Children And Pets: That Invisible Bond Of Friendship

Have you ever wondered, “What is it that attracts certain children to animals, birds and other little creatures that are part of nature’s rich bounty?

Children And Pets: That Invisible Bond Of Friendship

Have you ever wondered, “Is taking care of a pet, a waste of time when there are other important tasks at hand?”

Have you ever wondered, “Maybe, this instinct to bring in a pet into our homes and take care of them is a natural maternal instinct (irrespective of gender) that we have been endowed with to replicate in our human lives?”

When I was a child, my parents were gracious and sensitive enough to let me have a pet friend at home. It was the most natural and most beautiful thing to happen to me at that time of my life. So, I have had Dashu, Silky and Caesar (during my school years). Whether I was perfect or not in taking care of them well, that I cannot vouch for. But, I shall be ever grateful to them for making my life feel whole and complete.

My son has been wanting a pet for a very long time. Every time, we would shoo him and the topic away on the ground that there must be someone to take care of the pet whenever we went out-of-town. And that was indeed a great problem. Finally, after all the pleading, even nagging to some extent, we let him have a pet. But, we insisted that it should be a small one so that it would be easy to be taken care of apart from the fact that we could find out whether our son was ready for responsibility.

So, in came the shining goldfish on his 13th birthday. My son was happy but his resentment at not been given what he really wanted was obvious.  That made me flashback into time when we were living in Palakkad and were given the good fortune of catering to the needs of a graceful and beautiful cat we christened ‘Choti Kat’. Her mother, ‘Badi Kat’ had died in our courtyard and had left ‘Choti Kat’ behind.

At first, she came mewing only for milk, later when she decided that we could be trusted she visited us whenever she had to deliver her litter in the room made for drying clothes in the monsoon season in Palakkad. Most houses have that grilled tin roofed extra room attached in Palakkad. My son was very young then and was delighted to see little balls of kitten. That was his first lesson in developing love and trust for animals I would like to think.

Choti Kat learnt to not venture inside the house but just stretch herself near my kitchen doorstep which led to a door outside where she could be given milk or be patted on her snow-white head.  Time and again, my son got to experience emotions of joy as he watched the kittens grow into beautiful cats. He also experienced emotions of extreme sorrow when he came across the mangled remains of a kitten in our courtyard. He watched us did a grave and place the dead kitten in it simultaneously saying a prayer to the Almighty to make the cat’s soul rest in peace. We suffered together during those times as he would come and hug me, his little expressive eyes filling with unspoken tears and I would wonder, “So much unconditional love for a creature he had hardly known?

Today too, when I see my little boy who has grown into a little teenager, I see that soft side of him as he plays with the neighbourhood dog, Jobi or the neighbour’s cat, Simbha. It seems like there is an invisible bond between animal and boy. Could this also be the reason behind my son’s vegetarian streak despite all attempts to convert him?

I am beginning to think now of getting him that pet dog that he always wanted. What do you say? Would he be ready for that extra responsibility?

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space  and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.

  • Oh…only last night I submitted my posts about pets in home… let us wait for them to be published for my thoughts on the same… I had dogs when we were growing up and loved every moment of it.

    • Hi Desi Traveler,

      Would love to know what you feel on this issue. Nice to know that you too had dog friend pets at home. They really make life happier especially when the human species does not understand us. Don’t you think so?

  • This read like I our story, Shail. When our son wanted a pet we got him gold fishes too but he wanted to have a pet dog. We had a Dalmatian pup when he was 3-4 year old, but the issues of no help to take care of the dog and our schedules made us give him up for adoption after 9 months. And since then a pet dog is on our son’s wishlist. A not-so-much-lover-of pet-dogs me, has told him that it would remain on his wishlist till he is old enough to take care of him with a bit of help from me. Agree, that the pets help the kids learn a lot but they come with a very BIG responsibility too.

    • Hi Shilpa.

      So lovely to know that our stories are alike here. And that you too agree as a mother on most of these issues of pet rearing and the like….Responsibility is a great duty and as parents we too have to chip in. That’ s what is inconvenient. But has to be done in case the child can become a better individual that way apart from the pet bringing in unconditional love home.

    • Seela

      Personally, I think you should buy him a pet dog.He will enjoy it.You will also be able to see whether he is capable of keeping pets or not….Please do take my advice!

      • Hi Seela
        We have been thinking on the same lines at home. Just buying time
        But really, thanks for your advice.

  • No Shail, i don’t think taking care of a pet is a waste of time. In fact, we had an aquarium at my mom’s place with many colorful fishes and my mom would say watching them was therapautic and a stress buster.

    My Grand parents had many dogs as pets but the house was full of people and everybody prioritized their time for it. My son wants a doggie and my daughter almost for more than 4 years is asking for a hamster as a pet. I am not sure my children will prioritize their time. Already the plants that they got from the nursery i am only watering them.

    Personally though i don’t like pets and am scared of dogs, cats etc.

    • Hi Asha,

      I understand. Although I love pets, caring for them with the other work at home and outside can be quite an ordeal especially if your children are not ready as yet for extra responsibility. My son is not ready, that much I know but when I see him pine for a pet then, the maternal side of me sometimes wonders.
      I like this part where your mom says that ‘ watching them was therapautic and a stress buster.’
      I need some more time….

  • Amrita Thavrani

    At many levels and layers I liked this post. Nostalgia was wrapped beautifully.

    • Hi Amrita.

      So sweet of you to say that. Yes, I had to wrap in nostalgia to make my article more connecting and personal. And also to find out a solution for this pet problem at home.
      Hoping to see more of you around/.

  • My toddler is so fond of dogs and she loves to play with our neighbour’s dog. However, I am embarrassed to mention that I am scared of dogs.
    But yes, not all kids love pets . However, all those whom I have seen fond of pets are quite sensitive one. I am waiting when my daughter would be vocal about her pet requirement 🙂

    • Hi NBose,

      I am so glad you shared your feelings about this post. There is nothing at all embarrassing about being scared of dogs. Every person reacts differently towards different things/creatures. Hoping to get news from your little daughter about her new found love for a pet! 🙂

  • Roshni

    I am confident that he would be a wonderful caretaker of his pet, Shail! Hope you do get him a dog!!

    • Hi Roshni,

      Thanks!! Yes, I am thinking of that. But it has to be a shared decision. so at the moement, I am just waiting for his final exams to get over. Then, …..

  • Indrani Talukdar

    I am not a pet lover but once I had to take care of my sister’s little pup. That’s when I realized what unconditional love was. The dog taught me, not the other way round.

  • Hi Indra, Yes. Pets (especially dogs in my case) are so loving willing to give their love without asking.

  • Beyniaz

    Give him a dog Shail. My children kept asking me for one until I (reluctantly) got them a little pup that grew and grew to be a 60 kg dog. We did get tied down but that getting a dog home was the best decision of my life. My children grew up to be kind and responsible human beings.

    • Hi Beyni,

      I know Beyni. We are toying with the idea. I am hoping too that life will not begin revolving around our pet once we get one. But, yes, I too want Vinod to be happy and grow into a gentle, kind and responsible human being….

  • Sharique Jamal

    Dear Shail Raghuvanshi,
    I have always kept dogs,for not only are their selfless,undiluted love
    theurapatic,but they share an intuitive bond with their master.
    They radiate positive energy but can sense -ve energy by intuition.

    • Dear Sharique. Undiluted love indeed hard to be found in humans now a days. And yes, as you rightly mentioned, dogs can sense negative energy much better than humans. I fully believe in it. Dogs give back so much love too.