A new baby is in my household, not a two-legged kind, but a four-legged one — a puppy. Honestly, I never thought about getting a new pet this year. We were sailing through the months and had no concerns with our oldest dog Reagan (or Sweet Baby Ray) at almost age 3.
Life was perfect, yet, it wasn’t. Something was missing. While it feels like this isn’t an ideal time for a puppy, we just did it, sometimes it’s OK not to wait for the best time.
And, did you know dogs (or pets) are good for your health?
“Just physically, being around animals releases some positive neurotransmitters in the brain,” according to Dr. Jane Manno, psychologist for Cleveland Clinic in a recent article, How Dogs Can Help with Your Mental Health. “Studies have shown serotonin and dopamine, so there’s a biological component. It decreases blood pressure, it decreases the stress hormone cortisol.”
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) , 68% of U.S. households owned some sort of pet in 2016.
Many pets also serve a purpose, such as therapy animals and providing support with stress and anxiety.
In fact, most people who own pets, like cats and dogs, consider them to be like their other children and even siblings to their human children.
Pets also have multiple benefits for the whole family. Having an animal is likely to bring more exercise, teaching kids how to take care and love an animal in age-appropriate ways.
It’s understandable that not everyone can own a pet, due to allergies, interest or space.
The best way to know if you are ready for a pet is to ask yourself some of these questions: Are your children showing an interest? Are they comfortable with animals? Do you feel you have enough time, space? Are you financially ready? If you did get a pet, what would it be, cat, dog, fish or lizard? How much do you know about your new pet? Can your pet be safe around your children? Do your children understand the importance of pet hygiene and hand-washing around animals?
Also, there are plenty of ways to introduce your kids to animals, from friends and families, to libraries in the region who provide “Read to a Dog” programs.
Whatever is decided, your family has to make sure they are ready and safe for the pet.
With Halloween coming, that’s why I wanted to take a moment to recognize these members of the family. Starting on pg. 21, look for some ways to keep them safe this holiday and a few fun costume ideas. Of course, we don’t forget about all things fall as we provide plenty of adventures for the whole family. And a little learning with our fall STEAM activities.
Also, being a parent of a middle schooler, it’s a hard road sometimes. We provide some resources for your tweens — and you on how to handle these years in our Middle School Education Guide. This issue is packed with other topics and tips, from bilingual education, dealing with colicky babies and help for not-so-fresh scents from kids’ feet, too.
While my sons were too old for the Baby Shark craze, I might be singing that song soon with our newest puppy addition, Lyla.
So here’s to making the most out of the season!