As a young girl, I had several dogs and loved each of them greatly. I remember having a bulldog, a few mixed breeds, and when I was about five years old… I had a Cocker Spaniel. Her name was Princess and she was a wonderful dog! She had babies with a Poodle and we kept two of them, and I remember one specifically that we named Macho Man. Those dogs brought me so much joy as a child, and I have fond memories of playing with them in the back yard. As an only child, they really were some of my very best friends.
As a teenager, I had a Poodle named Chloe, and she was certainly a wonderful companion through the turbulent years of puberty and teenage drama. Today we have two cats, and my boys love both of them so much. We have also lost a long-loved cat, as well as one that we found and tried to nurse to health that was hit by a car. It taught our boys that life is precious, and we still go to our old house from time to time and visit their graves.
We can’t wait to eventually get a dog too! Right now we rent, and while unfortunate, rental companies don’t make it easy to own pets and we are limited by the number of animals we can have. In the meantime, their grandparents have a beautiful Hound rescue dog that they love spending time with and playing with, not to mention aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents who all own animals that we’ve grown to love.
"The role a pet can play will change greatly over the course of a person’s life. Even with an active lifestyle and a large amount of responsibility, pets can prove to
The role a pet can play will change greatly over the course of a person’s life. Even with an active lifestyle and a large amount of responsibility, pets can prove to be invaluable. While they might be an active companion in young adulthood, or a long-time friend that helps to ward off feelings of loneliness as a middle-aged or elderly owner, there is one thing that’s certain: children can benefit from pets greatly. From learning to care for them and own responsibilities, to having someone to play with every day… the value that they bring to children is immense. Even helping to save them from euthanasia or a rescue shelter can teach children so much about what it means to contribute to the cause of animal protection.
A study led by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that children living in homes with dogs are healthier on numerous accounts. “Children with early dog contact seem to have fewer respiratory infectious symptoms and diseases, especially ear infections, and needed a shorter course of antibiotics.” Pet ownership of dogs seemed to give children a sturdier infection resistance. A comparable result was determined with household cats as well. “Cat ownership also showed a protective effect on infants, but not as strong as dogs.”
"Pet ownership of dogs seemed to give children a sturdier infection resistance. A comparable result was determined with household cats as well. “Cat ownership also showed a protective effect on infants, but not as strong as dogs.”
Furthermore, research completed by the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Pediatrics concluded that, “Exposure to dogs in infancy – especially around the time of birth – can actually influence children’s immune development and reduce the likelihood of certain allergic diseases [such as eczema and asthma].” It seems that there is a real link to animal ownership and physical health, not to mention mental health.
According to Gabrielle Feldman of the Drake Center of Veterinary Care, socialization with animals at an early age can help them to incorporate care skills and compassion characteristics. A study by the American Humane Association done on pets in the school classroom revealed that teachers steadily observed the advancement of “sympathy, empathy, responsibility, compassion for living things, [and] loving caretaking” in children’s exchanges with the pets. Owning an animal as a companion is believed to also improve their owners’ mental health and lower the possibility of anxiety and stress, particularly in children, as well. “Having a pet dog in the home was associated with a decreased probability of childhood anxiety,” a study completed by Center for Disease Control and Prevention found.
These are just the regular benefits. Trained animal companions are thought to improve the lives of countless individuals with panic attacks, PTSD, and other mental issues that people often suffer from. Trained animals can even sense these situations coming on in their owners, and will act to assist them before the episodes even begin. They will avoid going near places that they know will potentially be dangerous for their owners to be near, such as a marching band for those that struggle with PTSD or large crowds that might bring on an attack for their owners.
While all of these results potentially call for additional study, they definitely build a strong case for the beneficial effects pet ownership can have on adults and children alike. If you were raised having a cherished childhood pet, odds are you are full aware of this and know it to be accurate. Could it be time for you and your kids to take a trip down to the shelter and adopt a furry friend? If you are able to, it will be worth every bit of the work that it requires.
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