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The Benefits of Pets

Children love their pets—and for good reason. Creatures large and small teach, delight, and offer a special kind of companionship.

Everyone knows that kids love animals. A quick search through your child’s bedroom will remind you just how densely imaginary critters populate the storybooks, movies, music, toys, decor, and clothes of childhood.

When my kids were growing up, we had two labs padding beside them on every adventure and later we added two min pins. Over the years we have had many different pets – 4 dogs, 9 fishes, 1 turtle, 3 snails, 7 chickens, and 8 rabbits. I planned all along to make animals a part of my children’s life, their natural zeal and passion for critters of all kinds has been so beneficial to their development. I counted on the commonsense idea that having pets around would help teach my daughter and son responsibility, and maybe empathy. But I also learned that the presence of animals in our house helped foster their emotional, cognitive, social, and physical development.

• Pets Help with Learning
• Pets Provide Comfort
• Pets Encourage Nurturing
• Pets Keep Kids Healthy
• Pets Build Family Bonds

A pet is often the focus of activities that families do together. Everyone takes the dog for a walk, or shares in grooming and feeding him, or gets down on the floor and plays with him. There are even benefits from simply watching a dog chase his tail or a fish swim in his tank. Spending time like this offers the wonderful potential of slowing down the hectic pace of modern life. If someone asks what you’ve been doing, you might respond “nothing.” And in this era of overscheduled children and parents who are constantly on the go, “nothing” can be an important thing to do.

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