February is "National Responsible Pet Owners Month," and Feb. 26 is "World Spay Day."

Both of these events acknowledge the importance of providing the very best care for your pet. Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) encourages everyone to remember that owning a pet is a lifetime commitment. Your pet needs you to take care of it because it cannot take care of itself. Responsible pet owners will spay or neuter their pets, take them to the vet for regular checkups, provide daily food and water, treat them as a member of the household and show them the unconditional love they happily return.

Responsible pet ownership also means that you learn about your future companion's temperament and characteristics to make sure your lifestyle is a good match before adoption. For example, a high-energy dog that requires lots of exercise is not a good match if you are not an avid walker. Being a responsible pet owner also means getting your pet licensed. In Alameda, all cat and dog owners should obtain a pet license from FAAS. Licensing your pet provides it with an identification tag that includes your contact information. A very effective secondary form of identification is a microchip that FAAS can provide your pet during its microchip clinics.

Pets provide us with unconditional love; they have feelings and depend on humans to provide them with shelter, love, exercise and a safe living environment. FAAS hopes everyone will celebrate "National Responsible Pet Owners Month" all year long. Here are some upcoming FAAS events:

March 9: Mobile adoption from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at See Spot Run 2510 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Come meet your new best friend!

March 20: Pet Loss Support Group from 6:30-8 p.m. at the FAAS Shelter 1590 Fortmann Way, Alameda, led by Jill Goodfriend, RN, LCSW. This group is open to anyone needing comfort over the loss of their pet. The group meets the third Wednesday of every month. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jill at 510-393-1359.

PET OF THE WEEK: BUDDY is a staff favorite! He's a black-and-white, Labrador-Border Collie mix with great energy and a sweet disposition. He's about 2 years old.

DOG ALLEY: There are 21 available dogs at the Alameda Animal Shelter. It is full of great dogs! WALLY is a black-and-white corgi-border collie mix. This 1-year-old bundle of energy would be a great family pet. PUCK is a 3-year-old poodle mix that arrived with a mohawk cut. He may look a little strange, but he's a great little dog.

CAT LAIR: There are 32 cats available for adoption at the Alameda Animal Shelter. MAMA and BABY are strikingly beautiful black tabbies who are a bit shy, but very sweet.

RABBIT ROW: PUTI, a 5-year-old New Zealand white, HOLLY, a 4-year-old mini-lop, and BELLE, a 1-year-old rex, are in foster care. Contact the shelter for more information.

Mim Carlson, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter's executive director, is filling in while Linda Treml is away. Visit the Alameda Animal Shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, call the shelter at 510-337-8565 or visit petharbor.com to view the animals.