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5 Lessons Kids learn From Dog Ownership

Updated: Feb 26



Dogs are intelligent creatures. They can learn plenty of exciting tricks and even figure out the meaning of certain words. You wouldn't put a dog at the front of a classroom, though. Smart as they are, they're not teachers. It turns out though, that dogs do have a lot of wisdom to share. As a child, I learned several valuable life lessons from dog ownership. Here are five useful lessons my dog taught me. 1. Love and Empathy It's hard to quantify the love of a puppy. When it looks up at you with those big almond-colored puppy eyes, begs for a treat or leaps up into your lap and licks your face, it's impossible not to feel something in return. And when he whimpers in pain, you feel so bad for the poor little guy. For many, our pet is the first thing we love beyond our parents. It teaches us that there are different kinds of love and that if we are kind, we can be enjoyed in return. This very important foundational lesson is why our pets have such a special place in our hearts. 2. Responsibility This is often the biggest lesson cited as a pro for pet ownership and rightfully so. Pets are often the first time a child has to be responsible for another living thing, and this was true for me. Taking care of my dog was the first time I experienced a sense of responsibility. I had to give him food and water, take him for walks, pick up his poop, and clean up his mess when he got into the trash. It gave me my first tiny glimpse of what it was like to be an adult. It was a growth experience and made playtime with him that much more rewarding. 3. The importance of nutrition Growing up, I wouldn't say I liked peas (anything green really but especially peas) and loved cookies. I didn't understand that one was good for me and the other was bad until I got a dog and was told: "Don't give him chocolate, he'll die". I was so surprised. Can chocolate kill? But it tastes so good. Wait, does that mean chocolate isn't good for me, either? Chocolate isn't going to kill us the way it would a dog, but it's still something that should be consumed in moderation. Eating two bags of Hershey's Kisses is going to spell bad news for anyone. It made me realize that what we eat matters. 4. The value of exercise It's hard to quantify the love of a puppy. When it looks up at you with those big almond-colored puppy eyes, begs for a treat or leaps up into your lap and licks your face, it's impossible not to feel something in return; and when he whimpers in pain, you feel so bad for the poor little guy. For many, our pet is the first thing we love beyond our parents. It teaches us that there are different kinds of love and that if we are kind, we can be loved in return. This very important foundational lesson is why our pets have such a special place in our hearts. 5. Coping with loss We all want to shield our children from the harshness and pain of real loss for as long as we can, but eventually, our child will face loss. Maybe a grandparent passes away, or a school friend suffers a tragic accident. The world can be an unforgiving place, and sometimes this sort of loss can sneak up suddenly. One of the most difficult days of my life was the day we lost our dog. I had never lost anyone or anything before, so it was all new to me. I was young, and he'd been with us for years, so naturally, I cried. Then, as time passed by, I realized that while loss hurts and it's okay to grieve, my life can go on afterward. These are a few snippets of wisdom my dog taught me. I'm sure there are many lessons to learn and each new pup I get will teach me more. Perhaps there is a dog out there who is meant to teach your child a valuable lesson or two. Maybe they might even be waiting in the nearest shelter.

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