Reasons why having a dog is good for kids

Let’s talk about those lovable goofballs.

They not only bring joy and laughter into your home, but they have a positive effect on the mental and physical health of your family.

Meet Sandy and Gizmo, my secret weapons. Sandy is a toypom and Gizmo is a peek-a-pom (that’s a pekingese-toypom cross) We’ve had Gizmo since our kids were in kindergarden, he’s about 7 years old now and Sandy is our new baby, only a year old.

Each one comes with their own unique personality. Gizmo brings a still calming presence, while Sandy is the playful little clown that can entertain us for hours.

Why do I call our dogs my secret weapon?

My 11 year old son suffers with severe anxiety and has trouble controlling his emotions sometimes. He doesn’t cope well in crowds or with most people actually. This year, he started at a new school that is better equipped to help him, but up until last year, he has been in a normal mainstream school, where the classes are way too big for him to cope with.

Every single day was a struggle to get him going and motivated. He either woke up angry or was trying to convince me that he was sick. It broke my heart, how could such a young child be so unhappy and how could I send him to school in this state.

Now here is where my secret weapon comes in. I just let in the dogs to wake the kids. When I open the back door in the morning they run past me up the stairs and eagerly wait in front of my sons room, as soon as I open the room door they jump on the bed and my kids wake up with smiles. I can actually see the dark clouds leaving my son as they instantaneously brighten up his day. He wakes up smiling and laughing, has no trouble putting on his school clothes and brushes his teeth.

Benefits of having dogs

  • Feeding and caring for a dog encourages responsibility and routine in children.
  • Having a dog can help kids process feelings and even cope better with depression.
  • Cuddling a dog reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety.
  • Sharing the love and care for a family dog forges an additional common bond among siblings.
  • Having a dog encourages exercise, by playing with and walking the dog.
  • Stroking a pet can be very calming and relaxing.

Sandy and Gizmo are not just dogs, they are family and a part of our tribe.

Pets, especially dogs come with some powerful mental health benefits. I can definitely see the positive difference they make in my kids’ lives.

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