Growing up with pets

Refer to an earlier post if you want to learn about the zoo that I live in, but now I want to share why I think it is important for [my] kids to grow up with pets.

I understand that not everyone likes animals. I know quite a few of those kind of people, actually. And I have learned to respect that. But, I am not one of them. And if you know my mom, you’d understand why.

I grew up with a mother who cared more for animals than *most* people. So, naturally, I had an attraction to animals as well. Growing up we always had a dog. Literally, there was never a time that we didn’t have a dog, and usually more than 1 at a time. We had lots of cats (inside and out) at different periods of time, 2 horses, a goat, a turtle, fish, rabbits, hamsters, we pretty much had every ordinary household pet that a person could have. It wasn’t quite the zoo that I live in now, since there weren’t as many 2 legged animals running around (yep, talking about my kids.) And a good majority of the animals were kept outside since we had 2 acres of land. But, whether they were inside or outside, those pets were a part of our family. I don’t think as a child I appreciated them as much, but as an adult, I am thankful for all the experiences I had with those animals.

Now, don’t get me wrong, even though I love our pets, that doesn’t mean I jump every time my kids say they want a new one. I’ve drawn the line at rabbit, hamsters and guinea pigs because I don’t feel that my children are old enough to take care of those pets (rodents, if you will) yet.

Which brings me to why I think pets can be a great addition to the family:

  1. Unconditional Love. This may be the most important. I remember when I was young I had a bookmark that said “When nobody else cares, my dog still loves me.” If that ain’t the dang truth! No matter how irritated I get with my pets, they still love me and want to give me kisses and snuggles all day long! Try snuggling with your kid or significant other when they’re mad at you. I’ll give you a heads up, it’s not fun. My pets, whether it be my childhood dog or my cat now, always seem to find me and give me the love I need when I’m sad. Humans are mean. Pets are genuine and loving, 24/7!
  2. Responsibility. One of the easiest chores to dish out in our home is feeding the animals. First off, its very simple even for the youngest to do. Second, I just use a little “Do you want them to DIE?!” when they argue with me and that usually works. What? It works! And not only feeding but grooming, cleaning up their messes, and letting them outside, are all responsibilities of having pets. I do not want to take care of another animal right now. When my kids can feed our dogs without complaining or clean the liter boxes on their own, then I know they are responsible enough for a SMALL animal. So far, they have not proved themselves worthy!
  3. Protection. We’ve all heard the stories of dogs who have saved kids from burning houses, or cats that have alerted when something is wrong. 9 times out of 10, these stories at 100% true. I’m not saying all pets will be life savers. But with that unconditional love, usually comes protection. Our pets love us so much and don’t want anything to happen to us or our kids. In our home now, our Yorkie-Chihuahua is more likely to protect us from an intruder than our Pit bull, but at least her bark might scare them away first! *palm to face* But in all seriousness, I know without a doubt, that if something was happening to my family, my dogs would do anything they could to save us!
  4. Health Benefits. Unless you’re allergic, having pets can be beneficial to your physical and emotional health. Studies have shown that loving a pet can lower stress and depression, blood pressure and cholesterol increase exercise and oxytocin levels, and much more. Taking your dog out for a walk is beneficial for both you and Fido. And bonus, a built in exercise partner!

With all that being said, if you aren’t an animal person, please don’t get a pet. Having a pet has multiple benefits, but if you are not going to give it the care and love it deserves, not only will you not see the benefits, but you will have robbed the pet from a better life. What is the point of a pet who is locked in a cage 24/7 never to be looked at or played with? Let it be a part of your family. If you don’t want to do that, then you might want to reconsider your idea of a pet.

So there you have it, my opinions on why pets are so important, especially for kids! You can clap or agree to disagree on this one. Maybe I’m just bias. All I know is my life has been filled with more love than I could have ever imagined, thanks to the love of my pets!

And remember,
Adopt! Don’t Shop.