September 5th, 2013
Back To School...
Posted by Pia
The 3 words that officially close out the summer months are "Back... To... School." The free time and leisurely pace are replaced with a frenzied mixture of excitement, anxiety, and anticipation, for kids and adults alike. But what about Mittens and Fido?
1 How will companion animals make sense of the seasons changes?
(Cassidy and Minnow enjoy summer vacation together)
2 They ask questions like...
"Why the sudden absence of doting little humans..."
3 "They were just here a second ago!
Petting us and..."
4 "...Playing fetch for hours..."
5 "...Splashing around the pool..."
6 Our fur kids are now likely to ponder if they did something wrong...
7 "Weren't we all having fun?" asks a dapper Max, of his human BFF, Charlotte.
8 Dr. Pia interjects, "Yes Max! Yes Dottie (above)! You were having fun! All of you were having fun! Please don't doubt that!"
(Dottie: adopted through Companion Animal Rescue League in Atlanta, Ga. Photo: Beth LaBauve
9 "And no Chedder (above)...you didn't do anything wrong at all!" assures Dr. Pia.
10 "As vacations come to an end and schedules shift ... "
Photo courtesy of the super awesome:
11 "...Everyone needs to take special care to assure they are meeting the needs of their loyal companion animal friends and family," Says Dr. Pia
12 "It's important for us grown ups to make sure that our faithful friends continue to get the love and care they deserve..."
(Bing and Molly. Molly was adopted via AdoptaPet.com from the Sante D'Or Foundation!)
13 "...and to help kids learn responsible ways to prioritize their time, for the sake of these dependent little charges."
Dr. Pia adds, "This is a uniquely teachable moment for parents and kids!"
14 According to Dr. Pia Salk, "One of the most valuable and lasting lessons an adult can teach a child is the importance of meeting a companion animal's emotional and physical needs in a consistent manner."
15 According to adopted Ruby and her loving humans,"Change can be a little tough at first, but as long as furry family members can trust their humans to properly care for them... everyone will adjust in due time."
16 Charlie Brown adds, "And let's not forget that
we pups can be of great support to nervous little humans as they set out to start a new school year..."
17 "We can even go along on morning walks to the school bus- and send them off with a good dose of confidence and lots of licks... "
18 "Who knows, maybe we can even make a fun tradition out of visiting that fancy red toilet each day on our walks to the bus...!"
19 "And as our humans arrive home from school or work, we will welcome them with loads of fanfare and love- no matter how well they did on that test or presentation!" Says Pepper.
20 According to Bella (who was saved and adopted into a forever home by A Dog's Life Rescue), "We are always happy to offer our humans an ear... no matter how long or boring their
day-recap might be..."
21 "We can also help our humans reduce stress!" Says Ruby.
22 According to a very well read Ms. Pepper, "In fact, there is plenty of data to show that we fur siblings can help kids manage the ups and downs of making friends and growing up!"
23 Milo adds, "There is also lots of research to show how we canines help kids learning to read. We are accepting and non-judgental, so kids feel freer to read out loud when we are their audience."
24 Pepper, "We are also patient and there to offer support when homework proves challenging..."
25 "Oh... and I personally can also explain the complexities of Freudian Psychology if that just happens to be what you are reading about...Just saying..."
26 Sooo... whether your loyal companion is a new summer addition to the family or one who has been with you for some time....
27 Don't forget to provide Fido and Mittens with the same kind of consistent support and attention that they offer to you- all year long!
Showing a child how important it is to take a companion animal's needs seriously, plants the seeds for the development of personal responsibility and empathy. And the earlier children observe the adults around them modeling compassion and commitment, the more likely they are to make these values central in their own lives.
When life becomes busy, managing multiple demands is a natural part of change. At these times, it is especially important to remember the companion animals whose needs may unintentionally fall to the background. Pro-actively preventing this from happening is in the best interests of the whole family.
Integrating time with furry family members, into the structure of each day, is an ideal way to meet the animal's needs and to model their inherent value. Such planning can in turn be of great benefit to the humans in the family. The unconditional acceptance of a companion animal can make the social stresses of growing up less focal and more tolerable to a child. Additionally, the bond with an animal companion often facilitates a child's academic progress and a family's overall sense of cohesiveness.
Wishing you and yours a smooth transition to the fall season.
Dr. Pia Salk
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