Overall Winner – BUPA Care Home – Court House Nursing Home, Malvern
The Court House Care Home in Malvern, Worcestershire, really showed how important animal best friends are with a fantastic – and emotional – National Pet Week packed with fun and furry activities. And it will not be a one-week wonder – residents and animals will continue to benefit from these friendships in weeks to come.
National Pet Week will be remembered happily by residents and staff who enjoyed meeting pets brought in by their owners. But that was not all. Activities themed around the benefits of pets to people and the need to keep pets responsibly also featured heavily during the Week.
After preparations were made to the home to ensure safety to the visiting animals, and that the kitchen area could be kept free from inquisitive canine (and equine!) visitors, on the Tuesday of National Pet Week residents enjoyed a visit from Benji the spaniel, himself a senior citizen – he usually visits with his ‘missus’ to see his ‘nan’ and didn’t need a lot of persuading to visit the other houses.
On Wednesday Hooche the collie (belonging to Nettie) visited. The residents on the Young Persons’ Unit wanted him to sit on their laps and he obliged, even though he is a big dog.
Holly the collie and Saffee the Heinz visited on Thursday – they came with Michelle, care assistant for Hollybush House. More cuddles on residents’ laps ensued!
On Friday (following a full risk assessment) Shetland ponies Truffles and Popcorn visited all the houses and even went indoors for those residents who were unable to go outside.
One gentleman who is blind and was visiting his wife was so thrilled to be able to put his arms round Truffles the pony and feel his warm body!
Harry the collie visited as well. Harry is the Home’s very own Pat Dog, and a particular friend of Midsummer House, who also visits the other houses regularly – including the Young Persons’ House where there is one particular resident who until recently only spoke to Harry.
There was also an animal quiz – 20 questions dreamt up by activity organiser Jackie while walking Harry, who did the draw of correct answers. But this was won by a rival canine – Guv, the house dog from Beacon House, who won a lovely cushion and a bottle of wine!
There was a Bring and Buy sale in each House and other games – supported by the local quilt shop, Nettie made prize cushions featuring animals (one with a breed identification game themed round it), and others for the regular PAT dogs themselves. There were also the regular bingo sessions. Over £130 was raised for some for National Pet Week as well as money for other local charities including the local rescue centre and the air ambulance.
National Pet Week was an eye-opener and animal activities, already established before National Pet Week, will continue. Care assistant George did not realise the therapeutic value that pets give to the residents, for both their esteem and emotional needs when they visit, until NPW – he then brought in Max, his two month old staffy cross on his day off, as the Home’s latest PAT dog.
Even the residents who find it hard to speak or show emotions certainly showed they found the whole experience fulfilling by their smiles and eagerness to cuddle the animals.
And very importantly, the activities department have started a portfolio about special animal friends – an ongoing activity for all residents and staff – this will be a pleasure and encouragement for new residents who feel vulnerable and will help them feel welcome in their new home.
National Pet Week thanks Court House for their entry and offers congratulations for such a fantastic example of ‘best of friends – best of health’.
Pet Shop Category – Winner – Fido’s Pet Bazaar, Norwich
Fido’s Pet Bazaar held a Rabbit Awareness Day, They had a stall in conjunction with the Rabbit Awareness Association, offering advice on all aspects of rabbit keeping and details of local clubs. They held a colouring competition and customers could even bring in their own rabbits. The event was also a fund raiser for a local Rabbit and Guinea Pig Rescue (Sprowston Guinea Pig Rescue).
They involved other local businesses in their shopping centre, not only by donating prizes to their raffle, but for example the jewellery shop sold rabbit earrings, the household shop sold china rabbits, the balloon shop made a giant balloon rabbit and even the café had a special offer on carrot cake!
Animal Welfare Category – Winner – Suttons Animal Physiotherapy, Littleton, Hampshire
Suttons Animal Physiotherapy raised £100 in donations for the Salisbury Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre, by offering dogs a massage for a £5 donation. But Dogs Trust was not the only beneficiary – several dogs left looking more mobile tan when they arrived! The event – dubbed a ‘massage marathon’ – achieved good publicity in the local paper and raised the profile of NPW.
Veterinary Category – Winner – Glenbrae Veterinary Clinic, Glasgow
Glenbrae Veterinary Clinic have been involved with National Pet Week before, but this was the first time they had tried anything on a large scale. So, they went for a ‘Fun Day’, held on 8 May at Mugdock Country Park, Milngavie. This included dog agility that everyone could try with their dogs with the help of veterinary nurses. The dog show was a great success with categories such as best pedigree, best non-pedigree, waggiest tail, best six legs, best geriatric, best trick and dog most like their owner! There was also a pet show for small furries and most unusual pet. There was a sponsored walk organised by the SSPCA and children’s entertainment.
The practice had its own stand, giving tips on preventive healthcare and responsible pet ownership. Free samples were given out and competition prizes donated from animal medicine companies and local pet shops.
There was an amazing turn-out on the day: the weather was fantastic but attendance was helped by the fact that the practice had given the event advance publicity through mail outs to clients and informing the local schools. As well as the money raised by the SSPCA for their walk, the PDSA and local charity Hessilands Wildlife Sanctuary also had stalls and were able to raise useful funds.
The event also received good publicity in the local paper.
Local Authority Category – Winner- Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Kent
National Pet Week activities started with a series of radio interviews for Brian Milligan from Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (with KM FM, CTR Radio and Radio Kent) which were broadcast on news bulletins – or, as was the case with the Radio Kent interview, went out live.
The big event was the Tonbridge Garden Show, which included a trailer giving advice on responsible pet ownership and reduced price micro chipping. NPW posters were displayed and there was a collection. There was a constant stream of public asking questions!
A programme of School Educational talks was also set up during the Week and there was a lot of media coverage about the local authority’s activities – all in all – a very successful campaign using National Pet Week to promote responsible pet ownership.
Education Category – Winner- Lancaster and Morecambe College
Students from Lancaster and Morecambe College’s first year National Diploma Animal Management courses pulled out all the stops to raise money for and awareness of the animals they are learning to work with. National Pet Week gratefully received the funds raised, which will go towards continuing to spread the charity’s messages.
The students, helped by their tutors, organised games and activities to attract other students to find out more.
Special category – Winner – Canicross, Gloucestershire
Not fitting obviously into any of the existing competition categories, a new one was added because the Canicross event was just too good to pass over! Canicross was founded to promote the sport of running with your dog. The organisation’s aims are to actively encourage pet owners to participate in a joint activity with their dog and to get themselves and their dogs fit in the process. The epitome, in fact, of the NPW theme for 2005 ‘Best of Friends – Best of Health’