Turn on the TV or check the latest news online and you're bound to find horror stories about animals. These incidents are the exception, not the rule, but they still cast a negative light on pets and can detract from the powerful role a pet plays in the family home. But there are countless ways animals help people of all ages.
While the bad news stories often overshadow the good news, it's no secret that animals are always making headlines for how they help people.
It's hard to ignore headlines like:
- Mama and her puppies save lost boy with Down's Syndrome
- Rescue dog saves 9-week-old baby who stopped breathing
- Cat saves diabetic owner after she collapses
- Pet rat saves family from fire
While we may not all have superhero pets who perform miraculous deeds, ask most any mom or dad with a pet about the perks of having one and they'll be able to rattle off a list. After all, there are many benefits of bringing a family pet into your life, including psychological boosts, stress reduction and even strengthening your marriage.
Families with pets know they:
- Teach Kids Responsibility
Taking care of a pet helps kids understand just what responsibility is and that your family is a team that must take care of each other. Just make sure you're not the only one feeding, cleaning up after, playing with and bathing the family pet.
- Show children the meaning of empathy
Pets have an amazing bond with kids and that special relationship is often the first time a child shows empathy toward another.
- Encourage your kids to exercise
Whether it's a simple walk around the block or playing tag in the backyard, pets are some of the best playmates a child can have and that sneaks in a lot of exercise disguised as fun.
- Can help your child be a better friend
Pets exhibit many traits that we could all learn from regardless of our ages. Understanding those traits can help your child be a better friend to her pets as well as her human friends.
- Are great educators
Pets are great listeners and that's why programs have been started that encourage your kids to read to them. Children love to read aloud to pets and, at the same time, they work on developing their oratory skills.
- Pets are fun
Plain and simple. Pets are fun to play with. They're happy and sweet. They love us unconditionally. They provide us with so many great memories. Pets bring families a lot of good times together.
There are countless ways pets are important to families. And it doesn't have to involve being saved from disaster.
How has your pet enriched your family's lives? Tell your story to other parents.