I’m sure that when most people think back, they can remember a childhood pet. Whether it was a dog, cat, rabbit, or stick insect, that little critter had a place in our hearts. Children seem to have a natural empathy with their pets, and, especially in the case of dogs, the pets reciprocate.
Nowadays, owning a pet is more complicated than it was years ago. Dogs back then were allowed to roam the streets, so the hardest thing some owners ever did was to open the front door. Also, if someone was scratched by a cat or nipped by a dog, they never considered running to lawyers in an attempt to prosecute, and gain as much compensation as they could get away with (I am, of course, only referring to very minor injuries). There is also the cost of modern treatments to consider. In the age of the internet, we have access to online pet prescriptions which have helped keep the cost down. But the pet’s healthcare can be expensive nonetheless.
Owning a pet does have benefits to a family with children, here are a few reasons why.
Children learn by having some responsibility for the pet. Yes, it comes naturally for the first couple of weeks before the novelty wears off. The cuter the pet, the more eager the kids are to please, and play with it. A little puppy, for example, is far better than a little brother or sister in a child’s eyes. They will take good care of the pet for the first two or three weeks until they become familiar with it, then little jobs will slip. It’s not good to be hard on the kids, their behavior is quite normal. Before you buy the pet you should be aware that the ultimate responsibility for its welfare is yours. Just a little reminder every now and then that the hamster needs feeding or the dog needs brushing is all they need.
A puppy, if that is your choice, will provide companionship for a child, even when they are tired and are a bit fed up it tugging at their socks. Think back to your favourite pet; it was a good feeling. If a pet is introduced to the family when the child is at a young age, it we be as much a member of the family, in that child’s eyes, as anyone else is.
If the family pet is a dog, everyone can benefit from the daily walks. Yes, soon enough you will be arguing over who took it out last, and whose turn it is now, but everyone will get a little more exercise in the long run.
The biggest drawback with owning a pet, is their lifespan. Most are considerably shorter than ours, therefore, at some point, heartbreak is virtually assured. The time will come when a grave will need to be dug in the garden for the little hamster, or maybe the goldfish will be flushed to a watery grave. Even this experience has benefits. The child will learn that nothing lives forever. It also gives them a chance to get a new pet. Yes, the grieving will be over quite quickly and a visit to the pet shop will ensue.
There are few drawbacks to a child owning a pet of their own. Vicious dogs are obviously a bad choice for a family pet, but a little hamster, a mongrel puppy, or a fluffy kitten can only be good for a child’s happiness. Get a pet today, you are just as excited as the little ones really.