Do children need pets? – Part 4

For human beings, there is a range of needs. First there are physical needs, such as air, water, food, and security, to name the obvious. Secondly there are needs that wouldn’t be considered as vital, but are still important. These include relationships, emotional connections, friendships, the feeling of belonging. This is not an inclusive list, but you get the idea of where I am going. Having a pet is not what I would consider to be a need. However, I feel like it is important to a well-rounded childhood.

Going back to the secondary needs I listed in the opening paragraph, having a pet will give you another relationship in your life. Many of us recall with fondness the memories of a life with our childhood pet. Dogs, cats, turtles, frogs, ducks, chickens, horses, pigs, cows, birds or whatever made their spot in our lives as we cared for them.

Animals teach us an important fact about relationships and love. It does not always have to be solely about you. My experience comes mostly from relationships with dogs. I can say that I have always received more attention and devotion from a dog than most other relationships in my life. I won’t go so far as to say more than from my wife as I am not that crazy.

Children develop a special bond with their pets. They get to experience a piece of life through this common bond. Pets show their excitement in a variety of ways, often mirroring a child’s expression of joy. Watching a pet and a child respond to each other can be a joyful event worth the time to capture.

Also, having a pet teaches a child about the realities of a life on this planet. No one lives forever, even your favorite pet. Seeing your pet become sick or even to die is not an easy experience for anyone, especially a child. But this is a reality all of us will face in our own lives and seeing a pet through this broadens our knowledge.

Pets can also explain some of the things we find difficult to put into words. My children got their first full fledged education on sex by watching our Labrador Retriever as we bred her two summers ago. They saw enough of everything to make their family life classes at school less traumatic. Also, they were blessed to have the honor of watching the miracle of life as our pet delivered nine puppies later that summer.

My daughter, who has a precious love in her heart, found it quite easy to spread this beautiful gift over nine little lives. Who can say what her attention meant to these little puppies and their development into the adult dogs they will become. The original question was do children need pets. But I want to ask do pets need children. I think they do, because children often give them more time and attention.

To conclude, I will say having a pet when you are a child is important, because you learn how to live with animals. Animals are all around us and the ability to deal with them is a skill we all need to develop. I find myself wanting to pet every dog I see, simply because my life has been blessed by the joy of having a dog. Pets may not be needed in a child’s life, but not having them is a missed blessing.

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