For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted a dog (and a rabbit, since we’re on the subject of pets). I wasn’t fussy and didn’t have a particular breed in mind – just something I could put a lead on and take for a walk.
But owing to the fact my mum is not a dog person and my dad was in the military, meaning there was always the potential to live in flats and overseas, a dog was never going to be on the cards.
Now I’m a grown-up I still want a dog, and I know exactly what I’d have: a black pug called Daphne or Delilah who I picture sitting at my feet while I’m working, or possibly on my lap (not that I’ve day dreamed at all!)
Sadly we’re still a few years off being in a position to have a dog since we live in a 4th floor flat where dogs are banned, but we’re half way there as I work from home so as soon as we have a garden or ground-floor access it will be do-able.
I always think there must be so many benefits to growing up with a pet dog in terms of teaching kids about responsibility, so when dad-of-two Mathews McGarry got in touch and offered to write a guest post about 5 reasons why every family should have a dog I was more than happy to collaborate.
Here’s what Mathews says:
5 reasons why every family should have a dog
“I want a puppy!”
Every parent has probably heard that one a few dozen times, but have you ever really stopped to consider the positives behind fulfilling your child’s biggest desire? Dogs are not just a cuddly pet: their presence in the house is beneficial for everyone in the family in more ways than one. A canine is a promise of superior home safety 24/7 and better physical, mental, and emotional well-being for all family members. On top of that, a fido can also help teach your child precious lessons about responsibility, compassion, and healthy eating. For example, feeding your dog good quality food like Badlands Ranch, which is air-dried, in turn teaches them about the importance of maintaining a diet rich in nutrients – whether you’re human or canine. Check out these five sweet pluses you’ll be getting by adopting a family member in the furry guise.
1. Cleanup made easy
Most people think that a dog is synonymous with regular cleanups: and it certainly is. With a dog at home, you’ll finally be able to take a nap after a meal instead of having to mop the dining room floor right away. Your kid dropped a slice of jam-covered bread on the carpet? Soup got spilt on the tiles? A mouthful of broccoli landed on the floor? The dog will take care of it eagerly (and unlike your spouse, it won’t complain about the food being too cold or too salty).
2. An extra hour of blissful silence
Dogs are not indoor animals by nature, and your kids will have to take the pet out for a walk and a game of fetch at least once a day. This means a few extra moments of blissful silence for you as the tired parent, as well as an extra hour of physical activity for your tireless offspring. And if you have a habit of shirking workouts, the dog will instantly evolve into your personal drill sergeant who will cajole you into taking a walk even when you feel completely drained: you just can’t say no to those big puppy eyes.
3. Taking the social game up a notch
Your child is timid and keeps to himself in the playground? Studies show that autistic kids can significantly improve social skills with a therapy dog at the end of the leash. In cases of non-autistic children, fidos can provide emotional support and help the child gradually overcome their fear of social contact. With a canine by their side, even the shyest of kids will feel more at ease because their playmate will always be ready to play.
4. You are loved, no questions asked
Being a grownup is tough, and it only gets tougher once the kids arrive. Unlike your mum or best friend who may look down on you for complaining about the weight of adulthood, your canine will never judge you, and they will always be there to listen to your monologues about world injustice, sorrow, or work stress without criticism. We all feel powerless sometimes and we all need to cry once in a while – but psychotherapy is rather costly, whereas the unconditional love, understanding, and patience your dog will always be happy to give you are free of charge.
5. Quality outdoor time for family, pets included
Screen addiction is the disease of the 21st century, and kids are not the only ones who spend hours glued to the screen. You too are probably wasting precious time watching TV or staring at your phone. With a dog onboard, improved fitness and more quality time outdoors will come into the spotlight for the whole family in a matter of weeks: without thinking, you will be putting on your gym wear and trainers at the end of the day and rushing out to the park with your pet and kids trailing behind. For bonus points, you can use your pet to teach your kids valuable lessons about duty, empathy, and sharing. Why not dump dog-care tasks such as grooming, feeding, and vet appointments in the kids’ lap and let them learn how to handle responsibilities as you’re indulging in extra me time? Every family needs a guardian angel, and your pet is precisely that – only it has a wagging tail in place of wings.
Mathews blogs over at ripped.me, a blog about fitness and healthy food choices. It’s worth a look!
Do you have a pet dog? Do you want one? I’d love to hear your experiences!
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