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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.

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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CANDACE D'AGNOLO

How to Keep New and Potential Hires From 'Ghosting' You

Catch the replay of this PETS+ Live! Lunch & Learn webinar hosted by Candace D’Agnolo of Pet Boss Nation. This episode featured Candace expanding on her June PETS+ column on preventing new hires and job candidates from “ghosting” you. Hint: Much of her advice will help you make better hires and keep happier employees.

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August and September Events, to Help You Plan Ahead

2 months ahead!

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AUGUST

1 For humans, August is a sweaty blot on the calendar. The weather is beastly, the kids are getting bored, there are no big sports events, the good movies have gone, and on TV it’s all reruns. Yet in the world of pets, August is huge, starting with International Cat Day on Aug. 8, the opening of SuperZoo on Aug. 20 and Dog’s Day on Aug. 26. Choose one and promote it big. There’s really not much fighting for your customers’ attention right now.

17 The noted medical researcher Julius Comroe once defined serendipity as “looking for a needle in a haystack and getting out of it with the farmer’s daughter.” On Serendipity Day, the idea of “happy accidents” sounds like a great theme for a sales event — either with surprise giveaways or as an excuse to try something like a marketing exercise you’ve never done before. You never know.

18 Today is BAD POETRY DAY. And for those of you whose reaction to that announcement was: “Hey, I thought all poetry was bad,” all we can say is: “Philistines!” Personally, PETS+ thinks that a bad pet poetry contest hosted on social media with a final reading in your store is one of the most entertaining events you can hold. Invite your customers to submit an “Ode to Fido/Fluffy, she who is exalted.” Edible prize to the winner.

SEPTEMBER

1 Scary stat of the month: At least one in four businesses affected by a disaster never reopens. During National Preparedeness Month, be sure to spend some time at the Department of Homeland Security website (ready.gov) so you can be as prepared as possible for any emergencies.

4 Like many great ideas, Pet Rocks got their start in a bar, in April 1975, as Gary Dahl listened to his friends complain about caring for their pets. This gave him the idea for the “perfect” pet: a rock. His training manual and other related products made Dahl a millionaire. And now stands testament to the power of goofy ideas. On Pets Rock Day, add some quirkiness to your marketing. Organic vegan foods for dogs anyone? Oh, right, that’s been done already.

12 On this day in 1954, Lassie first bounded into the living rooms of America, where she was to become a fixture on TV screens for the next 19 seasons. Mark the occasion with a breed meet. (Well-diving optional.) It should make for a great social media photo op.

15 The level of pet ownership among Hispanics has almost doubled in the last decade, to more than 20 million households. While most of this demographic is fully acculturated, there are still small differences that represent opportunities for retailers. During NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH, make a pledge to learn more about this growing market.

18 America’s debt wasn’t always in the trillions. Alexander Hamilton kicked off things by borrowing $191,000 on this day in 1789. There’s a good argument that wise use of debt was what allowed America to become great. But the key word there is “wise.” If you’re still paying for a pizza you charged in college, use the 230th anniversary of America’s first loan to inspire you to get smart with debt.

30 Need information about raw food, CBD and supplements that will help customers, their pets and your sales? Don’t miss the PETS+ WELLNESS SUMMIT, with education starting today, followed by two days of a curated show floor featuring the top vendors in pet wellness. Entry is free. Learn more at petsplusmag.com/summit.

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Aug. 4 is Assistance Dog Day. Celebrate these amazing animals.
Aug. 15 is Check The Chip Day. Promote scan checks.
Aug. 22 is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. Promote your favorite vet.
Sept. 1 is National Pet Insurance Month. It’s growing fast. Are there implications for your business?
Sept. 8 is National Pet Memorial Month. Work out a plan to help console the bereaved.

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June Marks National Microchip, Pet Preparedness and Wash Your Dog Month

… and many more June events!

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01 Sales of audiobooks have surged over the last 15 years, as smartphones made downloads as easy as a tap of the finger. During Audiobook Appreciation Month, do a Google search for “bestselling business audiobooks” and catch up on some of the great management advice that’s been published in the last few years. Best of all, there’s no actual reading required. You can finish the book while commuting to work, working out at the gym or walking your clients’ dogs.

15 Psychologist Steven Smith, one of the leaders in the study of skill accumulation, has noted that few people can juggle six tea cups, but that anyone could actually learn to do it if they had the inclination and some training. Remember, though: You can do anything, but not everything. On World Juggling Day,, choose one thing you really want to achieve this week.

16 It’s Father’s Day,, and all over America, fathers are practicing that look of thrilled surprise — that one dear old Dad always manages after receiving his third cigar cutter. This year, encourage your customers to organize a gift from Max or Bella. Gift cards, possibly illustrated with an image of said pet, always go down well. Dad’s an unfailingly practical person at heart. He’s sure to get a kick out of coming in to pick up a top-of-the line pooper scooper.

17 There was a time that the workplace was no place for pets. Not so in your business, of course, but help spread the love with promotions of Take Your Cat to Work Day, which kicks off the annual Take Your Pet to Work Week,, and culminates with Take Your Dog To Work Day, on June 21. Find out more here: petsit.com/takeyourcat.

19 Dogs with faces only their owners could love gather at the Sonoma-Marin Fair for the World’s Ugliest Dog contest today. Hold a similar competition in your store.

21 Ask any Washington insider and they’ll say that the best way to start a campaign is with a solid base of fear. When it comes to the sunny months ahead — summer, officially begins today — there’s plenty to be scared about for pet owners: ticks, snakes, heatstroke, bad human food at barbecues, hot asphalt … the list goes on. Sharpen your shears, prep your anti-tick inventory, get out in your community, work the press.

21 What was once considered a petty self-indulgence is now viewed as a powerful marketing tool. Ahead of NATIONAL SELFIE DAY,, draw up a strategy to get your customers to take more photos of themselves and their pets with a mention of your business. The ultimate goal is to get them post the images on their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

27 “Happy Birthday To You” turns 160. Offer to send a singing telegram to any pet owner who shares a birthday with the world’s most sung song.

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June is National Pet Preparedness Month — It’s that time of the year when nature turns capricious. Remind customers to include their pets in the emergency planning.
June is National Wash Your Dog Month … Celebrate with a coupon. First bath free.
June 11 World Pet Memorial Day. Urns, stuffed animals, jewelry, picture books … the “over the rainbow bridge” segment is growing fast.
June 18 Clean Your Aquarium Day — Offer a DIY service.
June 20 Productivity Day … sponsored by Steel Horse Coffee. We’d have to agree, a good work routine starts with a cup of Joe.

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

There’s plenty 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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