You’ve heard the saying, “A dog is a man’s best friend,” well, “ANY dog is Natalia’s best friend.”
When it comes to puppies… Natalia is like a laser-guided missile… she locks on the second she sees one and shouts “PUPPY!!!” Even the big ones… This is hilarious because when she sees a smaller breed of dog she associates the size of the dog with it being a ‘baby’ puppy.
Due to this, we have been working on teaching Natalia that she needs to ask the owner for permission first before anything else. Every now and then she will ask, and most dog owners are ecstatic to see the enjoyment they see as she is petting their dog.
The bond between Natalia’s own dog, Puppy (yes, our dog’s name is Puppy), compared to other dogs has changed greatly over the past year. When I first met Natalia, she wanted NOTHING to do with Puppy, like, I can’t really remember her wanting to interact or play with the dog at all. It’s not the Puppy’s fault either, but I really believe she doesn’t realize half the time how big she is now and still assumes’ she can fit in my girlfriends’ lap…
Watching their relationship change and grow has been great! Just the other day she was reading a book to Puppy while sharing her blanket. It is hilarious to watch Natalia try to give commands to Puppy, like Sit, No or Off…. Which is typically Natalia using a very LOUD voice, which Puppy promptly ignores and just happily does what she wants instead.
Anytime I pick Natalia up at school she is eager to see Mom and Puppy and is constantly wanting to know where both are and what they are doing. Mom a little more so than Puppy… But Dad isn’t even mentioned!! /tear I believe wholeheartedly that over time their relationship will continue to grow until they are inseparable.
Pets are a great thing for kids, it gives them a distraction or a buddy to play with… That will eventually turn into them taking over some of the chores (Water, Food, Exercise) and teaching them to be responsible for something else other than themselves.
They are also able to develop a unique relationship with your child, albeit a non-verbal one, your child can communicate via their feelings or emotions… Which I must say animals are excellent at picking up on feelings and emotions and responding to them in kind. This gives the child a sense of emotional stability that can allow them to overcome critical moments they may be dealing with. Animals are great at offering us unconditional support because they have no prejudices…All they just want is to love on you.
Like anything though, Pets will pass away at one point or another. In a way, Pets can bridge the gap of what ‘death’ or ‘birth’ signify when we try to convey those concepts to our kids. When a pet passes away, it is followed by a great time of pain for all parties involved, BUT it also can be a very important learning experience for children. They can see how us, parents, handle the bereavement process and learn from it for a time when they will have to deal with the delicate of issue of death.
Pets are amazing, I think every family should have one, assuming you understand the ALL responsibilities that come with owning one. Pets AREN’T things, toys, they are like your kids and need constant love, care, and protection. Treasure the relationship that comes with owning a pet and it will serve you and your kids well in life.