By TreeLiving Our pets won’t know it, of course, but during April 2012 we will be celebrating them and the endless pleasure they give us during National Pet Month. This annual happening aims to promote the important role that pets play in our lives, and to promote their wellbeing – just as they promote ours. All dedicated pet owners know how much joy we can get from keeping an animal. From cats and dogs t o gerbils and even reptiles, pets are an endless source of entertainment, amusement and companionship. National Pet Month happens in spring, when environmental issues are also in the global spotlight. Our pets are an important part of our environment and responsible owners, vets, animal welfare groups and other animal professionals join together to make sure their contribution to the world is always remembered. Pets are loyal companions, asking for little more than food and affection. All sorts of studies have shown how interacting with our pets enhances our wellbeing, reducing the stress that so many of us suffer from in the demanding modern world. Pets – especially dogs – are also working animals. They safeguard us in our home and are a lifeline for millions of disabled people. Life just wouldn’t be the same without them. You’ll find all sorts of events taking place during National Pet Month, as well as a focus on the importance of pets to people, in all sorts of media. One of the aims of the activities is to promote responsible pet ownership. The sad reality is that even the most well-meaning of owners don’t always know how to look after their pets properly. We need to create optimal environmental conditions that will ensure our pets’ health and happiness and allow them to thrive. Education and promoting awareness of animal welfare is one focus in the many events that will be taking place during the month. Some of the funds raised by people participating in National Pet Month will go towards helping animals in need. The proceeds of the events organised across the country will also go towards providing companion animals for people who need pets. National Pet Month also highlights the available resources that can help people who want to provide their pets with the best possible care. In return for all the affection they give us, we have some simple obligations. Giving our pets the best we can give them includes keeping them safe. For example, keeping a green home, with minimal use of toxic chemicals in our homes and gardens, is good for our pets as well as wildlife and, of course, us and our families. If you’re an enthusiastic pet owner who cares about pets and their environmental health, National Pet Month is an opportunity for you to get involved. You can hook up with like-minded people and their animals and make a real difference to the lives of pets and people in your community, or even beyond. We owe it to our pets, for the many ways they add to the quality of our lives.