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Why children should live with dogs

By STEPHANIE ZUBIRI, The Philippine STAR Published Mar 05, 2021 4:00 pm

There’s nothing that brings more joy to children than a new puppy. In fact, a new puppy can put a smile on anyone’s face! I love that new-puppy smell, and how cuddly and sleepy they are. They curl up on your lap and snuggle right beside you.

Last January 2020, I came home with a new puppy for my boys, a mini-Schnauzer named Pepper. Pepper is an adorable pup who lives for cuddles. She’s the worst guard dog because she just loves everyone who comes into our home.

I fell in love with mini-Schnauzers when I first brought home Otto in 2013. They are so intelligent, quick learners and excellent with children. Otto and Kaloo, my lab-retriever mix, are both quite old and not as playful. They prefer to relax and sleep, and don’t really like being bothered by the children. They’ll take the cuddles but not play fetch.

I learned so many lessons from having a dog as a child at home; it’s such a wonderful and beneficial experience!

This was the reason why I chose to bring a new puppy into the mix. I think it’s important that children are exposed to animals and pets from a very young age.

Pepper the Schnauzer

As far as I can remember, I have always had a dog. The first dog that belonged to me was Mickey, a Shetland sheepdog. She was hands-down the sweetest and would live in my room, much to the chagrin of my mother. I learned so many lessons from having a dog as a child at home; it’s such a wonderful and beneficial experience!

Here are some reasons why having a dog is great for children:

It’s great for building immunity!  Unless they are allergic to dogs, studies have shown that babies exposed to a dog in their first year of life are 1/3 more likely to avoid respiratory illnesses and infections. Dogs are more exposed to germs; therefore, so are the babies and this helps build a stronger immune system.

Pets are compassionate companions. Having a dog, or any pet, teaches kids compassion. They learn to be gentle with the pet and to treat them well. Children learn how to have patience, self-control, and to be considerate of another being. Both my sons have learned to calm down and have a gentle touch with Pepper.

Having a pet is a great way to teach children responsibility. They can be assigned simple chores such as feeding their pet, making sure the water bowl is always full, walking the dog or even cleaning up after them. These are simple tasks that can be easily accomplished by children ages four and above. It also makes them feel good to care about someone other than themselves.

It promotes sibling bonding. Children who share a dog can use the common love for their pet as a way to bond. They can play together and take turns sharing tasks to care for them.

They provide more exercise. Playing with a new puppy can be exhilarating! They have so much energy! Kids can participate in these activities and can get moving along with the pet. Even something as simple as walking the dog is a fantastic way to get our children moving!

Banner and thumbnail caption: Just paw-fect: Sebastian, Stephanie and Max with Pepper the Schnauzer