Teaching Kids about Critters
I was thrilled when I saw Monday's paper, because the Mini Page, a special insert for children, was all about animal shelters and the proper care of pets.
It is so important to teach kids kindness to animals from DAY ONE, and all the pet-loving Moms I know do that.
But you also have the Moms who get rid of a family pet the minute THE BABY is brought home. I find this appalling. They're too lazy to take the time to do what's necessary to integrate the new family. Now if a dog viciously attacks a baby or there are serious issues, that's a different matter, but having worked with shelters for years, the constant calls come: I just had a BAYYYYYBE and I need to find a new home for my cat/dog. And I'll admit, I look down on them and think badly of them. Sound harsh? Too bad, that's how I feel, because I see the struggle shelters have trying to find homes for unwanted pets.
And these people (not just pregnant ones but others wanting others to take care of their responsibility) want you to take their pet IMMEDIATELY, yet usually don't offer any donation to help with the care of that animal. Half the time they aren't even spayed, neutered or up-to-date on shots. And when some shelters have to turn them down because they are filled to the gills, some get MAD and say things, "What are you there for?" Can you believe it? It's true. You wouldn't believe how rude some people are. Others truly have a serious problem and can't keep a pet, but they usually try on their own first to find it a home, are NICE when they call, offer money and give the shelter time to try to help.
Many years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor in reference to an outdoor column, where the writer was boo-hooing about The Humane Society of the United States published a "Kind News" for kids about humane pet care. He was UPSET because he said the Humane Society was anti-hunting, blah, blah, BLAH. I couldn't believe that ANYONE would be upset at any group printing a publication teaching kids to be kind to animals. Of course, he was of the view that little Johnny and Jane should be given a rifle and taken on the hunt at the age of 12 and putting their picture in the paper as they hold the head of the lifeless animal. And that's fine if that's what he believes.
But to criticize another group and want their publication pulled from schools because they don't AGREE with the so-called "sport" of killing animals was beyond the pale. And the Kind News didn't even have any anti-hunting rehetoric in it, it was all about caring for family pets.
Now, many kids don't grow up in pet-loving families or grow up in families where pets and given up like an old shoe, not taken care of, not spayed or neutered, etc., so they learn to not respect and value them. That's why publications like the Mini Page are important.
Any good stories about pets and kids and lessons learned?
My friend Carmen (dog Josie's mom) had her first baby a few years ago. He is pictured above, going along when they buried on a family farm their old dog, Flossie, who was a rescued dog taken by the Humane Society. She's taught Brayden to be kind to animals from day one. She had the two doxies at the time--Josie and Lacey, and Lacey is a more nervous dog that Josie, and one who has to hog all the toys. Once she bit Brayden, over a toy. Did she get rid of her dog the minute that happened like so many people do? Put a bullet in its head because it bit the baby, like other people sometimes do? Beat it? NO. She corrected both, but focused on Brayden, teaching him to understand that you NEVER mess with a dog that's eating or with a toy, because a child can't be an "alpha human" at an early age, one who can take things away from a dog. And that's important too--not letting a dog get away with being food or toy possesive.
But that's a topic for another day Pet People!
posted by Sandy at 10/02/2007 03:12:00 PM