Thursday, April 28, 2016
To start, a child with a pet regularly exercises compassion; they learn to love and care for something other than themselves and their immediate family. Understanding that their pet has an inner world of their own, with complex feelings and emotions, can be an invaluable tool in gaining emotional intelligence and can help children grow up to be kind and empathetic adults.
Families who have pets naturally tend to lead a more active lifestyle. The healthy habits kids learn at a young age, like getting out for regular walks with Fido, stick with them throughout their whole lives.
Children who grow up with pets also have a unique opportunity to take on a special kind of responsibility. Caring for a pet teaches them that the most enjoyable things in life often require commitment and a lot of work — but that the benefits are immeasurable.
Furthermore, you can imagine how therapeutic it could be for a special needs child (or any child for that matter) who might struggle to communicate or have a hard time connecting with his or her peers to experience the completely non-judgmental and unconditional love of a family pet.
Many of us who grew up with a beloved pet remember how much we loved them and we fondly cherish their memory. We might remember how we changed their lives or what we trained them to do, but perhaps the most amazing part of growing up with a pet is not what we teach them, but what they teach us.
Coordinator: Humane Education