‘Children with pets can experience increased self-esteem, social skills and cognitive development’

Anyone who grew up with a family pet (or indeed anyone who has ever seen the film Marley and Me) will understand the important role that having a companion animal can play in these early years. By offering unconditional friendship, as well as a whole host of psychological and developmental benefits , children with pets can experience increased self-esteem, socials skills and cognitive development, to name but a few advantages. Yesterday was officially National Pet Day, so we asked Deanna of bullyandthebabe to give her view on the importance of childhood pets, and an insight into the relationship that she’s witnessed growing between her daughter and dog. ‘Watching the blossoming relationship between an child and their pet is such a beautiful thing to experience. Our staffy Maverick is a wonderful playmate. He provides hours of fun playing with our (almost) three year old daughter Mia. Having a dog teaches her to share and take turns when playing ball whist also improving her motor skills like throwing and kicking while having a ball. I find that dogs tend to encourage more time outdoors to run and play and lap up all the sunshine. One of the sweetest sights is watching Mav walk up to Mia and plont his face in her lap ready to soak up plenty of love and pats. It’s heartwarming to see the gentleness between the two of them and the love and affection they provide one another. Childhood isn’t easy, especially when change occurs like starting daycare, welcoming a new baby etc. So I really love and appreciate the constant companionship and sense of stability that Mav provides. Mia’s chore in our home is to feed Mav his biscuits. Not only does it teach her responsibility but also shows her compassion and empathy by learning to take care of another being. Mia beams with a sense of confidence and happiness when she has finished filling his bowl of biscuits. Also giving her the sense of achievement. I’m looking forward to watching their relationship grow and blossom for many more years to come. We are so grateful for Maverick and Mia’s bond and have so much love for our pet.’