Having a dog isn’t for everyone.
It’s a big commitment, and if you’re considering adopting a dog, it should be a discussion that the whole family is a part of.
When weighing the pros and cons of adopting, though, keep in mind these arguments for why a puppy might be right for your family.
1. Teaches the Importance of Adoption
When you choose to adopt your new dog rather than buy him, you’re making a choice to save a life. That is not only a big decision but also a noble and responsible one.
Getting your entire family involved in the process is exciting and can be a wonderful lesson for children. They are taught at an early age that adoption:
- Saves lives
- Is an act of kindness
- Is a responsible decision
Hopefully your children will pass on that message and live by it for the rest of their lives.
Additionally, adopting your pup is a great way to familiarize your family with the local animal shelter and see what other pets might be waiting for their forever homes. Through word of mouth, your experience at the shelter could result in even more adoptions.
2. Encourages Family Outings and Exercise
Adopting a puppy isn’t going to magically change your family’s activity level drastically. If you and your family aren’t the type to spend a sunny weekend hiking through the woods, chances are a dog isn’t going to change that.
If, however, you are outdoorsy and think a trip to the mountains is an excellent family vacation or would rather take a walk along a stream than watch an episode of The Bachelor, adopting a dog might be just the extra bit of motivation that gets your family out as a group and exercising.
3. Aids in Teaching Responsibility
A family dog is a shared responsibility. That should be made clear when everyone agrees on the decision to adopt. Your new puppy isn’t solely the responsibility of your children.
It’s important to understand that a puppy isn’t a toy that can be given away when your children lose interest. But it’s also a great idea to assign certain puppy-related jobs to each family member. That helps teach everyone about the responsibility that comes with having a pet and also ensures that your new pup is being cared for by everyone.
On top of providing a lesson in responsibility, when you have an active role in your dog’s care, you’re going to form an even stronger bond with him. It’s a win-win for everyone!
4. Helps Kids Learn to Respect Animals
Respecting animals is something that we are taught. We learn how to pet a dog gently and leave him alone when he’s sleeping. We learn not to grab cats’ tails and not to knock on fish tanks.
Adopting a puppy can help teach your children to respect animals. Through their experiences growing up with a puppy, they’ll learn that pets are just as sensitive as humans:
- Dogs cry when they’re lonely.
- They dream and sometimes run in their sleep.
- They yelp when they’re in pain and bounce when they’re happy.
Understanding the depth of a dog’s sensitivity and emotion can help cultivate respect and patience toward animals, both fine things for growing children to learn.
Maybe one reason dogs help families stay healthy and happy is that they keep us laughing:
5. Increases Happiness and Health
If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance that you already have a pet.
So I hardly need to tell you that pets make us happy. But in case you want to hear it, pets really do make us happy. Their lives — so much less complicated than our own — revolve around us, their humans. Nothing seems to make them happier than seeing us. And, personally, just seeing the unbridled joy in my dogs when I get home is enough to make all my worries go away.
Aside from the happiness that our pets bring us, did you know that having pets can also make us healthier? A number of studies have shown that individuals who have pets live healthier lives. In fact, our pets’ very presence eases our stress levels. In a study published by Psych Central, researcher Karen Allen states, “Pets allow people to relax and bring out the best in their owners, much as a cheering crowd helps an athlete perform well.”
If you and your family are ready, it looks like adopting a puppy is a smart move for your family’s well-being, both mentally and physically.