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In April, Have Fun at Work, Celebrate Volunteers, Be Kind to Lawyers

What was the most joy you had at work?

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01 On NATIONAL FUN AT WORK DAY, we have a question for you: What was the most joy you had at work this week? If you’re struggling to remember, you fail our test. Every day should be spiced with fun, laughter and a playful attitude. Look at any business study, and fun is associated with experimentation, better morale and productivity. So lighten up, and make a point of asking yourself every Friday, “What was the most fun I had this week?” We will be checking up …

01 STRESS AWARENESS MONTH is an opportunity to remind your market of the health benefits of pet ownership, specifically how petting and spending time with a cat, dog or other animal feels good, can lower blood pressure, helps release a relaxation hormone, and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone. See if your local media outlets need a source.

07 Richard Nixon created NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK in 1974. So, raise those hands and get involved. Helping paint a school shed, pitching in at a rescue, getting thigh-deep in chilly water as part of a local creek cleanup is a great way to meet people in the community.

09 On BE KIND TO LAWYERS DAY, send a cheery note of thanks to your lawyers for their hard work keeping your business safe from legal jeopardy (and soundly ethical to boot).

11 Sure, every day is NATIONAL PET DAY at your business, but for just about everyone else, it happens in early April. Started in 2005 to highlight the love pets bring to our lives and to encourage adoption, the date has grown into a legitimate calendar event with pet owners across the country invited to share photos of their animals on any and all social media channels. Get ready with a promotion and some professionally taken photos.

15 Death and taxes, our constant companions. Of the two, the IRS has more potential to be a friend, especially if business is in a slump. If yours is not performing so well this year, consider carrying back the loss to get a refund of taxes paid in prior years. Just make sure you’re ready before today, INCOME TAX PAY DAY.

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21 Don’t worry, be hoppy. EASTER as we know it today has its origins in the Christian incorporation of Teutonic pagan rituals that had to do with spring and fertility gods, and their symbol — a long-eared cotton-tailed rabbit. Why not pay homage to the Big Bunny with appropriately corny marketing, such as an egg-citing Easter email mailout?

23 LOST DOG AWARENESS DAY is the day for those who have lost their way. Offer a special on all of your tags and GPS collars.

27 Didn’t celebrate International Fragrance Day on March 21? Use SENSE OF SMELL DAY to consider an upgrade of your business’s olfactory appeal.

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April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month — Encourage your customers to take the online course offered by the American Red Cross.
April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Email a reminder to all of your dog-owning clients about the need for an annual test.
April 1-7 is International Pooper Scooper Week. This category is a hotbed of innovation. How’s your selection?
April 9-15: National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Use #preventdogbites to share dog bite prevention information. (petsplusmag.com/4191)
April 19: Bicycle Day. Ride to work today. Your heart and lungs will thank you.
April 25 is INTERNATIONAL GUIDE DOGS DAY. Tip of the hat to these canine heroes.
April 28 is GO BIRDING DAY. Take the opportunity to draw attention to the fact many of our best-loved species are also the most threatened.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 11 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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What’s on Your Agenda for National Pet Month? Our Calendar Gives Some Ideas

There’s plenty of things to do in May!

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1 NATIONAL PET MONTH is your turn in the spotlight. The month typically features a string of charity events, corporate campaigns and media attention. (Brace for stories like “Top 5 pet movies of all time” and “What your pet is actually thinking.”) The campaign’s stated aims are to promote the benefits of pet ownership, support adoptions and increase public awareness of the services available from professionals who work with animals. Hey, that’s you! Get involved.

1 Every year, an estimated 20 percent of the population moves. That’s great news for pet pros because many of those people will be looking for service providers in their new communities. During NATIONAL MOVING MONTH, partner up with a real estate agent to put together a greeting package that includes a welcome note, a gift certificate and a flier outlining your services.

3 What was once known as Disabled Pets Day has evolved to become NATIONAL SPECIALLY ABLED PETS DAY, to highlight the superpowers these animals often have, like the extremely developed senses of smell, hearing and touch that vision-impaired pets have or the way hearing-impaired dogs can respond to sign language. Not only do these pets, once considered unadoptable, make great companions, they also need special products like slings, ramps and supplements. We see a specially abled opportunity. Explore!

