Animals are good for us, especially for kids. When we lived in an apartment in California, I knew we couldn’t add a permanent pet to the family–but I wanted my children to have the experience of sharing life with animal companions. We started taking in bottle-baby foster kittens from the animal shelter; we took care of them and loved them until they were old enough for adoption and then said goodbye. Now that we have a house with a yard, we’ve taken great delight in welcoming two cats and one dog to the family. Its interesting to see how the different children interact with the animals. Honeybee likes taking the dog out for short walks, often several times a day. She seems to enjoy being “in charge” of someone, and likes having him follow her around. Jumping Spider loves the cats–they bring out his gentle side (most of the time). I have had to teach him he can’t just throw a kitten on the floor when he is done holding it! He usually takes one or both of the kittens to bed with him to snuggle with. Ladybug hasn’t quite worked out how to relate to the animals–she mostly ignores them. Dragonfly loves both the kittens and the dog–and has mostly learned not to pull ears or tails! He likes to put his cheek down on their soft fur when they are lying on the floor. The other day the dog was trying to get me up in the morning by licking my face–Dragonfly was watching and stuck out his tongue in imitation. I’ve always thought toddlers and dogs have a lot in common…but I got up before he had a chance to start licking my face too!
Cast of Characters