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NOAH event held to celebrate children and their pets
NOAH CEO Phil Sketchley.
Photography by Andy Catterall
National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) held a reception at the House of Commons to celebrate the benefits that animals can bring to children's lives and to promote responsible pet ownership.

On Tuesday, November 20, guests and charities from throughout the UK came together to share experiences of how animals are helping children with their physical, educational and psychological needs.

MRCVSonline were honoured to receive an invitation to the event and to gain a valuable insight into the attending charities' work, including Riding for the Disabled Association, The Kennel Club Bark and Read Foundation, Dogs Trust and Caring Canines.

Phil Sketchley, Chief Executive at NOAH, explained that encouraging the use of dogs and other animals within the healthcare industry can reduce the financial strain on the NHS; in particular, it has been recorded that the number of call outs to diabetes suffers has been significantly reduced following the introduction of Medical Detection Dogs to the home.

The world's ugliest dog, Mugly, was also in attendance with the Pets As Therapy team, who help children to read and communicate by making them feel less stressed and self conscious in large groups and unnerving social situations.

Other organisations promoting their charity work included Dogs Helping Kids, Wood Green Animal Shelter, Dogs for the Disabled, The Animal Education Alliance, and National Pet month.

Reception host, Neil Parish MP, reiterated the benefits of animals to the wellbeing of children.

"Many children believe they can speak with pets before their parents, which I can understand," he said. "If I have a tough time at the House of Commons, when I get home my dog is delighted to see me."

Mr Parish also mentioned the importance of working with pets and children at primary school age. He said many of the charities have already offered their time to do this, and that he has written to Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The event was also host to the launch of NOAH's I Heart My Pet campaign, which aims to raise awareness of regular preventative healthcare as integral to responsible pet ownership; seasonal tips and advice, social media campaigns and an activity calendar provide owners with expert information for keeping pets happy and healthy all year round.

For more information about I Heart My Pet, click here.

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