National Pet Week delivers on tender, loving care

Published on December 15, 2004
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The theme chosen by the Auxiliary to the AVMA for its observance of this year's National Pet Week retains the endearing quality of previous years while adding a hook that has already caught the interest of the younger generation.

"PETS.LOVE@TLC" is the Auxiliary's theme for its part of National Pet Week, which will be held May 1-7, 2005.

The theme elicited such a strong response that the Auxiliary's pet week competitions—a poster contest and a creative writing contest—broke all previous years' records, according to Maureen Wilson, vice president for public relations. "We had a tremendous response, and the quality of those items exceeded all expectations," she said.

Contestants entered more than 200 posters and 60 essays, the most since National Pet Week's founding in 1981.

National Pet Week is celebrated throughout the United States and other parts of the world. Over the past 24 years, pet week has enlightened the public about the importance of responsible pet ownership and the vital role of veterinarians in the human-animal bond. Communities host veterinary clinic open houses, local education programs, and in-school promotions. The result has been major national, regional, and local media coverage.

"National Pet Week provides an ideal opportunity to remind pet owners about the need for regular veterinary care," Wilson said. "The resources we provide enable the veterinary community to start preparing well in advance of this special event."

Two posters ran neck and neck for top honors this year, with a third entry close on their heels. Wilson said, "After two days of discussions about which one to choose, we decided that all three should win!"

To make that possible, the Auxiliary added two new poster categories to the existing grand prize: first place and second place.

Lindsey Eck of Philadelphia won the $300 grand prize in the poster contest and the honor of having her artwork featured on the cover of this issue of JAVMA. The winning entry will also be reproduced on T-shirts, bookmarks, and as a poster.

The first-place, $150 award went to Catherine Sanchez of Philadelphia, and the second-place, $50 award to McKenzie Clark of Sarasota, Fla.

Eck and Sanchez had been classmates at a high school in Reading, Pa., and were sponsored by their former art teacher, Mrs. Geddis, and by Antietam Valley Animal Hospital.

Now a college sophomore, Eck is majoring in theater and considering a minor in art, which is one of her passions. She competed her winning artwork, "Cat Nap," in 2003.

"The death(s) of my beloved grandfather and my cat Shadow inspired me," Eck wrote with her entry. "I remembered a time when I fell asleep on my grandfather's shoulder, and my cat jumped up and (lay) with us. I felt so safe with them both there with me. ... We were all having a 'Cat Nap.'"

Eck captured that moment for the poster using the medium of pastel. "I love both animals and art, so being able to incorporate them both was amazing," she wrote.

In the creative writing contest, the quality of the entries was exceptional, Wilson said. Ruthie Ann Ozonoff, a fourth-grader from Lawrence, Kan., wrote that winning essay and won $150. Her essay can be found here.

The Auxiliary will offer a variety of promotional items for purchase, including pet week banners, balloons, bookmarks, brochures, videos, and T-shirts. Watch for the order form in the Jan. 15 issue.

Orders can be placed by phone at (800) PET WEEK (800-738-9335); by fax, (620) 365-7551; online; or by mailing the order form to the Auxiliary to the AVMA Business Office, 110 E. Madison, Iola, KS 66749.

For National Pet Week updates and resources, log on to You are invited to share pet week stories, photos, and projects with Maureen Wilson at mwilsonatutah [dot] gov.