When I was a child I grew up with dogs in the house. In fact, I didn’t know life without pets because when I was born my mam already had two dogs, and that’s the way it was until I left home.
I got my first puppy when I was quite young. I can remember the buzz of the bus journey to the pet shop, and I thought I was going to die with excitement as I looked at me soon to be new puppy through the glass. She was so tiny, and my heart melted when she curled up with a little blanket inside our little box. I called her Muffy, and from that moment onwards she was like my best friend.
I was an only child, but I never felt lonely because I always had my doggy. When friends couldn’t come out to play I didn’t complain, instead I would put on my roller blades and go skating around the street with Muffy. She was my little sidekick, and we got up to all sorts of mischief together. I even taught her how to jump up on to chairs to steal food from the bench which my mother really hated.
When I started my own family I knew I wanted my children to be brought up alongside animals just as I was.
There is no denying that caring for a pet is a huge commitment, but I think it is one worth making, and it is so beneficial to children.
Caring for a pet teaches patience. It takes a lot of time and patience to welcome a new pet in to the family home. It is something that the children didn’t really understand when we first got the kittens, and they wanted to play with them as soon as we got them home. Caitlin learned that she needed to gain the cats trust, and that this would take weeks of gentle encouragement.
Having a pet not only teaches about patience, but about responsibility. It is a big responsibility to care for something other than yourself, to make sure it is happy and healthy. It is a fantastic lesson for children, and one that can start at any age. Younger children can be given the task of carrying empty bowls to the kitchen to be refilled, older children can be in charge of feeding time, or can take the dog out for a small walk around the estate. All of these tasks can feel very rewarding for children and it can really help them form a strong bond with the pet.
And it is that bond that I think is one of the most important things about your child having a pet. Neil has formed quite a special bond with the cats. He struggles socially, the demands of a normal social interaction can be too much for him, but he doesn’t have that with the cats. And when Caitlin started school she had trouble fitting in and finding her feet, but the cats were always there to silently comfort her. If you ask Caitlin who her best friends are she always lists the cats.
If anything ever happened to the cats, the children would be devastated, and I would too. When we first got the cats I was worried about vet care. I know when I was younger one of my dogs needed a major operation and the cost was phenomenal. I knew we couldn’t afford to pay out a lump sum if our little kitties ever needed treatment.
This is why pet insurance is essential for pet owners. I must admit though, I was a little put off pet insurance at first because some of the quotes I received were quite high. After shopping around for a while, I found Argos Pet Insurance, and was impressed that they offered three levels of cover so there was something to suit every budget while still giving great cover. With premiums starting at just £4.15 I could insure both of the kitties for a lower price than I would have been paying for one elsewhere. They had an option to select indoor or outdoor cat which for me was one of the reason I chose Argos Pet Insurance to insure my cats. They have over ten years experience in dog and cat cover so I really felt I could trust them with my pet insurance.
Now, I feel safe in the knowledge that should the cats ever get themselves in to a bit of mischief I will be able to get them the care and attention they need, because they are truely part of the family now, and we look after our family!
Do you have pets at home? How do you feel your pets have benefited the development of your children?
This post was written in collaboration with Argos Pet Insurance.