5 Ways to Nurture Family Relationships Through Your Pets

puppy and girl

Having a pet in our home is something that enriches our lives in many different ways. Pets in general provide us with a sense of physical as well as emotional well-being. When a pet joins your family, it is not hard for you to realize that a change occurs in the lives of you and your family members, and in most households, pets are treated as part of the family. At least that’s the case at our house.

The Pleasure of Bonding with Your Pet

It is easy to see that pets encourage love and compassion among human beings. Sometimes we tend to be too mechanical in our relationships with other people, and forget the value of them, but our animals do not. We can spend little or no time with our family and friends when we have busy schedules, but when we have a pet that totally depends on us, things will change. Pets rely on us to care for them, and through this dependence, the bonding between your pet and your family begins.

Pets Cherish Relationships

As you care for your pet, providing for their needs can bring you closer together as a family. Sharing responsibilities can create special feelings with your spouse and children. You also make decisions together about your pet, whether it’s determining what is the best diet for the cat, where the litter box should go, or deciding if cleaning the dog’s teeth at home is right for you. Making these kinds of decisions can be educational and fun.

5 Ways Pets Can Nurture Relationships Within Your Family

  1. When you first bring the puppy or kitty cat home, everybody will be excited and want to hold or play with the newest member of the family. Be sure that each person has time with the animal so they can get to know each other. This may be a good time to even ask for volunteers in taking care of certain things that your pet will need: feeding, giving fresh water, cleaning the litter box, or changing puppy pads.
  2. Proper training of your pet is crucial for both the animal and the family. Everyone can share in learning how to puppy pad train a puppy using wee wee pads, or teach them to go outside to potty.

    They can also participate in puppy education classes, and learn the important commands and a few tricks. To graduate from our class, our dog had to correctly respond to two commands and then one trick. We all worked with him, and thankfully, Ranger passed. It was fun practicing, or at least it was for Ranger–he got lots of treats!

  3. Walking your dog or going to a dog park is another way to build relationships. We meet people who have similar interests and always enjoy sharing stories about the kids–both 2-legged and 4-legged ones. We have so many small dogs and kids that live on our cul-de-sac, we can’t decide if we are out there to catch up on the children or the critters!
  4. Get outside and exercise as a family as well. Plan fun games or activities that can include the dog, like throwing a Frisbee, kicking a soccer ball, playing chase, or practicing commands like ‘fetch’, ‘drop it’, ‘come’, or ‘roll over.’ Sometimes the kids enjoy the commands as much as the dog. (We constantly work on the ‘come’ command when I am calling them in for the night.)
  5. You can even participate in shows and events that are in the area. Most communities have shelters or pet stores that will sponsor a dog or cat show for good causes. You’ll definitely meet interesting people and their pets, and may even come away with a prize from time to time. That activity could go on the “family bucket list.”

There’s no more special bond than the one between a child and a pet that grow up together. For those of us who love animals, we have special memories of times spent with our pets, sometimes alone and sometimes as a family. I still have pictures of my first dog, Lady, in the backyard sitting next to me in one of those small inflatable kid swimming pools. I tried to get her to get in with me, but she was content to protect me from dry land!

These special relationships are not just in the movies–they are actually real life and we are better people for having loved a pet, and receiving their unconditional love in return.

Photo by jjgwarren

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