Do children need pets?   

By Jo Ann Wentzel

There are at least four reasons why children should have pets. Children should have pets for a great companion that is always there. Pets teach responsibility. Third pets are the perfect confidant. Pets can be good teachers also.

When children are young, they are a full time job. Mom and Dad have lots to do to raise them and promote their welfare. Parents often have jobs as well. The parents need to fill their days with mundane things that do not always leave them time to play with their children. Some parents seem to be better than others at carving out time for play with their children. Even the best parent cannot play as much as the children would wish them to play. That is where the pet comes in.

Although, I believe pets were not put on this earth simply to amuse us humans; they really do help. Pets will be ready at a moment’s notice to get into the act and begin to have fun. They do not tire very quickly either unless they are very old. Most pets love the attention of children since they are closer to their size and closer to the ground. That makes them much easier to relate to.

Dogs will play fetch and run with kids till both are exhausted. Cats will enjoy chasing a tiny ball or string if the child moves it for them. Even birds, hamsters, and fish can provide hours of entertainment which kids can enjoy when they are having a quieter time.

Of course, the opportunity for teaching responsibility goes along with owning pets. Teaching children responsibility at an early age is wonderful for preparing them for being teens and eventually grownups. They might be expected to walk the dog or feed the cat or fish. When older their job may be to wash the dog or cat. Maybe they can pick up the yard after they have gone potty or clean out the litter box. If they do these jobs be sure to help them or supervise them washing their hands very well afterwards.

I have witnessed the role as confidant a dog can provide when I worked with at risk kids because that was a safe person to confide in. They can tell them anything and won’t be yelled at or criticized by the pet. They can even practice difficult speeches to parents or others when they have made a mistake. Pets do not judge.

One thing pets are good at is teaching us a great deal about life. For example, their lesson on loyalty is unsurpassed. They are always there for us. They never get mad at us. They accept us just as we are and love us unconditionally. That probably should be another reason to own pets, their unconditional love. They are model citizens when it comes to being faithful and a good friend.

Cats have taught me about good parenting. Dogs have taught me about being happy to be alive. Pets are great teachers.

Kids having pets means parents showing kids what pets need to be healthy and happy. Never say ‘owning pets’ because they are living beings and God just gives them to us to take care of; no one can own another living being in my opinion. We must stress to our children that living things must be respected and given care. We should show by example that we love and appreciate our pets, never ignoring them. We must teach kids responsibility and how to love another and properly care for that friendship. Never, ever allow children to abuse or harm a pet in any way. That lesson is vital to develop a respect of life. Yes, in my opinion, kids should have pets.


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