There is a special bond that occurs between children and pets that is beautiful and joyful. We love it when families come in looking for their new pet. However, introducing a new pet to young children takes planning and careful supervision to ensure a happy harmonious household.
Parental involvement is the key to success in forming a strong bond between children and pets. This starts with choosing the right pet. Not all are suitable for all children, and the new animal should fit the personality of the children and the lifestyle of the whole household.
Also, children younger than 4 may not understand that pulling a pet's ears or tail hurts and can cause the pet to scratch or bite. Parents need to watch all interactions between young children and household pets.
Generally, children younger than 10 years need assistance when caring for pets and should not be expected to do everything without some parental support. Please remember that parents serve as role models to their children, and your compassion and the care you provide your pet will help your child learn to respect and care for their new best friend.
Children raised with pets receive many benefits. Developing positive feelings about pets contributes to a child's self-esteem. Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others. A good relationship with a pet can also help in developing compassion, and empathy.
Pet Of The Week: HACHI is a 7-month-old male neutered Pomeranian mix. He is a high energy puppy that loves to snuggle and give kisses.
DOG ALLEY: There are 10 dogs available at the Alameda Animal Shelter. DAISY is a 4 month-old black/white terrier mix that is very lively, outgoing and friendly. SHANE is a handsome 5-year-old black German shepherd mix that is very shy and needs lots of love and attention.
CAT LAIR: There are 19 cats and kittens available at the Alameda Animal Shelter. GLORIA is a petite little gal that is about 9 months old and very pretty. FIGARO is a handsome 3-year-old all-black cat with beautiful eyes and a wonderful short tail. He's super-friendly.
Rabbit Row: MARTIN, a neutered agouti; SPECKLES, a neutered English spot; SMUDGE, a handsome pink-eyed Himalayan; JOY, a pretty gray rabbit; OREO, a black/white mini-lop; and DULCE, a black New Zealand, are all in foster care.
Mim Carlson is executive director of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. Visit the shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, call 510-337-8565 or visit www.alamedaanimalshelter.org to view the animals.