Pets with Benefits

Filed Under: Life

I’ve talked about how pets make our lives better, how companion animals are great company and therapy in many instances.  Studies have shown that pet owners exhibited greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, were less lonely, were more conscientious, were more socially outgoing, and had healthier relationship styles.


Now, research is showing that pet ownership also helps kids in school, according to a story in the Huffington Post:

Owning a pet can increase a child's sense of responsibility, nurture a more caring attitude and develop self-confidence and, in the case of having a dog, it encourages kids to get outside more.

Scott Jefferson, marketing director for Pets at Home, concluded: "Owning a pet also has a positive impact on a child's level of fitness. More than 30 per cent of children who took part in our survey said they had become more active as a result of owning a pet."


Makes sense, really.  The responsibility of pet ownership teaches a lot of good habits, and these habits will transfer nicely to the rest of their lives.  Including their studies and  projects/papers.  But just because they own a dog, doesn't mean they can use the excuse that their dog ate their homework.  That's not what we're talking about here.


The study included students that owned all kinds of pets, and remarkably, the highest scoring students were ones that owned rats and mice!  Followed by dogs, and then cats.  I've talked before about what great pets rats make, and here is another great positive for keeping these lovely animals that so often get a bad rap. 


Rats are intelligent, social and very rewarding pets.  The only drawback (besides being associated with their wild counterparts that live in sewers and garbage dumps) is that they live so short a life.  3 or 4 years is a long, happy life for a rat.  So, just as we've grown attached and used to having them there, they're gone. 


Having a routine in our lives gives us a structure that we can build on.  Having to regularly feed and clean after a pet prepares you for other routines, studytime, schedules for when papers are due, and the like. 


Add to that the stress release of pet ownership, after a hard session of studying for a test, a student can interact with their pet and release some of that tension, relaxing with a pet removes so much stress from our lives, and adds the enjoyment of play.


Does this affect your considerations when the kids want a new pet?  It can sometimes be a difficult decision, maybe the idea that a pet can help with school results will tip the balance that little bit.




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