This past weekend was a tough one, because we had to put our sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to sleep. Her name was Islay, pronounced “I-la,” and she was almost 9 years old. Plagued with health problems most of her life, we knew this day was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier. She was the kindest, most loyal dog, and our two oldest kids loved her (our baby is only three weeks old but we are so happy they at least got to meet). When I was pregnant with my first child, Scottie, my doctor told me there was a high probability that she had Down Syndrome. Needless to say, my husband and I were very upset, and chose to do a special blood test to give us a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For the next two weeks as we waited for the results, Islay never left my side, and would lick away the tears streaming down my face. We were fortunate that Scottie ended up being healthy, but I will never forget how Islay comforted me – one of the many times over the years she just knew I needed extra love.
There’s nothing like having a pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, fish, bunny – having something to love is the basis of being a human, and it teaches us so many life lessons. Losing a pet might be one of the hardest things you’ll go through, but it will not stop us from welcoming other dogs to our family in the future. Here are a few reasons why I think all kids should have a pet.
- PETS HELP TEACH KIDS ABOUT WORK ETHIC. No matter what type of pet you have, you can give them chores surrounding the animal. It can be their job to feed them, walk them, clean the tank, and so on. As parents we all know one of the most important things we can do for our kids is give them jobs.
- PETS TEACH KIDS ABOUT COMPASSION. Taking care of something other than ourselves teaches us to be gentle, kind, and loving.
- PETS MAKE KIDS HAPPY. What’s better than getting a lick from a dog or a nuzzle from a cat? And seeing the joy an animals brings to my kids’ faces is worth any kind of trouble that comes with it (chewing, shedding, pooping – okay stop reading this part!)
- PETS TEACH KIDS ABOUT LIFE. With the passing of our Islay, we were able to teach our kids about life, death and heaven, in a way that made them feel good. There’s no anxiety surrounding death, just thoughts about a happy place where everyone can be together again someday.
- PETS TEACH KIDS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. No one is more loyal than a pet – especially a dog – and no matter what happens, they always love you. Kids will learn so much about how to love their families unconditionally, because that’s what a pet is. They’re family.