There are several reasons why dogs can be very good pets for kids. First, a dog can be a great companion and a wonderful friend. Second, having a dog that wants to run around and play encourages kids to be active and healthy. Third, a child learns responsibility by taking care of their dog.
The Benefits of a Relationship Between a Dog and a Child
A dog can be much more than just a pet for a child; a dog can also be a companion and a friend. An excited dog, happy to see their owner, is a welcome greeting to any child when they come home. Children enjoy the presence of a pet and the simple company of their dog hanging out with them can make even tasks like doing homework seem more enjoyable. The relationship between a child and their dog can be beneficial to the child’s emotional and mental well being. A dog places no expectations on a child allowing for a relationship with no pressure. This relationship can be leisurely and enjoyable, which is an important part of childhood. For an only child, having a dog can make the difference between being bored and lonely to having someone to hang out and play with. I grew up as an only child and personally had a white German Shepherd named Snowflake that was my best friend and my constant playmate.
Having a Dog Encourages Kids to Get the Exercise They Need.
All too often, kids sit for hours in front of a screen watching TV or playing video games. Having a dog encourages them to go outside and get some fresh air. Just taking their dog for a walk will get a kid out of the house for a while for some healthy exercise. Most kids truly enjoy playing with their dogs and will end up staying outside for a long time with their pet. When I was a child, I would spend most of the day outside with my dog, Snowflake, playing catch, chasing animals, exploring the cornfields, and wandering the woods. I could play with my dog for hours, running and laughing, until we were both exhausted. Even in the winter, you couldn’t keep us in the house. We had snowball fights, built forts, and made snowmen. Well, okay, the truth is Snowflake ate the snowballs I threw at her, dug holes in my forts, attacked the snowmen as I tried to make them, and jumped on me the whole time, but we had so much fun together. One of my favorite winter activities was to get all bundled up and go outside with my dog on a clear winter evening when the moon glistens off the snow in little sparkles. I would run across the yard with Snowflake chasing me and grabbing at my boots until I would tumble into the snow. Then Snowflake would jump on me and lick me while I laughed so hard I could barely breathe. We would do this over and over again until my grandmother would finally call us inside. I think she was afraid we’d stay out there until I froze to death. The best part of all the fun I had with my dog was that I got plenty of fresh air and exercise without even realizing it.
The Responsibility of Taking Care of a Pet
Along with all the benefits and fun of having a dog, comes the responsibility of taking care of the dog. Someone has to meet the daily needs of this beloved pet and who better than the kid the dog belongs to. I learned a lot of responsibility taking care of my dog as a child. She was actually the runt of a large litter of puppies born to my aunt and uncle’s white German Shepherds. She wouldn’t nurse and everyone thought she would die. My grandmother decided to give this helpless puppy a chance at life. I was so excited, I promptly started to think of names. When I came up with Snowflake, it just fit. She was so white and so tiny, just like a little snowflake. We brought her home and began to feed her formula with an eye dropper around the clock. We also had to keep her clean and warm by washing her off with a warm cloth, changing the bedding in her box often, and keeping a heating pad under the bedding. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it as it became obvious that the puppy would survive. After several weeks of loving care, she was an active little furball running around the kitchen table with me as I pulled a rope for her to chase. I spent the rest of my childhood taking care of my dog’s daily needs of food, fresh water, baths, brushing, exercise, and more, learning a lot of responsibility in the process.
The benefits of having a dog can add a lot to the quality of a child’s life. I know that my dog, Snowflake, was a wonderful childhood companion that I will never forget. As an only child, my dog truly was my best friend.
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