebration.

Every year National Pet Week declares a theme, upon which the celebrations focus. This year's theme is "Pet Power". Past celebrations of National Pet Week have included open houses in vet clinics, owner/pet look-a-like contests, pet CPR classes, blessings of the pets in churches, pet-theme expos, public-service announcements, etc.

Visit www.petweek.org to help you celebrate and learn more about our beloved pets. In observance of National Pet Week, the AVMA has published informative brochures on responsible pet ownership and pet health concerns. These free brochures can be downloaded from the website. If you are considering a career in veterinary medicine, you may enjoy the site's guide to working in this field. Kids will enjoy the site's fun, pet-related games and the National Pet Week computer wallpaper designs to download.

The site also includes information and ideas for teachers to incorporate National Week in the classroom. Click "Educators" for essay and art contests for children in grades 1-4. Take the link to the AVMA Kid's Corner for more educational kid fun.

Don't just celebrate this week from your computer chair; take the opportunity to inform family, friends, and your community about pets. The Auxiliary for the AVMA has tools available to help you with this effort. From their website, www.avmaaux.org, you can order National Pet Week balloons, t-shirts, pencils, magnets, stickers, posters, banners, etc. Encourage a community effort to celebrate pets and educate the public on pet care. Donate funds raised during the celebration to a local pet charity.

Listed below are ideas for celebrating National Pet Week and the animals who brighten our lives.

1. Volunteer at a shelter.
2. Give your pet some extra time and attention.
3. Thank your veterinarian for the care he or she gives your pets.
4. Educate others on the benefits of spaying/neutering and regular vet care.
5. Hand out the AVMA's educational brochures.
6. Make a monetary donation to a local pet charity.
7. Visit a nursing home with your pet.
8. Organize a pet parade.
9. Organize a 5K race for dogs and owners.
10. Wear a National Pet Week t-shirt.
11. Give National Pet Week products to your friends.
12. Make a pet first-aid kit for your home.
13. Organize a play date with other pets in the community.
14. Purchase a new toy for your pet.
15. Start a scrapbook of special memories you have of your pet.
16. If you've been considering a career in veterinary medicine, go for it!
17. Adopt a pet from the shelter.
18. Consider ways to be a more responsible pet owner (e.g. brush pet's teeth, trim his nails regularly, exercise him more often, etc.)
19. Take a plate of cookies to your veterinarian.
20. Give your pet a hug.