Why a dog can be more than your child's best friend
Studies show pet ownership among children can contribute to enhancing well being Key facts
DUBLIN, 4th March –A recent study has shown that 3 – 6 year - old pet owning children achieved a higher empathy score than their non-pet owning counterparts. The studies go on to prove that children who already generally have positive self – esteem, are even more confident if they own a pet. With studies amassing on how pets can boost your child’s self esteem, Pet Behavioural Psychologist and Pedigree Adoption Drive advocate, Jim Stephens, gives us some helpful hints on how a dog can enhance your family’s well being.
Recent Studies Show:
• Children who display particularly low self esteem in comparison to their classmates show significant improvements when a dog is introduced to their lives.
• The effect that dogs have on a child’s life may sometimes be underrated but in fact the life learnings that they can teach can be pivotal in a child’s development.
• Feelings of empathy, understanding and compassion can all be enhanced by dog ownership.
• Children regularly nominate their dogs as those they would go to with a problem.
• Reports have shown that companion animals can provide emotional support and it is believed that such support could be an important healthy psychological development for all children.
• Dogs are renowned for the unconditional love and non judgemental affection they provide, which can have more advantages than the social support given by humans.
Pet Behavioural Psychologist, Jim Stephens, explains how pet ownership can be a valuable tool to help understand and cope with life events. “Often a child will be exposed to the full circle of life while owning a pet; some will witness a pet being born while some will experience losing them”. “It is important for parents to discuss feelings of sadness and loss to openly share those associated feelings with children in order to maximise the learning’s from the experience” adds Stephens.
The opportunity to bring a dog into your family’s life does not have to be as difficult as one would think. There are hundreds of dogs across the country all looking for a loving home. For every one Irish dog that is adopted, there are two that are not.* This leaves dog shelters around the country teaming with willing volunteers to bring an extra bit of love and affection into your family’s home. To help, Pedigree has once again launched the Pedigree Adoption Drive which runs from until the end of March.
Now in its second year, the Pedigree Adoption Drive seeks to raise awareness of the homeless dog issue and encourages Irish dog lovers to consider adopting a dog from their local rescue organisation. The campaign also aims to help raise much needed funds for rescue centres nationwide. To do so, Pedigree is donating 2 cents from each Pedigree product sold between January 1 and the end of March, which will then be distributed to Irish shelters in 2009. Successfully raising €100,000 in 2008, Pedigree aims to raise the same amount this year despite the recession, while also helping to find homes for as many dogs as possible.
Ambassador for the campaign is Irish rugby international and dog lover, Gordon D’Arcy, who said “I have grown up with dogs and understand the fantastic role they can play in a child’s life. Parents supporting the Pedigree Adoption Drive will help shelters receive much needed funds to give these animals the help they need. Adopting a pet will bring an adoring and loving companion into you and your child’s life – something you just can’t put a price on.”
New to the campaign is the ‘Pedigree Pledge’, which encourages those who are unable to adopt a dog, to pledge their support to the Pedigree Adoption Drive and what it represents. Supporters need only visit www.pedigreeadoptiondrive.ie and add their name to the thousands that have already signed up. To find out more on dog adoption, from how the adoption process works, from training to everyday care, and to sign the Pedigree Pledge, visit www.pedigreeadoptiondrive.ie.