Ever since I can remember we have had dogs around us and it is with no doubt that they have shaped the way I am today.
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals”
The relationship a child has with a dog helps from a young age the understanding of the importance of kindness and respect for other living beings.
Having a dog also establishes key responsibilities that are useful in every day life, structure, routine and accountability.
There are good reasons why dogs are used to help depression and aid the needs of humans. The sheer presence of dogs is calming and we are instinctively drawn to them. It is proven that the act of petting a dog can be soothing, improving mood and even blood pressure.
Dogs are uncomplicated beings, they have no agenda, they love unconditionally; Children respond wonderfully to the love given by dogs, so genuine and free of judgment. Children recognise this which is why often dogs are used to help children’s development.
• Empathy skills
• Social skills
• Coping skills
• Family climate
• Stress management
They also teach responsibility and encourage emotional development in some very valuable and interesting ways.
A study comparing children with dogs at home to those without, found that the children who were dog owners were significantly more empathic and pro-social. The stronger the attachment to the dog, the stronger this effect may be. The study also found that children with higher levels of attachment to pets reported more positive feelings about their family and home, than those with low attachment to pets. A dog can make a home feel safe and warm. Children and adults alike feel a unique sense of security just knowing that they can depend on that unconditional comfort every day.
Above all, and many parents fear the day they tell their child that a particular member of the family has gone to play in doggy heaven; it teaches children about the circle of life which will undoubtedly prepare them for the rest of their lives.
Last but certainly not least, having a dog in your family is fun! enjoyable, it brings the family together and there is nothing more rewarding than the thanks you get for taking care of a four legged companion. Even if he can’t talk…