April is Prevent Animal Cruelty Month. What can you do to help? Educate.
Teach Your Children
One of the most powerful tools we have in preventing animal abuse is education. The education of other adults, but most importantly the education of children.
Nurturing kindness and compassion toward animals is a great way start. If you can, start when they are young, around two years old. Teach them to respect animals, what makes animals happy and what makes them sad. Planting the seeds of kindness and gentleness early will help them to grow into respectful people in many aspects of their lives.
Discuss with them their experiences with their own pets. Because young children don’t have full control of their own motor skills, they will need your guidance in learning how much pressure to apply when they are petting their dog or cat. Show them where the best place is to pet an animal.
Teaching children to respect animals needs to start early because acts of violence towards pets can sometimes be an indicator of violence towards people later in life. Did you know that many people guilty of domestic violence towards their spouse or children started by abusing animals when they were younger?
All children need at least a basic knowledge of how to approach an animal or pet whether there is one living in their house or not. Chances are, they will encounter them during their childhood. Your local shelters may have outreach programs or day camps to help you.
Considering a Pet?
If you have children and do not currently have a pet, but you are considering getting one, there are some things to consider. Choosing the right pet will help to ensure a correct match.
How much space do you have for a pet? That is always something to consider.
Size matters. For example, if you are considering getting a Dachshund, and you have a toddler, extra supervision may be needed on your part. A small toddler will more than likely not be able to properly pick up a Dachshund and severe injury could occur if done incorrectly.
If your children are old enough to understand how to properly pick up a Dachshund, this may be a non-issue for you.
If your children are older, generally speaking, the type of dog you get may not have to be such a consideration. They can learn how to properly pick up a small dog and how they won’t get toppled over by a large as a toddler might.