Lucinda and I have decided that three children makes our family complete. I think if we had met when we were 21 rather than 31 and we had a bigger house we may not have stopped at three, however we didn’t and as we had both come from 3 children families it seemed natural. Therefore, if we are to expand the family then the obvious way is to introduce pets to Chez Bagnall.
As children my sisters and I had a plethora of pets: goldfish, mice, gerbils, hamsters, Siberian hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and dogs so I am not stranger to sharing your house with our forms of life. Lucinda, however, never had such pets, the Cathrall household did have dogs but no small mammals.
I am a big advocate of children having pets. Having a pet teaches you many things. It teaches you respect for other life forms; it teaches you empathy; it teaches you responsibility and it teaches you how to grieve. These are all important life skills for our little ones to acquire. Microbiologists will probably tell you that pets are good for your immune system. Obviously there are those that are allergic to certain animals but for others the inevitable bacteria that will be passed from animal to child helps with the build up of the bodies defences and there is some evidence to suggest that children that grow up around pets have less risk for developing certain allergies.
A pet also helps bond a family together. If you ask a child, or indeed their parents whether a pet is a part of the family, most people would be almost offended that you had the audacity to ask such a question. “Of course they are!” It can be the focus of family activities. Whether that is taking a dog for a walk; encouraging a cat to chase a felt mouse or simply watching a fish swim in its tank. There is nothing as relaxing as just sitting down stroking the fur of a pet. It has been proven that stroking a pet lowers blood pressure and slows the heartbeat reducing stress. Something that can not be understated in our hectic modern lives. Sometimes it is important to sit down and do nothing – and not feel guilty about it. If this sitting down and doing nothing can be done as a family, so much the better – children can feel stressed too!