What Kids Learn From Adopting a Pet

November 26, 2012

Today, we’re excited to take part in Petside’s annual Pet ‘Net event, where bloggers and pet media outlets come together for a common cause. This year’s topic is near and dear to us: pet adoption. All week long, November 26-30, is dedicated to this topic, the Pet ‘Net Adoption Event 2012. AND, if you go to Petside.com to visit the Pet Net page, you can enter your zip code for a chance to win $5,000 for a shelter in your area. Pet Net will choose a shelter in the zip with the most votes so tell your friends!

Guest post by chief of staff, Caroline Golon

It’s inevitable that at some point in a parent’s life, their kids will be begging for a pet. If one is in the position to take on the responsibility for a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, ferret, guinea pig or other incredible addition to the family, a critical decision comes: Where are we going to get this pet?

For parents who see pet ownership as an opportunity for their kids to continue growing into empathetic, caring and responsible members of our society, adoption has countless benefits.

1. Break the Cycle. Children often behave as adults as their parents did. So, if a child only knows pets purchased from a pet store or a breeder, he will likely default to those options as an adult, without considering other ways of finding a pet for your family. Likewise, teaching adoption as a terrific option will open up that possibility for your kids as an adult.

2. Teach About Societal Issues. Adoption teaches children at an early age about a critical issue in our society – pet overpopulation. And, even more important, gives them the opportunity to make an impact themselves – by adopting their own pet from a shelter or rescue.

3. Teach Compassion. Introducing a child to the concept of a pet who has been abandoned, neglected or worse, helps instill compassion for another’s plight. And, what better way to showcase this through an animal…!

4. Show That Everyone Deserves a Second Chance. Adopting a pet who needs a new home is a wonderful way to illustrate that circumstances are sometimes beyond our control, even if we’ve done everything we “should.” A wonderful pet, for example, might have caught a tough break with his former family…but is getting a second chance at life and love with yours.

Pets are great for kids, no matter how you come by them. There are plenty of wonderful families who purchased their dog from a breeder and have good, valid reasons for doing so. But, adoption offers a unique opportunity for a parent to teach their children an additional set of enduring lessons that will last a lifetime.


Maxwell, Faraday and Allie November 26, 2012 at

This is soooo great! We especially like # 2 and 3 because our shelter also promotes a No More Bullies program in the local public school system. It gives children the skill set to solve problems in a loving, caring and productive way by using animals to help teach them that violence is not a solution.

Thanks for sharing this!

Hairless Cat November 26, 2012 at

Hi Caroline,

I agree – teaching compassion to your children from an early age will have a positive impact on their attitudes for life. Showing them better alternatives to pet stores and breeders is a good way to do it. Shelter cats need a second chance.

I also think that allowing them to learn to empathize with a cat from an early age will help them take a look outside of themselves and break away from entitlement earlier than usual. It’ll help them learn that others have feelings and needs – that they matter.

Good topic,

=^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

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