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I grew up loving animals, kittens, then dogs, then sheep, then horse. But really all animals! Once when I was in elementary, my family was eating at a restaurant with beautifully stuffed wild animals. I ordered spaghetti, it was familiar and I liked it. But the longer I sat there, the more the animals got to me. We moved outside to eat our food, because I couldn’t eat my spaghetti, because the sauce looked like blood to me. Silly, I know, but made complete sense in my elementary age mind. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved meat. But if there is hid and or head on the meat, forget it. I’m out.
Anyway...I am now raising a mini-me. She loves all her animals and forces them to like her as only a 3 year old can. She loves her cats and hauls them around everywhere, if they let her catch them. The dogs are her favorite playmates most days, and has trained Duke to help her dig wherever she desires. Cinch just tattles on them when they leave the boundary. She has her chickens she needs to catch every day to love, even when they don’t want to be caught. According to her she was sad after the last bottle calves left, so her dad got her another one and she is 3 so she has 3 calves. Really they were orphans, from young cows who didn’t have milk for them. She has also stolen my horse and will tell you outright that she did. She also has her very own ewe now thanks to her Grandpa letting her keep the bottle lamb she helped raise.
The beauty of this is she is learning at a very young age the love and respect for animals. She understands the cycle of life, and that you don’t always save them all, no matter how hard you try. She loves deeply and has learned responsibility for taking care of her animals. Last week she found a fuzzy caterpillar that she wanted to bring inside. She found a jar for it, leaves for it to eat, sticks to climb on, and asked me to put water in the jar. She knows all animals need food, water, and shelter.
Pets are great for kids to learn responsibility, my kids are privileged to have many pets and animals to learn responsibility from. It is also a great way to learn the cycle of life. If you have the means, I highly encourage you to get a pet, even a fish. The joy of watching kids with their pets is the best therapy ever.
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