Friday, May 22, 2009

Come on; have a heart!

Well, you know I say this to you every now and then. Go adopt a dog or cat (or rabbit or hedgehog or potbellied pig!) from a shelter, please. Did you know that between three and four million dogs and cats in the United States are euthanized every year for lack of adoptive homes?

AND did you know how really, really good it is for your children to grow up with pets? Here are some examples:

• Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
• Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.
• Kids with pets get outside more- to go for walks, run, and play- and enjoy all the associated health benefits.
• Pet owners require fewer doctor’s visits.
• Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.
• Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”; to practice being caregivers.
• Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.
• Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.
• Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.
• Pets offer security and stability. Nearly 70% of children confide in their pets, confident their secrets will not be betrayed.
• Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness, and anxiety.
• And pets provide a natural gateway into the animal kingdom- love for one’s pet as a child often translates into an adult belief that the relationship between humans and animals is one of mutual support.

I had not thought of having pets as acceptable "parent play" for boys before. That's really a very positive benefit.

The above list is from Care2 Make a Difference.


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