Pet lovers’ event transfers online to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

National Pet Month is switching to the digital universe in response to the coronavirus crisis.The initiative, which acts as a fundraiser for pet charities and rescue centres, is hoping to harness the power of social media during lockdown to drum up vital support for the industry.The event, which runs until May 10, usually urges people to stage or attend fundraising events.But it has had to re-think its strategy amid the COVID-19 restrictions on freedom of movement.National Pet Month (NPM) chairman Michael Bellingham said: “NPM is an amazing community of pet lovers. We are in challenging and uncertain times but please remember, we are all in this together.“The world has changed for the time being and many local charities need our support. The need for community couldn’t be greater so please join us and make National Pet Month 2020 unique and inspiring.“As we will be spending more time at home with our pets, let us really celebrate the role they play in our lives.”

People are being encouraged to message vets or pet stores to get them involved in online advice sessions or fundraisers. Picture: NPM

It is taking #NationalPetMonth totally online to avoid hundreds of pet organisations missing out on their annual opportunity to raise much needed funds.Pet lovers are being encouraged to spark an online conversation on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to highlight deserving causes. They should also share why and how they want to support them.Participants are also being urged to message vets and pet stores to encourage them to run advice sessions. One of NPM’s goals is to promote the importance of responsible pet care.A spokeswoman for the event added: “At a time when many of us are spending more time at home, what better way to make us feel like we’re making a difference to the lives of our pets?”She added: “Remember, we live in a social media rich world so let’s take advantage of this technology and run events from the comfort of our own homes. Having something to focus on in these challenging times can be extremely rewarding and great for our mental health.”Organisers have come up with a host of tips to start the ball rolling. Ideas include an online auction featuring pet products and services, or a 24-hour pet-themed tweetathon, where people sponsor you to keep tweeting day and night.A more zany concept is hosting a virtual pet party via video conferencing app Zoom. People could ‘meet’ your pets and enjoy a virtual cuppa with you in return for a small donation towards your chosen cause.People are also being asked to have a group Netflix marathon where you watch all your favourite pet movies.

National Pet Month 2020 runs from April 1 to May 10. Picture: NPM.

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    If people are struggling to find the right charity then they could always consider asking people to support National Pet Month’s work.The spokeswoman added: “Remember, National Pet Month is a charity too, dedicated to supporting UK pet charities and educating our nation on the importance of responsible pet care. We would welcome anyone raising much needed funds for us too.”She added: “This year we have a new logo to help catch the eye of pet fans across the country and we have loads of exciting plans for the charity in the months ahead.”Animal lovers can look out for updates via the National Pet Month’s group of Facebook pages. It’s main page can be found by searching for ‘@NationalPetMonth’, but it also has dedicated Facebook sites for cat lovers (@joinscratchingpost) and dog lovers (@joinparkbench).The spokeswoman concluded: “These are unprecedented times which call for unprecedented action. Help us to help others this National Pet Month.”Please use #NPMOnline in your social media posts.For more information please see: