I don’t think I know a kid who has NOT begged their parents for a puppy at one point. There are a million reasons to say no… and I get that. But I am here to tell you all the reasons you should say YES!
My family would not be complete without our sweet dog, Punky. We were blessed to find her under our Christmas tree in 2011. She is a Japanese Chin and she fits in perfectly with our crazy group.
Before Punky, we had Roxy. (also a Japanese Chin) Roxy was my dog in college and she was just the sweetest thing. She passed away peacefully when Hudson was two. After she died, it took a little time until Donnie & I were ready for another puppy. Luckily, Santa knew when it was time! 😉
We worried if Hudson was too young to have a puppy in the house. After all, Roxy was older and set in her ways. Hudson, even as a crazy toddler, didn’t phase her one bit. But we trusted our gut and everything worked out. We wanted another baby soon, so we knew we should get the puppy while we still had time to train her and giver her all our attention. By the time Mila arrived, Punky was fully-trained and ready for a new addition!
Here are just a few ways I think kids benefit by having an animal in the house:
Responsibility: A dog is a big responsibility, and Hudson knows he has to help take care of Punky, since she is technically *his* dog. It is his job to make sure she has food and water, and he even tells us when we are running low on dog food. He has learned that he can’t just leave the door to the house open, because Punky could run away. (even though at this point she just sits in the driveway and waits for someone to find her and bring her back inside, but you get the idea)
Health Benefits: A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that children who own pets have fewer allergies. Another study by The Journal of and Clinical Immunology found kids raised in homes with pets have fewer issues with asthma as well.
Nurturing Skills: I think having a pet helps teach kids how to take care of others. Hudson talks to Punky and snuggles with her. If she doesn’t jump up to see him or play with him… he will go over and ‘ask’ her what’s wrong.
Unconditional Love: Our dog is a part of our family. And just like we love each other no matter what… that is how we feel about Punky. If Punky chews up Hudson’s favorite toy, he may get upset… but he would never take it out on the dog. He may tell her she is a “bad girl!” but then he always feels guilty and goes back to her saying, “Aww, Punky.. its okay… I forgive you!” Each day before he leaves for school he gives everyone a hug & kiss, including Punky. I think the love shared with a pet is different than any other kind of love we experience. And I am happy to provide my children with that type of love.
Now I also understand there are lots of reasons not to have a pet. They are expensive at times, and if you work long hours and have no one in the home for a hours at a time, then a puppy probably isn’t a good fit for your family right now. No biggie. But if you have already been thinking about getting a pet, just do it. After the first few weeks of potty training, you will wonder what took you so long!