Do children benefit from growing up with animals? The answer is yes and there is ample evidence to prove this both health wise and emotionally. Health care professionals constantly refer to the benefits of pet ownership to children.
Children who are brought up with animals are more likely to have a higher immune system and therefore are healthier. In fact children who live on farms are considered to exceptionally healthy.
It give children a sense of responsibility as looking after an animal requires them to feed it, make sure that It has water, and it needs exercise or stimulation.
On the subject of exercise it ensures that children get out and get fresh air and exercise
Living with animals gives children a sense of compassion.
Children with learning difficulties and those who experience problems with reading benefit from the presence of animals.
Children with physical difficulties also benefit.
Research shows that people who were brought up with animals are less likely to be involved in criminal activity.
Now the question is what sort of pet is best?
The answer quite simply is, it doesn’t matter and obviously it depends on many different factors. Lifestyle, finances, type of home etc, but knowing as we do most children regardless of circumstances benefit from growing up with animals it’s whatever suits. From a hamster to a horse, the list is endless!
To end this I quote from the mother of a badly injured child who wrote me a letter which I still have to this day.
Stuart was very young when he was kicked in the head by a horse sustaining 7 skull fractures, his life hung in the balance for weeks much of it in a deep coma. He had always wanted a yellow labrador puppy but his parents said no because they felt that their lifestyle was not right. Throughout this ordeal they had to keep talking to Stuart to stimulate his brain and repeatedly promised a yellow labrador puppy. Stuart survived, 6 months later he went home and started the very long road to recovery. It would take years, walking, talking even eating had to be relearned and the promise was kept. The yellow labrador arrived and was called Honey. The two became inseparable and here I quote:
“One day Stuart was trying to walk from one side of the kitchen to the other with the aid of calipers when he got stuck in the middle and was in danger of falling, before either of us could reach him Honey must have realised the danger and came to his side whereupon Stuart put his hands on her back and she lead him to the other side of the kitchen to safety. Coincidence maybe but we are so glad we kept our promise”
A house is not a home without a pet.