Every home needs a pet. I think it's what makes a house a home. Many of us grew up with dogs, cats, maybe an array of farm animals. As soon as a child is old enough to talk they usually ask for a pet. Every little girl wants a cuddly, furry kitten and every little boy a dog to throw a stick for and to help explore the neighborhood.
We had promised our daughter when she was in the first grade that if she received all A's her first semester we'd get a dog. The day she came home with her report card (with straight A's) her first words were "when are we going to the animal shelter to get me dog." I've always believed that pets can be beneficial for children as they provide love, comfort, and loyalty as well as give children something to care for beyond themselves.
Just the simple act of walking or feeding a pet reminds children of what it means to be responsible. They can often become a buddy for small children wanting to play with something that loves them without question. Pets teach children respect for living things as well as al lthe many facets of how to care for something by attending to needs to taking them for walk, giving a bath and much more. When you are first thinking of getting a pet for a child take into consideration the following:
- What type of animal will fit your home the best?
- Can you afford the animal's requirements, such as food, toys, vet visits, shots, etc?
- Do you have time for a pet?
- Will your child lose interest in this animal requiring more time and effort on your part?
- Can arrangements be made for the pet's care if your family is out of town?
- Does anyone in the household have allergies?
- Is your home a suitable temperature for the type of pet such as reptiles or fish
- Are children in the home old enough to treat an animal properly and understand that they are living creatures and not toys?
Regardless of what type of pet you are looking at for your children, make sure to check out a local shelter or SPCA. Saving a pet can be a great lesson for children as well as saving an animal's life. We've found some fabulous members of our family there.
Here's wishing you a world class day!