Why Children Need Animals

I just have to start off this post by saying that I am not an animal person. I don’t like to touch them, I don’t like to smell them, and I don’t like to take care of them.

But my children, on the other hand, adore animals. They have been asking for a dog, or snake, or parrot, for quite a while. And I almost give in every time I see a picture of a cute little puppy on Facebook that someone is trying to find a home for. But then I remember that they take just as much work as a newborn baby–maybe even more! Plus my husband reels me in every time I go off the deep end and send him 50 text messages about how we just have to have this cute puppy so-and-so is giving away. (Thank you babe!)

Even so, I am seriously starting to reconsider my anti-animal stance.

A couple weeks ago, we took a trip to my husband’s home town for the rodeo. This is actually the 3rd post in that series–“What I Learned from a Small Town Vacation.” You can click to read the other posts about Patriotism and Purity if you haven’t already.

During this trip, we spent quite a lot of time at his cousin’s house. They have at least an acre, with every kind of animal you can think of. Rabbits, goats, chickens, a dog. While we were there, my children had so much fun playing with them.

They got to milk a mommy goat and then bottle feed a one week old goat. The mom didn’t want the baby because it was born premature and sickly, so they nursed it back to health and then had to bottle feed it. It was so cute watching my children dote over it and carry it around.

And then there were the rabbits. At one point, one of the rabbits got loose and got into the goat and chicken area, and my son took it upon himself to get it back to where it belonged.

Next fall, I am seriously considering letting my son sign up for 4H and raising a rabbit for fair. Here are the reasons why:

1) Animals teach responsibility– They need to be fed, cleaned, and exercised daily. This is in fact the #1 reason why I have not wanted to get an animal for them before now. But my son will be 7 next week, and I think it is time for him to learn how to be responsible for something. I’m still thinking something very small at first, like a rabbit. And a rabbit will also be temporary since we will sell it at fair. So we can think of it like a trial run.

2) Animals teach caring– This is very similar to the first point, but on a more emotional level. An animal needs someone to care for it everyday, even if you don’t feel like it. It will teach my children to put another creatures needs above their own. I think in this day and age, everyone could use a lesson in being less selfish.

3) Animals are fun– I think this is what most people think of when they consider getting a pet. The cuteness and fun factor often outweigh the logical planning, which is why animal shelters are filled with so many unwanted pets. This is why this is the third on my list, but it is also worth considering. I know of people who’s animals have been loved like a part of their family. (I can’t foresee that happening for me, but maybe for my children.)

I’m still going to have a few months to consider before it is time to make a commitment in fall. I’d love to hear your thoughts on animals and children in the comments.

You might find me linked up to some of these blogs.

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  • http://fairyburger.com Farrah

    hahaha, I absolutely adore animals, and would so rather have pets than kids! ;P

    That being said, I wasn’t allowed to have any pets as a kid because my dad hates them. :[ I do think they would help to teach responsibility, and they are so much fun! :]

    I did eventually smuggle a stray cat I found (whilst volunteering at a homeless shelter) home during my junior year of high school, and she’s brought my mom immeasurable joy. :] It makes me feel a little better knowing that she’s keeping her company while I’m in school across the country!

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      That is nice that your mom has a cat from you. I bet she thinks of you when she sees it 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    We have a refuge for abused and abandoned dogs, and two of them have become my service dogs.

    What dogs, specifically, teach is unconditional love. They will not forsake you for someone who’s richer or better looking. YOU are your dog’s world. It’s a microcosm of our relationship with the Almighty.

    They are not automatons; they feel. They fear and hope, they have a sense of fun, and a sense of humour. And a sense of responsibility…if I am too ill to try to work…most days, now…my service dogs will pull the plug on power tools, and hide hand tools.

    Here from Messy Marriage.


    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      I had never thought of animals as teaching unconditional love. Thank you for that insight. And it sounds like your dogs sure do love and care for you.

  • Bonnie Lyn Smith

    My two Shih Tzus joined us Fall 2013. We’ve never looked back. They have been excellent therapy for my anxious/ADHD/depressed child (9) and even for the teen angst in my house. We go in and hang out with the dogs whenever we need to calm down. I love your post! Pinning! Coming to you from #EspressosofFaith via #WeddedWednesdays. Blessings!

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      In my psychology classes, I did learn that animals, specifically dogs, can be excellent therapy for children with emotional or behavioral issues. There is something about them that some people find very calming. Thank you for sharing!

  • aprilaakre

    I grew up with all different kinds of pets and we have a dog and a cat. My dog especially does take a lot of work. But I feel that he is worth all of the work he is so loving and sweet and my kids love him dearly. It is so sad to see all of the cats and dogs at shelters. We got our dog from a shelter. I grew up having rabbits, they might be a great start for your son to learn how to take care of a pet.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Yes, I think if we ever do decide to get a dog we will go to a shelter. I think a rabbit is about all I can agree to right now though 🙂 Thanks so much for your input, I’m glad that you think a rabbit is a good idea.

  • http://countingmyblessings.com/ BlessingCounter – Deb Wolf

    I am a critter lover. We’ve had dogs, bunnies, guinea pigs, birds . . . thankfully not all at the same time. I do agree that the responsibility of an animal is really good for kiddos. Thanks so much for linking up at Counting My Blessings.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Oh yes that is a lot of critters!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  • http://www.theroadtodomestication.com/ Kristen from The Road to Domes

    Great post! I would have almost any kind of animal if we could – my husband is thankful that we live in a HOA-controlled subdivision LOL I think animals for kids are a fantastic idea 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to come and link up with us over at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again on Friday!

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Great article and I totally agree. Having pets when my kids were younger helped them learn responsibility. Thanks for linking up with The Weekend Brew!

  • Rebecca

    We always had pets at our house and I know I am richer for it. Many happy memories surround my pets. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Good Morning Mondays.

  • Debbie Prater

    My son did chickens and rabbits for 4-H. It was a great experience for him and us. Growing up on a farm, I was surrounded by animals my whole life. I would recommend just keeping a couple of animals though at first before you dive in. But you won’t regret it!

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Yes, it will definitely only be one or two to get the hang of it, I think also through a 4-H type program. Thanks for your input and for stopping by and commenting!

  • cranberrymorning

    Animals become part of the family when they live in the house with the family. That’s certainly been our experience, anyway. Another advantage of in-the-home pets is that they teach gentleness. They also help build up an immunity to some germs. I think kids who have pets are healthier. And pet don’t have to smell bad if they are well cared for. My husband didn’t want animals in the house and now he loves them. Lol Nice post.:-)

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  • Jen

    Yes, I agree! Taking care of animals is definitely a growing experience that can also be a lot of fun. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this with us at Grace and Truth last week! 🙂
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

  • Shirley Wood

    We have a LOT of animals in our family between 3 households (ours and both of my daughter’s). We have a total of 9! 5 cats and 4 dogs. We love our fur babies.
    We are so glad you shared with us at Merry Monday! I’m
    looking forward to your newest additions to the party next week!