National Pet Month in the United Kingdom has just been held in April.

The month celebrates and raises awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns. It celebrates pet ownership, sharing the many benefits of people’s cherished companions across the UK.

Meanwhile in the United States, National Pet Week was held from May 1-7.

It aimed at recognising that pets give owners so much, asking only for a smile in return - and maybe an occasional treat.

In May 1995 The Mail reported how National Pet Week co-ordinators had been going into local schools to promote responsible attitudes to pet ownership.

And schools, like Ormsgill Junior School and St Pius X School, in Barrow, held their own pet days, where children took in pets.

Animals were also taken to the schools by local organisations which promoted caring attitudes to pets and animals in general. They included Bright the border collie, a Pets As Therapy dog, and Shadow, a guinea pig, which belonged to Lindal’s Furness Guinea Pig Welfare.

Children were able to hold a stroke the animals while getting the clear message that pets need a great deal of caring and should not be taken on lightly.

Co-ordinators gave illustrated talks covering a wide range of topics, including health care and the responsibilities attached to owning a pet.

They were aimed at pupils of all ages, from the youngest primary classes to older children's science and discussion groups.

A spokesperson said: "Pets, whatever they may be, can bring a great deal of pleasure but that also brings a number of responsibilities.

"Take time to find out about the animal before you buy it and you are more likely to find the right pet for you and get the most pleasure from it."

In 1989 members of Millom's 3rd St George's Scouts found out about unusual pets during National Pet Week. They met Gladys the python, brought to the Scouts' meeting by owner Mike Hunter, of Haverigg.