As many of you may have noticed I bounce a lot of ideas of my friend over at Learning Life... or ask for her to help me come up with ideas on what I can share on Tuesdays. The idea for today she had given me just a couple weeks ago and last night I asked her if it would be too much to post this after yesterday's Furry Edition to which I was assured that the combination of the two would fit nicely (of course, she's right).
5 Reasons Everyone Should Have Pets
- Pet's are wonderful companions. Ok, yes, everyone and their brother says this all the time. That doesn't make it any less true. I've watched our pets snuggle with sick children, watch over sleeping babies, guard sleeping husbands, and I even once had a cat who would give me back rubs when I was pregnant. Animals have been known to help lower blood pressure and make people just a bit more happy, this is why many nursing homes allow well behaved animals to come and visit ... and I've seen a few who actually have a cat or two on premises.
- They teach responsibility. Nope, I don't mean that trick we all fall for at some point or other ... "Mom, please let me bring fluffy home I promise I'll..." We all know that until a child is old enough to take care of a pet that they shouldn't take on all the responsibilities of pet ownership. I'm talking you go and get a small pet (or a pet you already have) and split up the responsibilities with your child or children. A few months ago we bought Peanut (just turned 5) a parakeet, she cannot take care of Fancy bird on her own. She can help us change the water and food and make sure Fancy doesn't get lonely by talking to the bird every day. The Cracker Jack's also help with Fancy bird and our other animals. We talk to the kiddos all the time about making sure we feed all the animals and keep their water clean (as well as the cage for Fancy), we make comparisons about how they'd feel if their water/food/or room was dirty or they didn't get water/food. This fosters empathy and helps the children to remember their part of the pet care jobs. We supervise and help as needed, we also show them the correct way of doing things (ie: cleaning the water dishes before refilling them).
- Pets don't tell your secrets. OK, I get it some people feel silly talking to animals or fish. But, think about it, they won't ever tell anyone (except maybe another animal) what your secrets are. You can tell them anything and all their going to do is listen, especially if you're petting them.
- They help with disabilities. Everyone thinks of seeing eye dogs when they think of animals helping those of us who are disabled. But, there are dogs who are trained (like Moragon) to help with mobility or detect seizures. There are dogs who are trained to help those with autism. And there are dogs who are trained for many other functions to help with disabilities. I've seen cats used in therapy and therapists prescribe a pet cat (to those without allergies) to people with depression. There are as many different types of service animals as there are people who need them.
- They are "free" entertainment. Of course animals cost money to take care of and depending on the animal that can be either a little or a lot of money each month. And yet, I have spent hours laughing at my cat chasing bread ties. Caught the dogs doing the silliest things that have had me in stitches for days every time I thought about it. Watched Fancy bird hang upside down like a bat from the top of the cage. And gazed at fish swimming in circles for hours on end like many people watch a television screen. There are tons of videos on YouTube of animals doing silly things especially when they think no one is watching. If you already own a pet (even fish and lizards) watch it quietly one day and you'll be amazed with what you see. As I type this right now Trixie cat is playing with a Dora doll while Fancy cheers him on.
Not everyone is willing or able to go out and purchase a dog or cat, perhaps it's allergies or perhaps where you live won't allow them. Get a gold fish or a parakeet (relatively small investments and little upkeep cost every month as long as you don't go crazy with accessories) and introduce them to your child. Let your child/ren help you name them and assign a chore to each child for your pet (rotate who feeds the animal on which days and put a chart next to the cage/bowl/food). You'll be amazed at what you find and impressed in how long your child remains interested in that pet when you make them a PART of that animal's care.
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Check back tomorrow for my review of Fundamentals of Homeschooling by Ann Lahrson-Fisher.