Growing Up With Pets

I teach a series class for child care providers through Childcare Resource and Referral called Childnet.  One of the nights of the ten week series talks about our toys and how we spend our time growing up.  We do a brainstorm activity where participants name their favorite childhood past times.  The activity is done to make childcare providers realize that toys aren’t everything in a child’s life and rarely do we need things that are super expensive to entertain kids.  Typically the list goes something like this…

Legos
Barbies
playing outside
playing game children made up
reading
hanging out with neighbor kids until the street light went on
dolls
baseball with the neighbor kids

Then someone says…do pets count?  I say yes.  Then come the pet stories.  My cat was amazing..she let us dress her up in clothes or my dog was wonderful…She followed me everywhere and I even gave her rides in the basket of my bicycle.  There are stories and stories and stories about pets.

Much of my childhood time was spent with pets…

As a real young girl, my dog was Nippy.

As I got older it was Pugsy.

Pugsy was so neat.  I could hook her leash over the handle bar of my bike and she would trot along as I rode bike.  It was so fun!!

Both were wonderful dogs that I could fill blog entry after blog entry about.  I can’t say enough good things about growing up with a dog to love.  If I could only pick one “toy”…it would have been my dogs.

The best thing of all…I learned so much from them, loyalty, compassion, empathy, responsibility.  There is something that a pet can teach that no human or toy ever could.

Thankfully I had parents who allowed a dog in the house and who were there to provide the training and rules that helped me learn to be a responsible pet owner.  Granted, a dog is much more work in maintenance and time than a toy is..but it’s oh so worth it.  No toy can ever comfort or care for a child like a pet can.

A pet is a wonderful investment for an entire family.  I watch my husband, who didn’t have a dog in the house growing up, be playful and at ease with our dog.  I see some of his stress melt away.  Granted…the emotional attachment goes both ways as it is really hard to watch pets die..but again that is another thing pets can teach us..how to let go.

It was hard to convince my Hubby that having a pet in the house was an okay thing….one of the best gifts he ever gave me was saying yes when I talked about having a pet in the house.

4 thoughts on “Growing Up With Pets

  1. Denise in PA

    Wonderful post, Jo! I totally agree. We got our Peke Lilly 8 years ago and she’s the light of our life. My husband, who “didn’t want a dog”, is as in love with her as I am and now wouldn’t think of not having a dog to love in the house. o:)

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  2. Julie in WA

    The only pet I ever had growing up was fish. But we gave my daughter, an only child, a dog for her birthday when she was 7. They have a true sibling relationship! The dog brings so much joy into our home. (Certainly more entertaining than a fish!)
    BTW…LOVE the banana seat bike! I always wanted one, but my dad felt it was too trendy, so I got a classic bike. Incidentally, I still have it, more than 40 years later! I plan to put it in my flower garden with flowers in the wire basket.

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  3. SueAnn W

    wonderful post! When we were first married my husband gave me a puppy. I’d told him when I get pregnant I want a rocking chair and a puppy. That puppy needed to be house trained before I have to house train a baby. There have been dogs in my house ever since…..except for about a month when he ask me to think real hard about wanting another dog. I was miserable without a dog in my house……even though I had 5 birds it just wasn’t the same. A visit to the SPCA had us each getting our own dog. We adopted dachshund brothers. A puppy for him and one for me. I haven’t laughed so much in all my life as I have with these two dogs. They were a great addition to our family.

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  4. tammy k.

    having very recently lost a young dog to cancer, and now preparing again for puppyhood, i can totally agree with you on all points! we have loved all of our pets and given them the best possible home we could for their time on earth. it is extremely hard to lose them, whether to illness or old age, but it’s part of life. i would not stop having pets because of the pain of losing them – that’s something we just have to overcome. we are now waiting for the animal shelter to give the green light on letting another pup come home with us. hopefully next week! and then the fun really begins…

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