Wellness

6 Books to Enrich the Child/Pet Bond

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6 Books that Teach Your Child About Responsible Pet Care
Having a pet is a family affair. Check out these six storybooks that will help your child learn how to care and interact with your furry family members!

BY REBEKAH OLSEN

Having a family pet provides many benefits to your children. Pets improve self-esteem and self-confidence in children, they help them interact and develop meaningful relationships with other people and they help them develop nonverbal communication skills and emotions, such as empathy and compassion. But in order to reap those benefits, your children also need to understand what they can do for their pet, and how to do it.

Young children can communicate and interact with their pets in a positive and healthy way. Recently, a friend’s family dog snapped at her toddler, sending her rushing to the emergency room for stitches on her lip. The small dog had always been docile, calm and loving towards the children, but a sore hip and the girl’s rough pat made her react in the only way she knew how.

Teaching your child to understand how your pet communicates and how to interact with them carefully will foster a good relationship and decrease the chances of your child or pet being unintentionally hurt.

In addition to creating safe boundaries and bonds between your kids and your pets, some of these books also help foster self esteem, compassion and more. The following books are great tools for fostering understanding, and make for fun reading time together. Happy Reading!

Dogs Don't Care, Dogs Poo Everywhere

Written by Lynn Chang, this witty story is about dogs that, well, poo everywhere! The prose is fun and hilarious and the illustrations are bright and quirky. One picture shows pit bulls in party hats with one particular party pooper who made a mess on the welcome mat. Use this book to open up conversations with your children on potty-training your pet using positive methods. Plus, when you purchase one of these books, a portion of the proceeds goes to animal rescue groups!

Poppy and Puppy are Friends: A Child's Introduction to Responsible Pet Ownership

This book was written by Kimberly Burgan, a nationally recognized dog trainer and behavior consultant in Austin, Texas. Through engaging photos and vivid texts, the book provides a general introduction to nonverbal communication between a dog and its guardian. Your child will see the changes in Puppy’s body language and learn what they mean as they read along. This book aims to create safe family environments and promote healthy, positive relationships between children and their pets while also telling a sweet and fun story.

Duncan and Dolores

By Barbara Samuels, this story is about a girl named Dolores who begs her parents for, and finally gets, an older cat named Duncan. Dolores is thrilled to have Duncan and smothers him with love and affection... to Duncan’s utter dismay. Dolores eventually gives up trying to win over his affection and her newfound deference for Duncan intrigues the cat who finally decides that Dolores might be all right after all. A must for cat lovers, this story teaches children how to interact with feline friends.

Dogku

In a haiku written by Andrew Clements, a shaggy, stray dog wanders through the neighborhood until he finds his forever home with three young children. This clever and uplifting tale takes you through the ups and downs of rescuing a stray, but will leave your children with compassion and empathy towards rescues, and a little poetry lesson.

The Forgotten Rabbit 

An unfortunately classic tale of rabbit guardianship, Nancy Furstinger tells the story of Bella, a rabbit that is taken home by a brother and sister. At first, she is loved and played with, but eventually the interest wans and Bella is left outside, neglected and forgotten. Another young girl rescues Bella and takes her home to a much better life and the pair goes on to win a competition course for rabbits. This is a true success story with an amazing lesson about responsible rabbit care. Consider adding this one in to your children’s Easter baskets this year! (And read why real bunnies are not a good Easter gift in our article "Fun with Buns" here.)

Maxnificent, The Polka Dot Pyrenees

This charming book from Dianne Burch is the first book in a series. This first book focuses on self esteem and self acceptance by celebrating our differences as the things that make us special. After the story, there are colorful pages about rescue animals and shelters along with information to encourage understanding  the responsibilities that go along with having a pet.

What’s your favorite children’s pet book? SHARE photos of your family reading with your pet on our Facebook page

 


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