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7 Reasons to get a Pet

7 Reasons to get a Pet

By Molly Sullivan Taylor, Ph. D

Our girls have been begging for a family pet for a few years and late last spring in a moment of weakness, I showed our three little girls a picture of a rescue calico kitten that was just a few weeks old who had been left in an empty paint bucket on the steps of the animal shelter. 

Now, my husband is allergic to EVERYTHING so when you say “cat” his nose starts to tingle immediately, but the girls started their gentle persuasion and after a few weeks he surprised us all and said yes. We went to visit the kitten and there she was all cuddled up with her tiny brother and you guessed it, we came home with both of them.  Today, almost a year later we are the proud owners of Tallulah Belle and Tuxedo and honestly as much trouble as it was when they were kittens, it was worth it. Our girls take pride in feeding them, brushing them and pushing them around in doll strollers and I have to admit that when I’m having a bad day a soft purr makes me smile, too. As for my husband, he would tell you that it’s worth the occasional sneeze to see his girls love their family pets so much.

1) You have more time to devote to a new pet and your children can learn to be responsible with less activities to distract them.

2) Family pets provide comfort for children; in a study conducted by Dr. Melson, 40% of children spontaneously mentioned their pets as a comfort when they were angry or sad.

3) Children need to learn the art of nurturing and a family pet allows them to practice being caregivers when they are young. Often times nurturing activities such as playing with dolls is seen as a “girl” play; with pets boys and girls can remain equally involved.

4) Research shows that children with a family pet actually have less allergies as they get older. According to Dr. Dennis Ownby, a pediatrician and head of the allergy and immunology department of the Medical College of Georgia, having pets actually decreases the likelihood of developing allergies and asthma because of the slow exposure to allergens caused by a pet.

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5) Having a pet teaches companionship and unconditional love; in fact spending time with a pet can elevate mood boosting levels of serotonin and dopamine.

6) Physical activity; having a pet encourages children to get outside a play, whether it be a daily walk with the family dog or to let a bunny hop around in the grass in the backyard.

7) If your child needs to work on his or her reading fluency this summer, having a non-judgmental pal with paws can help children feel less anxious about reading out loud, according to Dr. Mary Jalongo author of The World of Children and Their Companion Animals.

Looking for a Pet?

Call Texarkana Animal League at 870.525.4825 or visit them online: www.texarkanaanimalleague.org

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