Peanut butter and jelly, birds and bees – and kids and pets. They are the perfect pair, and they can play important roles in each other’s lives. The North Shore Animal League explains that the responsibility of caring for a pet can improve a child’s self-esteem, social skills, communication skills and empathy. An estimated 4 in 10 children begin their lives with an animal as part of their family unit.
Gabriel’s Angels, Pets Helping Kids, is a Phoenix-based organization that delivers healing pet therapy to at-risk children. According to the website, empathy is “the ability to imagine how another is feeling in a particular situation, to understand why they might feel a particular way, and to respond to the person or animal with care… being able to empathize with another living being means that a child understands the person is an individual, recognizes that individuals have different thoughts and feelings–even in the same situations, and demonstrates an awareness and understanding of the common feelings that most people or animals experience.”
The organization’s 175 Therapy Teams help children communicate in a loving and safe environment, using the animal as a supportive friend.
Learning how to treat a pet with love and compassion is a precursor to becoming a compassionate and kind individual. Pets can teach life lessons, such as love, loyalty, trust, self-care, and even birth and death. A child can even improve his or her reading skills by reading to a beloved pet every day. A recent study suggested that children are even healthier when they are living with a pet!
Encanto Pet Clinic staff and veterinarians want the best for your entire family. We suggest remembering these tips:
- Do not leave small children alone with a pet.
- You are your children’s teacher when it comes to the treatment of animals – be aware of your own words, actions and level of care for your pet.
- Teach your child to pet an animal gently, with no pulling or tugging. Never try to scare an animal or make loud noises to get its attention. A pet is a living being to be respected and treated with kindness.
- Monitor pet care if your child is responsible – is the water bowl filled, does your pet have a feeding schedule, and is the pet being groomed regularly?
Most of all, bring your kids along when you visit Encanto Pet Clinic! Call us to schedule a tour of the clinic and grooming department, and our staff will explain how they work hard to keep their pet healthy and happy! Your pets will say “Thanks!”