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April 26th is National Kids and Pets day celebrating the special bond shared between children and their pets, especially dogs, and is a reminder to parents about the importance of safety where dogs and children are concerned.
Dogs benefit children in so many ways
Growing up with pets has many benefits for children. Besides the emotional and physical health benefits, companion animals share unconditional love and teach life lessons about empathy, confidence and responsibility. Pets enrich and improve the lives of many children, particularly those with special needs.
It is wonderful to see the special bond shared between dog and children, and how important dogs are within the family unit. So it is of great importance that both children and dogs learn to be safe companions, and that unwanted behavioural issues don't arise with ongoing responsible training techniques in place.
Research shows that children who grow up with pets in their lives can have better social skills, greater self esteem and companionship. Reading to dogs can provide a boost to a child's reading skills and help with their emotional and social skill development.
Dogs as therapy companions
Dogs give unconditional love and affection and their non judgmental nature can be therapeutic for special needs children, as dogs don't differentiate between a child who is deaf, autistic or in a wheelchair.
Having seen how a child with Asperger came out of his shell within his home environment and in the show arena, from spending many hours cuddling and playing with their family dogs, had such a huge positive outcome in his development. It provided him with confidence and good sportsmanship at competitions. Being very shy, it enabled him to also make many new friends of all ages and to learn all about dogs and share their love of dogs.
Dogs don't discriminate who they love and offer many benefits for children to connect with the world around them.