Among the most charming pictures that hang on the walls of the memory of grown-ups are those in connection with their childhood pets. This is the reason why I believe all kids should experience having a pet to keep, unless there is a serious problem. It’s an important part of a child’s growing-up process.
If you’re observant of human and animal relationships, it won’t be long before you come into conclusion that there’s a mystic kinship between a child and his or her pet, especially a dog, a sharing or affection and confidence that’s unique. A boy’s dog could be his best pal, his closest friend, his comforter when tears come, and his most attentive listener to whispered secrets. At the price of a dog tag and a bowl or food and water each day, a pet is the biggest bargain in any kid’s life. Owning a pet entails certain rights as well as obligations on the part of the owner. It’s his right to pat it and romp with it when both of them feel playful. But it’s also his job to see that it gets fed everyday, that its drinking bowl contains a sufficient supply of fresh water, that the sand box (for cats) is cleaned and replaced with clean sand regularly, that it’s given a bath regularly, and watch it for fleas to be removed from its fur.
Through pets, children learn the cycle of life, such as reproduction, birth and even how to deal with loss and death. Children learn to express love in candid ways, and even learn to love unconditionally. They learn to become more understanding and sensitive to the needs of others just by having a pet. Children, even as young as they are, also experience stress. Having a pet around helps reduce the feeling of stress. Just see to it that the pets are properly house trained and it will be a comfort to have one around.
Indeed, having a pet and caring for its needs is a wonderful way for a child to learn responsibility, respect, and love for other living creatures.