There is huge attention given
to pets and animals these days which is revealing so much deeper understanding
of how animals connect well with humans in ways which were never imagined.

A child getting used to having
a pet or loving animals will always grow up with valuable attributes which are
produced by this unique relationship only reserved for the four or two legged
friends.

Having a family pet teaches
respect, kindness and sharing as well as the added bonus of alternative
entertainment. Ask a child to go to the park, to play football or to swing on
the swings and the novelty may wear off, but ask them to come out with the dog
and their energy seems unending. The animal ~ child relationship expands their
minds to having a friend and also acts as a bridge between how they view the
world towards others. It is one of the easiest ways to educate a child in the
world of interaction.

Many children will adopt a
mothering instinct over the pet, and find comfort petting and stroking it,(in
itself a great process of building up calm and secure feelings), some will view
it as their own personal friend, something they relate to because in their mind
it belongs to them or they can talk to it with no fear of anything but
unconditional love in return. Very few children who grow up with pets will
become spiteful or cruel towards animals as their own pet will always be in the
back of their minds in the event of meeting a new one. The wide variety of pets
do not have to stop at dogs or cats, animals do require work and in a normal
household may not be a practical addition, but even a goldfish or rabbit, or a
hamster can be a suitable alternative. Of course there is also the ability now
to take children to animal parks and farms, which proves a great learning
experience; if owning your own pet is not a feasible option. There are even
websites where owners who need their dogs walked advertise and this can provide
exactly the same excitement in a child’s life even though it is not their own
for most of the time.

Pets and animals encourage
children to talk, a child even before they can string sentences will often chat
in their own way to a pet or be able to say the names of a favourite animal in
a story book. They are not only reactive
to their environment but they can also provide a learning experience in their
fascinating habits and antics and every parent will know a child’s laughter and
smile will be one of the greatest gifts and rewards.

Nothing equals the sight of a
child running with a dog in a carefree safe environment and a dog or cat can
sometimes be the companion to a shy or less confident child encouraging them to
talk and express themselves. But the greatest advancement is the development of
training animals to help handicapped or emotionally abused children. Charities
and societies have been set up to breed and train suitable animals to work with
some families to help children in their everyday life and it has proved to be a
success. This is also true with some care focussed on the elderly.

There are boundaries of course,
animals are in effect wild and have not the ability to sometimes know their
strengths or can react in their own way if something upsets them, so care and
vigilance is always a requisite. Even the most placid animal sleeping may not
be too happy to be woken by an over enthusiastic playmate. Animals need their
space too so just piling lots of them into a smaller home thinking it will end
up as a harmonious area can be a fragile balance to maintain. A pet should not
be bought in haste either, a Christmas or birthday gift may sound a great idea
at the time, but care and attention of a pet will become part of the necessary
routine and so discussion and pre-thinking is also important.

Children find comfort in
relationships and in a world where time is precious and always under pressure,
a pet can become a great source of development for a child to understand and
find a simple source of happiness and even relaxation. Respecting animals is a
lesson for all to learn but this is greatly enhanced if the learning process is
a practical one and a pet will always reward back but whatever we teach our
children will always be repeated in their thoughts later in life and respect
and kindness are fundamentals for everyone to learn.