My child is witnessing the unconditional love that animals bring, and she sees the loyalty that they demonstrate each day. There's a friendship that exists between the dog, cat, and my daughter that is built on trust. And my husband and I believe that our tot will transfer what she has learned from her positive relationships and interactions with her pets to her future relationships with other animals, children, and adults.
Whether you own a pet or not, there are things you can do to model appropriate interactions with animals and help your children learn from them. Read stories with characters who show compassion and love for animals, model pet care through imaginative play, and speak kindly of all living things. When your tot is handling or petting any living creature, show him or her how to be gentle and loving. Have a discussion about appreciating animals and the unique things they do for and provide to us (horses pull carts, cows give milk, sheep give wool for clothing).
I'm incredibly grateful that my daughter has two amazing four-legged friends that she can play with, learn from, and love unconditionally. Charlie and Owen are irreplaceable members of my family who we love dearly, and my husband and I are thankful to them for their laid back dispositions and all of the valuable lessons they continue to teach our little girl.
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