What do beekeepers and and lovers have in common?

The answer is that they share a patron saint in St Valentine.

In the week when roses are at their costliest and restaurants are full, it seemed appropriate to give a nod to Valentine’s Day.

But if readers are expecting romantic pictures, they are out of luck.

Browsing our archives, it seems that, for whatever reason, readers were asked to send photos of their loved ones – not boy or girlfriends, not husbands and wives, but their dogs!

Before we take a look at these, let us consider St Valentine – who he was and what he represented.

He was a priest or bishop in the Roman Empire who was martyred for his faith.

His name has always been associated with 'courtly love'.

In these days of gender equality and a lot more regulations, it is probably a little harder to demonstrate courtly love than it used to be.

For a start, the onus was solely on the men.

Women just had to sit back and be courted.

The man, on the other hand, had to prove his love by deeds of derring do.

Sometimes, the object of this courtly love was otherwise spoken for.

Within the rules of courtly love, this did not mean moving in on her or trying to win her from her other lover.

No! In fact worshipping from afar gave a whole new dimension to courtly love.

Your knight (he was usually a knight in shining armour) could worship you from afar.

He could still perform these brave needs, spurred on by his love from she who would never be his.

If he was despairing and hanging his heart on a weeping willow tree, then so much the better.

The more tragic it was, the more courtly was his love.

Fortunately, times have changed and we no longer have knights in shining armour riding around the country trying to impress.

Fast forward to 2013 and it was our four-legged friends which were the object of adoration when we asked people to send in pictures of their Valentine pets.

From Bassett Hounds to Shih Tzus, readers sent in a range of photos showing how much their dogs meant to them. And we also include a school photo showing some gifts with a difference.