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?

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How will companion animals make sense of the seasons changes?
(Cassidy and Minnow enjoy summer vacation together)

1 How will companion animals make sense of the seasons changes? (Cassidy and Minnow enjoy summer vacation together)

They ask questions like...

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..."

Our fur kids are now likely to ponder if they did something wrong...

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.

Dr. Pia interjects,

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) 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 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!"

According to Dr. Pia Salk,

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."

According to adopted Ruby and her loving humans,

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."

Charlie Brown adds,

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.

According to Bella (who was saved and adopted into a forever home by A Dog's Life Rescue),

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.

According to a very well read Ms. Pepper,

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!"

Milo adds,

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..."

Sooo... whether your loyal companion is a new summer addition to the family or one who has been with you for some time....

26 Sooo... whether your loyal companion is a new summer addition to the family or one who has been with you for some time....

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!

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.

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (9)

  • Thank you Dr Pia. Brutus and I miss our Mom and Dad (I miss my Daddy more) when they leave the house, especially when they go to work because they are both gone for soooo long. But we are happy, happy, happy when they come back.....and they always come back. Daddy has been in the hospital lots lately and when Mom comes home without him she always explains that Daddy will be home, just not tonight. Boy do I get scared then.
    We both love our Mom and Dad and our forever home very much.
    Ruby, we are praying for you and your family and hope your Dad comes home really soon. Please give them our love and licks.
    We both hope everyone has a great weekend. Sounds like we are stuck with more high temps and humidity here in southern Ohio. We are all really ready for fall!
    Pugs and kisses,
    Brutus and Max...always on alert!

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    And hello to you too Dr. Pia. Yep, school has started around here too. The children going to school make so much noise that I can’t get a nap in at all. Then, when I’m wide awake, all that noise stops and here I sit all by myself with nothing to do. And Mommy and Daddy wonder why I’m underfoot in the mornings. I’m up early today; before breakfast to be exact. Speaking of which; I’ll have some thank you.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hi Dr. Pia and Minnow, WOW! This sure was a great blog you shared with us today and I love all of these photos and comments! Of course, my favorite photo was #1 of beautiful Minnow and Cassidy!! How fun it is that kids get to enjoy animals all summer long and are so happy to see them again every day when they get back home from school! When my Mom was a teacher years ago, the kids parents were so happy for her to take care of them daily and they were happy when they returned home to see their pets and parents! Life is so good with people and animals! Gosh, we are just getting some lightning and thunder plus rain right now! It's supposed to last until Saturday! Hope all of you are well and will check back later! Love Dudley Do Right XOXOXO+

  • Hi Y'all,
    Great blog Dr.Pia! Found it interesting that us dogs and cats can help strengthen reading skills. Wow! No kids here to try this with but I'm glad to know we can give back to our owners as much as they give to us. Personally, I've been experiencing separation anxiety. Mis is hoping that George can help with this.
    I've got to go. Mis said something about an AC repairman coming. I must be prepared to meet him. HAHAHH (ONE MONTH TO GO AND THE AC FROZE UP! Good thing the temps and dew points are going to be lower for the next few days).
    Dixie Boy

  • Hello Dr. Pia & all my Glue Squad Buddies,
    I feel like my entire household has gone off to school with Dad in the hospital. The days are long between my quick potty time visits, but I am behaving. Mom said there have been dogs at the hospital, called therapy dogs. Get me a jacket and enroll the Ruby Gem, I am a licensed doctor now you know. One was a Golden Doodle called Teddy---I said that sounds like a crayon color--hehehehehe-and then a standard poodle named Lambchop. At least Dad got to pet someone, even if it wasn't me.
    Have a GEM of a day all.
    Love and licks,

  • Good morning Dr. Pia

    Great blog today :) I miss my mom lots when she goes to work. I don't have it too bad because dad is retired. We all know as soon as mom pulls down our street and we wait at the door to welcome her home. I grab my toy and run around the house like a wild animal. I'm not sure why I do that but it makes mom laugh :)


  • Hello Dr. Pia and all the GS buddies:
    Yes, all the kids are back in school now, its very quiet in the daytime, and when Mom goes to work we all miss her terribly. Our Dad is also retired, so we do sit with him, and sometimes our human sister Sam is home (she works funny shifts and has days off during the week). We sit at the front bay window and watch Mom leave, but also we sit there when she is due home (and we seem to know when that should be)and wait for her. Riley boy is the craziest dog, he gets so excited, jumps up and down and barks his fool head off. Lucy sometimes sleeps through the whole event, and I, Martha always wait just inside the front door as part of the welcoming committee. We need to get that Riley boy calmed down a bit, he surely is the loudest boy I know!
    Well, gotta go and see if anyone is having anything good for lunch! Martha, Miz Lu and Riley boy.

  • Good morning Dr. Pia, Cassidy and my little girl Minnow,
    I'm a day late because I did not come to work yesterday. Mimi left me at home because she had shopping to do after work & could not leave me waiting in the car.
    Anyway, I hear from Mimi that they had a Sheltie when my human brother, Jeremy was growing up. Rocky, the Sheltie was always so very happy when Jeremy came home from school in the afternoon. He was used to a house full of boys all day in the summer. Mimi liked the quiet & Rocky not so much.
    I just like being around my "folks" all the time.
    Til next week!
    Your pal,

  • :-) Hello Dr.Pia & sweet little Minnow (love the cutie pie Cassidy holding you)
    yes it is so true about what you wrote...I personally believe one should not own a pet if you can't show them attention and Love, to me it's cruel.
    My daughters cat Kyle was traumatized that everyone was gone for a week (normally Annie the grandog is with him) Kyle went potty all over the place, there was someone coming in to pet, clean and feed....but not a good job done ;-(
    Kitty won't let us alone since we have come home. My sis came three times a day for her, but still Kitty noticed the change....good to be home with her again.

    delia & Kitty =^. .^=

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