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CHILDREN AND PETS
We promote parental involvement, open discussion, and lots of planning
before getting any pet…
…it can help make pet ownership a positive experience for everyone in the family.
Pets are an integral part of the lives of many families. 40% of us will have already shared our home with a pet of some type before we start grade school and nearly 90% of us will have some type of pet in our home at some point in our life. Children love pets! Their love of pets is passed on to them at a very early age, from their parents who themselves usually have a real admiration for nature. When a pet is included in a child’s life they offer companionship and comfort and they help build family bonds, they provide nurturing and they help with learning. Studies show that children with pets are more active. Pets can be a magnet for making new friends and therefore assist in developing social skills. The list of benefits that pets give to children and their families is endless.
For years, parents have known that pets and children are a natural fit. Parents have never needed studies done to tell them that children raised in a home with companion animals excel in all areas of development including social, physical, cognitive and emotional.
It is likely that at some point in a child’s life he or she will ask their parents for a new pet. Whether it is a first-time pet or if it is to add a second pet to the family, taking on the responsibility of a new animal is a decision that needs to be given a lot of thought, prior to making that type of commitment.
Many times, parents with good intentions, encourage children to become a "pet owner". While many children make wonderful caregivers, every pet needs to become a part of the family. It needs to be appreciated, enjoyed and included as part of the family by everyone living in the home. Responsibility for the pet ultimately needs to have some degree of parental supervision. This is very important for both the child's and the pet's health and safety.
Choosing the right type of pet for your child is something that certainly needs a lot of consideration. While all animals can bring a great deal of liveliness and excitement into a home, not every species of animal is a perfect fit for everyone in the home. Choosing the type of pet that will fit really depends on your level of experience with caring for animals, your expectations, your level of commitment, etc.
After you have decided that a pet would be a wonderful addition to your family, you will need to choose either a traditional or a non-traditional pet. All animals have the same basic needs but every species also has its’ own unique requirements and prerequisites if is to thrive happily. Certain species are kept more for display purposes, some are anti-social while others typically enjoy human interaction. Some need to be kept in multiples while others prefer to live alone.
Some of the animals we raise are considered by many to be more of a specialist’s pet. They are primarily kept by experienced hobbyists as display animals. Some of these species do require an advanced level of commitment. Although many of our specialty pets do go to live in homes where they are enjoyed by all the family members of all ages, being that they are not "traditional pets”, most require to be cared for by experienced animal caregivers. Therefore, not every species of animals that we raise would be our first choice when choosing a new pet for younger children. That does not mean that any animal won’t be loved by a young child but that the child will likely need a lot more help from a parent while they are caring for it.
Without knowing much about your child or your personal situation we can only exchange ideas based on our own experiences and the feedback we get from other parents. Ultimately, the type of pet that you choose needs to accommodate your individual circumstances and lifestyle so, we can not make the decision on what pet you should get, for you.
When a parent calls and has already done a lot of research, he or she often sounds quite excited at the idea of getting a new pet. (Sometimes they want the pet more for themselves than for their child but are a little shy to admit it.) This is a good thing. When parents are involved, we feel comforted knowing that a pet will probably be going to a home to become a part of the family where it will receive a lot of attention.
If a child loses interest in a pet.
Sometimes we ‘adults’ need be mindful of and appreciate that even for a child, life gets busy. Sometimes if it becomes noticeable that a child has lost interest in caring for the pet there could be a lot of things going on in the child’s life but this seldom means that he or she has stopped loving it. After all, pets become a member of the family and they can become your child’s best friend. When we feel that a child is losing interest in the pet, parents need to intervene and they may need to care for the pet temporarily until they find other ways to make the child more aware and refocused on caring for the pet. Sometimes including the pet in more family activities works (we need to be creative).
If things do not go the way you had hoped, you will need to be fully committed to caring for the animal for the remainder of the animal’s life. It is a big commitment. So, before committing to getting an animal for your child be sure it is the type of animal you will enjoy too.
-Pets are not for rent. If it does not work out, you can’t bring them back-
-Animals are not disposable, once you have them, you have them for life-