The last thing a newly single parent wants to think about adding to their already full plate is a new pet. In their eyes, it’s another mouth to feed, another body to care for and more maintenance & medical expenses to provide for. While all this is certainly true, please have an open mind and look at the benefits that a pet can bring to your home.
- Unconditional love – If you’ve gone through an ugly divorce, downsized your home, gained 20 lbs., had your car repossessed, had falling outs with your teens, can’t figure out your kids homework assignments – guess what…your cat doesn’t care. If you’re a terrible cook, have no friends, blown an assignment at work…guess what…your dog’s tail will still be wagging when you walk in the door! Animals have the uncanny ability to love you at all cost. Studies have shown that even when owners are unfortunately cruel to their animals, they still have a sense of loyalty to their owners. Pets will fill your life with unconditional love which just might not be a bad thing after the breakup of a family.
- Help in the healing process – when a family is split up and a dad or mom no longer live in the home, children can sometimes deal with issues of abandonment. As much as you try to explain the situation, they are just kids. They never expect mommy and daddy to separate and when this happens it can really rock their world. Having that pet to cling to helps them to feel safe and comforts them with their feelings of loss. Their pets are never confrontational and there is never a threat that they will purposely leave you. This can be very comforting as they go through the healing process.
- Pets are just fun – Let’s face it, pets just bring joy and entertainment in your life. Whether they learn a new trick, or know when to snuggle up to you at just the right time or whether you go for a run on the beach together or just cuddle up and let them purr on your lap, they will bring plenty of joy for all family members. There is just some kind of joy that pets bring to children. I never see a brighter smile on my daughter’s face then when she walks in the door and sees her cat. This animal means the world to her and plays such an important role in her life that no human can fill. It is truly priceless!
- Security – If you are new to living alone without a spouse, a dog can bring a great sense of security to you. There’s a comforting feeling knowing that your dog is looking out for you and will alert you should any pending danger occur to you or your children.
- Responsibility – Pets are a great way to get your kids to learn commitment and responsibility. It gives them the opportunity provide care for someone else and to learn the responsibility that someone is dependent on their care. Make sure that your child has some obligations in the care and maintenance of your pet whether it’s bathing the dog, emptying the litter box or cleaning out the birds cage. Allow them to take some kind of ownership of the family pet.
So while the care of a pet can bring some additional responsibilities into your life, keep in mind that there are many benefits that having a pet in the home can bring to your family. Consider the above information before hastily rejecting the idea; this decision to bring a pet into your home can bring years of joy and comfort into you and your family’s lives.