Love is a four-legged friend (or variations thereof!)

If you’ve been out shopping in the last month, it can’t have escaped your notice that Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. Popular the world over (especially with card manufacturers, chocolate retailers and florists!), the 14th of February is the perfect opportunity to show the special someone in your life how much you care.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are believed to sit with an early Christian, Saint Valentinus of Rome, who was imprisoned by the state for carrying out wedding ceremonies for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. Another popular legend states that Valentine’s Day originated from the Feast of Lupercalia – a fertility festival celebrated in mid-February by ancient Romans, randomly pairing young boys and girls together to marry. However it was not until medieval times that Valentine’s Day really became popular – it was widely believed that the 14th of February marked the start of the mating season, when birds chose their lifelong mates. Lovers began to exchange letters and flowers on this day, declaring their intentions (whether honourable or otherwise!)

The first Valentine’s card is held in the archives of the British Library; credited to Charles, Duke of Orleans, who sent it to his wife in 1415 whilst imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. Valentine cards for pets are now widely available – no surprise given that most of us with animals in our lives will happily admit to being head-over-heels in love with them!

Kitten sleeping on the heart-shaped pillow

The love we get from our pets is unconditional – a truly special thing in our modern, and often impersonal, world. They ask nothing from us and yet we’re happy to give so much – space on the best sofa, a favourite jumper to sleep with, and most precious of all, our time.

Of course you don’t have to spend money to show that you care – going for an extra-long walk, turning a blind eye just this once to the furry bundle sneaking under the duvet, or putting down a few extra favourite biscuits are just some of the small ways we can share our love.

However you are celebrating, and whoever you are spending it with, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy Valentine’s Day!

The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

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