“MY name is Alfie and nothing makes my tail wag more than having my ears tickled by a terrific story. Horrid Henry, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid – I lap up every word because I love to listen to children reading out loud, and I’ll be revealing why at this year’s LovePets Show in Peterborough.”
Alfie is one of the P.A.T. dogs from the charity Pets As Therapy who children will be able to read to at the LovePets Show on Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30, highlighting the benefits of the Read 2 Dogs programme. It will be a fantastic weekend for the special team that helps pupils in schools and visits patients in local hospitals, hospices and care homes.
Already familiar to a number of local schools in the region, Pets As Therapy will be popular part of the Mars Petcare Charity Zone at the LovePets Show, Peterborough’s great-value family day out for people who are passionate about their pets.
Maureen Hennis, chief executive of Pets As Therapy, explains: “Our volunteers have been taking dogs and cats to visit elderly and poorly people since 1983, and in the past couple of years we have developed the Reading To Dogs scheme. This encourages children who are reluctant readers to read a book aloud to a dog, and gain confidence as they do.
“Children love having a P.A.T. dog come in to their school to listen to them, and this boosts their enjoyment of reading as they pick out books that they think the dog might like. They don’t feel they are being judged, and feel that they are actually telling the story rather than just reading out loud to an adult.”
Through its Charity Zone, Mars Petcare will give visitors to the LovePets Show the chance to find out about volunteers and volunteering opportunities, and discovering the touching stories they have to tell.
Angie Phillips, from Mars Petcare, said: “Pets As Therapy and the animals charity Wood Green are just two of the organisations that Mars Petcare supports and will be meeting people at the show to demonstrate the important and very different roles they play in finding caring homes for animals, and helping people of all ages benefit from contact with a pet.
“There are lots of exciting activities planned in the Charity Zone: Pets As Therapy will have space for children to sit and read to one of their P.A.T. dogs, while Wood Green will be offering toy-making, children’s face painting, re-homing cute toy pups through their micro-chipping game, as well as giving special talks about rabbits and ferrets in the Presentation Arena.
“There will also be a re-homing wall at the show, where visitors can pick up information about pets looking for loving homes.”
LovePets, hosted by TV vet Marc Abraham, features Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Pippa Langhorne and her opera-singing pup, the world’s loudest-purring cat, dog behaviour experts Jez Rose and Karen Wild, plus a menagerie of magnificent animals including birds of prey, Siberian huskies, Shetland ponies – and Ptolemy the giant tortoise.
Throughout the weekend there will be amazing displays of animal obedience, agility and cuteness, plus stands and stalls offering goodies from top pet stores and suppliers from across the UK.
All visitors will receive a book of vouchers on entry to the show, giving them great offers, discounts and freebies at stands within the exhibition.
LovePets is sponsored by Mars Petcare, Zoflora, Welcome Cottages, Direct Line Insurance, Your Dog, and Your Cat Magazine. The event takes place at the indoor EXEC venue at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, just off the A1.
Although visitors can’t bring their own pets into the venue, there will be plenty of animals inside wanting their attention. Parking for the pet exhibition is free.
Tickets booked at www.lovepetsshow.co.uk before Thursday, October 27 offer a substantial saving, with online family tickets (two adults and three children) just £12, or £18 on the gate. Nominated animal welfare charities will receive 10 per cent of ticket sales.