5 Hola amigos, it’s CINCO DE MAYO, everybody’s favorite Mexican holiday. Join in the fun and invite owners of Chamucos, Chihuahuas, Xolos and any other Mexican breeds to come in for a special event. Lay on some margaritas and crunchy mini tacos, and maybe bring in a trainer to test their Spanish. Siéntate (Sit). Trae (Fetch). Everyone wants to show off a bilingual dog!

6 Which are healthier — purebreds or mutts? It’s one of the great debates among dog lovers and pet professionals. The great thing about May is that you don’t really have to reveal your preference — you can hold promotions to celebrate both kinds: May 1 is NATIONAL PUREBRED DOG DAY and May 6 is MAYDAY FOR MUTTS.

7 PUPPY MILL ACTION WEEK, organized by The Humane Society of the United States, seeks to raise awareness about the cruelty and health risks posed by unscrupulous commercial breeding. It’s also your opportunity to make a clear public stand on mills by taking the pledge to become a “puppy friendly” business. The society offers to help stores transitioning away from the sale of puppies here: (petsplusmag.com/5191.)

12 The BIRTHDATE OF THE BUDDHA is a perfect time for reflection on one of his important lessons: Focus on what’s important and on what works, and let go of the rest. This applies to advice offered by mentors and staff, the work practices you use now and what you read in PETS+. Invite input, keep an open mind and act to declutter.

12 You don’t want to get between a grizzly and her cub, or even a mother Bichon Frise and her litter, for that matter. On MOTHER’S DAY, get similarly aggressive in your market. Roll out a promotion targeting Pet Moms. Gifts from pet to parent are an admittedly small but growing category.

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May is Chip Your Pet Month. Be sure customers can locate their pets.
May is Go Fetch! National Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month.
May is National Service Animal Eye Examination Month. Encourage checkups. Visual health can be an early indicator of a host of complaints.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. It’s hard to detect and debilitating. Send prevention guidelines to all of your customers.
May 7-13: Be Kind to Animals Week. Who would be otherwise?
May 12: National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. Role-play to ensure you’re ready for the big one.

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March Comes In Like a Sock Monkey and Goes Out Like a Cuddly Kitten

See what March has for you.

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1 About National Sock Monkey Day, Stacy Busch-Heisserer of Busch Pet Products in Cape Girardeau, MO, has this to suggest: “There are some super cute sock monkey dog toys out there now. Set the monkeys up on a fun display or place them all over the store, in some unusual places, with signage attached, announcing the holiday.”

3 If there were a better occasion for encouraging memes on social media than If Pets Had Thumbs Day, we can’t think of one. Start with your own, and ask followers to contribute. A quick search reveals people have already given this some serious thought.

8 Ethel or Elmer, Hortense or Horatio, Wilhemina or Egbert. Whatever your middle name is, you are duty-bound to share it with the world on Middle Name Pride Day. Fun idea: Make T-shirts with every team member’s middle name printed on them. Gather in the office, and have everybody take off his coat one by one for the big reveal.

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10 Lack of sleep can cause weight gain, moodiness and outright stupidity. Neuroscientist Russell Foster calls sleep our most important behavior, noting that while we sleep our brain consolidates our daily experiences in the form of memories and uses that information to come up with novel solutions to problems. During National Sleep Awareness Week, commit to going to bed early enough so that you wake up without an alarm clock.

10 Benjamin Franklin is credited with first proposing the idea of Daylight Saving Time in 1784. He hoped to save on candles. Invite your customers for special daylight “savings” for one extra hour on the first day of the sale.

14 Albert Einstein — big brain, big heart, big lover of animals. On the 140th Anniversary of his Birthday, hold — what else? — a brainstorming session with staff or mentors. Use something he actually said as a starting point: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

15 Julius Caesar never saw it coming. Honorable, trusted, popular Brutus was a member of his inner circle. Is there someone on your team who has the potential to do damage to your business? On Brutus Day, take note: It’s the Ides of March, so remember the three Ts when it comes to underperforming staff: Tolerate, Train or Terminate.

17 Banish snakes? Perish the thought, especially if you sell reptiles. Here’s a much better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: Banish the winter blues. It’s the perfect date to raise a toast and bid the cold months farewell. Lay out some green drinks (kombucha, green tea, anything but beer), green edibles and give prominent display to any environmentally friendly pet food and treats. Everyone loves a party … and it’s really not so hard being green.

