I have always had pets. Growing up, my earliest memories include animals. Walking ‘Jack’ our old Labrador, riding friends ponies, playing with our guinea pigs and countless other animal encounters. So many lovely memories and the majority of them include our family pets in some way. My family are animal lovers through and through, in fact I couldn’t imagine our lives without our pets. I wholeheartedly believe that having pets while growing up has major benefits for children.
- Animals can bring less confident children out of their shells and even help them mix with others. Dogs are a great ice breaker, not just for kids! They can help children to become more aware of the needs of others, and as a consequence be less introspective and more socially competent.
- There can be a physical benefit from owning a pet, such as a dog. Under supervision, children love to run round with dogs and play with them. Keeping healthy and burning off some energy at the same time!
- Pet owning can help to improve a child’s cognitive function. The child may want to learn about their dog; understand how to feed the animal and perhaps have the experience of attending appointments with the vet.
- I think one of the main benefits is the development of a sense of responsibility. Learning to look after another living being and be responsible (depending on their age) for the care of their animal.
- Provide a vehicle for learning about life; pregnancy, illness, death.
- Learn respect for another living creature.
We have two dogs at home and Baby adores them. Although she is almost 19 months old, she never plays with them unsupervised. When Baby is downstairs, the dogs are on the other side of a stair gate. I trust my dogs, but I couldn’t live with myself if she poked one and they retaliated (which I am sure they wouldn’t, but I would rather be safe than sorry!). As she gets older and more reliable, then they will start to spend more time together.
We rescued our dogs and even though dogs can be an expense, our lives would be darker without them. To ensure we have no nasty surprises in the form of vets bills, we make sure we have dog insurance. Which gives us peace of mind, if the worst should happen to either of them.
Did you have pets growing up? Do your children have pets now?