When I was growing up we had a whole range of animals, some were pets, some weren’t . They would come and go from our house. From guinea pigs, ducks and chickens – to cats, dogs and budgies, we had them all at one time or another. My dad was big on breeding animals and while some were for consumption, he also encouraged me to have pets and breed and sell my own birds.
We had so many pets. Probably the one that lasted the longest was my pet budgie, Sparkie. He came straight out of our aviary and I lovingly tamed him and taught him to talk. He said 50+ words, perched on the end of your plate and drank water out of your cup. I was heartbroken when he died at about 8 years old. Budgies don’t live all that long, but he was such an amazing pet all the same.
So what’s got me thinking about animals teaching children? Now that Mr.T is on the move, our Kelpie, Jazz, has become a bit of a lesser fan. Mr.T enjoys crawling up to the sliding door, getting on his knees and banging the glass in excitement. The reaction he receives from Jazz is not a welcome one and she immediately goes over to ‘protect’ her food bowl. So now that the sun is out Mr.T and I have been enjoying our lunch outside and I’ve been patiently and calmly introducing dog to child, child to dog and it seems to be working as Jazz learns that these are her boundaries. Mr. T , for the time being is just excited about dropping food on the ground for Jazz to lap up in an instant.
I want Mr.T to grow up with many, many animals in his life. I want him to be gentle with a bird, playful with a dog and cuddly with a cat. Animals teach children SO much. For one, they teach them compassion. Animals teach them to consider something else’s needs and wants for a change. Does the dog want to be cuddled right now or is it looking for food? Perhaps it’s not feeling well? Pets help children to become less egotistical!
Pets teach children responsibility. If taught and encouraged by their parents, a child will take on responsibilities of looking after a pet with diligence and enthusiasm. When I was younger my Dad would ask me to look after the budgies that weren’t feeding or flying properly. I would take them into my room, keep them warm and hand feed them until they were strong enough to hold their own. It was a beautiful thing.
They teach children about grieving and death. It’s awful. But it’s also a part of life, and some, not all children will experience death for the first time through a family pet. It can be a great opportunity to teach little ones about dealing with death, remembering the good times and how to move on after such a life-changing event.
And last but not least animals teach children to communicate in ways they just won’t get from another human being. The body language of animals is an amazing thing and teaches children to be in tune with a language other than the verbal “Don’t touch that!” “Let’s play” etc.
I can’t wait for Mr.T to experience all that is Mother Nature. I can’t wait to take him to a wildlife park where he can feed native animals or to the zoo where he can marvel at Creation. But most of all, I can’t wait for him to experience the joy that is owning a pet throughout his life.
How do your little ones interact with your pets? Do you have your own sentimental pet story to share? I would love to hear it!
Thanks for another Flog Yo Blog Friday Link-up With Some Grace