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23 Hope you had a good night’s sleep: National Puppy Day, World Turtle Day and Cuddly Kitten Day all fall on the same day. You’ve got your work cut out for you.

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March 4  Day of Unplugging. The challenge: 24 hours without phone or Internet contact. Can you do it? The benefits are said to be surprising.
March 6  It’s Professional Pet Sitters Week. True professionals are a great resource. Build a database.
March 20-22 Global Pet Expo. Break out — then break in — your comfortable shoes.
March 20 Spring — the season of renewal — brings visions of warmer days, clearer skies, budding flowers and frisky animals. It also means it’s time for spring cleaning. Get to work!
March 30 50th anniversary of Jeopardy, the thinking person’s game. Run some animal quizzes on your Facebook feed to celebrate.

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February Events to Note in Your Business: Chinese New Year, Wear Red Day, Love Your Pet Day

Note these dates on your February calendar.

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1 Brace for an education. The word February comes from februare, which means “to purify” in the dialect of the ancient Sabine, one of the founding tribes of the early Roman kingdom. One theory is that this had to do with how the Romans honored the dead and performed rites of purification in February. And so what’s it got to do with pet retail? Everything. The holiday season is done. The big shows lie ahead; it’s time to purify your dead inventory. If it didn’t sell between November and Feb. 14, it’s probably not going to sell in a hurry. Purify!

2 Today marks 16 years since the first National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S.: heart disease. Bring out a line of red collars or pet jackets. Get involved in a business or community activity or co-host a red-themed party with a neighboring retailer. Check out heart.org/heartorg/volunteer for more ways you can get involved as a small business.

4 No advertising medium divides pet professionals like Facebook. Some swear by it; others swear it’s a waste of time. Still, with more than 2 billion users you need to be sure you’ve fully explored its potential. On the 15th anniversary of the day Mark Zuckerberg and three friends launched The Facebook, adopt the company’s motto, “Move Fast and Break Things,” and commit to shaking things up with your social marketing. Test some sponsored posts. Get super specific with your targeting. Try a contest, try more video, follow the PETS+ Facebook page at
facebook.com/petsplusmag.

5 Bow down and welcome the pig. It’s Chinese New Year, and it’s the swine’s time to shine. Unlike his Western cousin, the pig in China is considered a patient, trusty character that attracts success in all spheres of life. It means 2019 could be a great year to invest and make money, although probably best if you steer clear of the mini pig trend. Who knew those cute little teapot squealers could grow into a 300-pound house guest?

10 Death of a Salesman marks its 70th anniversary today and while never comfortable, viewing it provides a useful reminder about the need to keep up with the times and our aspirations grounded. What’s your American dream in 2019? Maybe this is a good time to ask.

11 In the human world, red-carpet season peaks this month with, first the Grammys and then the Oscars. In the dog world, the spotlight is firmly on the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. Ready your social media guns to provide daily roundup of commentary and images of the stars strutting their stuff.

14 According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend more than $750 million on their pets for Valentine’s Day this year. Sure, that’s an average sale of only $5.50, although some tickets will be much higher. Stock up on treats, accessories and costumes in the appropriate price ranges.

20 On National Love Your Pet Day, ask customers to share photos of their pets with the hashtag #nationalloveyourpetday. Perhaps run a contest for the most popular post with a gift card as the prize. People love it when their pet is featured on a store’s Instagram or Facebook page, says Stacy Busch-Heisserer, owner of holistic pet supply store Busch Pet Products in Cape Girardeau, MO.

MORE EVENTS

Feb. 1  Pet Dental Health Month … well-being starts at the mouth. Explore dental hygiene products you can promote.
Feb. 1  Beat the Heat Month, National Prevent a Litter Month Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. Yep, the longer days mean something is in the air. Play your part.
Feb. 1  GI Joe, the action figure made his debut on this day 45 years ago, and more than a few came to a grisly end in the jaws of the house pet. Celebrate his birthday with a special on dog chews.
Feb. 3  St. Blaise Day. Light a candle to the bishop, martyr, healer of wild animals and patron saint of veterinarians.
Feb. 4  Pet Theft Awareness Day — Make sure your customers know about micro-chipping and pet protection services available in your area.

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