Reasons to Let Your Child Have a Pet
If you have children, I can almost guarantee that you’ve heard their pitch as to why they should have a dog, cat, fish, horse, or whatever other living creature their little hearts desire. Of course, some people simply cannot have a dog due to their living situations or lifestyles (i.e. no yard, living in an apartment, allergies, working long hours away from home, not enough money, etc.) and that is understandable.
However, whether you can or can’t give in to their pleas just yet, there are some valid reasons why you may want to explore your options. Pets are actually good for your children! Let me explain.
The first thing that gave me a true sense of responsibility, companionship, and compassion, was having my very own dog when I was ten years old. We had just moved into our very first house with a yard and a pool and we were finally capable of providing a good home for a loving fur baby. My mother had her heart set on an Old English Sheepdog, while I wanted a Labrador Retriever.
Needless to say, my mother was the boss and so we got a tiny blue-eyed ball of gray and white fur. I was not in a place to argue or complain because at that time I was simply excited to have a pet of my very own to love and care for. We named him Blue. He was the best friend I could ever have hoped for and he taught me so much about life and love.
When children are exposed to pets, such as man’s best friend, they take on a whole new sense of responsibility and consideration for something other than themselves. They also learn about how to truly experience compassion and love for something other than an inanimate object like a video game or a fancy gadget like so many kids today are obsessed with.
Parents should model for children how to care for and handle a dog properly and should teach them the dos and don’ts of pet etiquette along the way. Children should help with the dog-related chores like picking up the poop, bathing, walking, playing/socializing, etc.
While the child performs all of these chores, he or she is bonding with the dog and developing important lifelong character traits such as compassion and responsibility. At the same time, the love and loyalty felt by the child will envelop their entire being and they will be grateful for you, their parent, for allowing them to experience one of life’s most precious gifts.
So, the next time you are considering that new addition to the family, remember that it is setting your child/children up for a fulfilling experience that will likely shape their future for the better.
I’m a fifth-year middle school teacher, retired roller derby skater, fiancé to the love of my life, and a full-time dog mom. Growing up in Southern California, I wanted to be a writer. I typically enjoyed writing poetry, but I also dabbled in short stories and I once started a novel (although I never finished it). Now that I have found my voice again after all these years, I hope that writing about my life experiences can somehow help, inspire, teach, or even just bring joy to someone who needs it.