Fighting animal cruelty is an uphill battle. There’s still so much left to be done, and your busy lifestyle may be preventing you from doing your part for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
It might have occurred to you to make the battle against animal cruelty a family affair, starting with your kids. But how do you teach them, at an early age, about the realities of cruelty against animals? What is the best way to expose ugly truth of torturous cages, diseases, and emotional pain that animals suffer?
And yet there’s a lot to be gained by taking a trip to the shelter. It will teach your kid, at an early age, compassion. It will let them know why it’s important to get a shelter pet instead off that puppy in the nearby pet store.
So how do you teach your kid to be kinder and to love animals? Here’s what you need to know before you take your kids to that life-changing trip to the animal shelter.
Animal Shelters vs. Puppy Mills
If there’s a question your kid keeps on asking that’s more difficult to answer than anything, it would be this: “Mommy, why can’t we have the cute puppy we saw at the pet store?” Here’s how you can finally answer that question right, and it’s a question that necessarily involves animal cruelty exposed.
Explain to your kid that pet store puppies come from puppy mills.
This will let your kid understand that beyond the pet store, puppies definitely came from somewhere. And where they came from I anywhere but nice: puppy mills. Puppy mills are practically dog factories where dogs are forced to breed with each other and have puppies. Dogs neither get fed well nor can play outside. Worse, they get sick all the time with no one to take care of them.
Make them understand why animal cruelty exists.
The concept of puppy mills will definitely sound strange to them, and up to that point, they might not even understand how cruelty can exist! It won’t make sense to them at first, but you can explain to them that some people simply care more about the money that they will get from selling puppies than making sure that the animals are taken care of.
Bring the point home and relate it to buying a pet store puppy.
Finally, let your kid understand that buying a puppy means supporting and letting the puppy mill owners know that it’s okay to let the dogs suffer. If you don’t buy a pet store puppy, you’re letting the puppy mill owners that it’s not okay, and that you don’t support what they’re doing. It may seem like a small thing to do, but it will enlighten your kid and let them be part of fighting animal cruelty.
Visit the pet shelter.
Next, take them to a pet shelter. Here, your kid will find plenty of eager and happy puppies waiting to be adopted and to find their new homes. A trip to your local shelter will surely be a fun one: your kid will see how much the pets need someone to make them happy. Adopting a pet from the local shelter will surely be a rewarding activity for your kids. Together, you can raise the puppy, and learn everything together from tips on training a puppy to finding out how often should a puppy eat.
But before you go to the local pet shelter…
Before you go on that exciting trip to the local shelter with your pet, though, you might want to prepare yourself for what might happen. Here are some great tips that might help:
Visit the shelter by yourself first. You never know what the state of the animals in the pet shelter is. The last thing you want is to scare your kid, so you best be prepared by finding out how the pet shelter looks like.
- Learn your kid’s expectations. Sit down and have a little talk with your kid before going to the pet shelter. This way, you’ll know exactly what your kid is expecting. Does she want a pet exactly like what she saw at the pet store? Let her realize that the same breed might not be in the shelter, and that what’s most important is that you adopt a pet and make one happy.
- Find a dog for the family. When looking for a dog, you might consider dogs that are dog-friendly. These are breeds that don’t mind being handled by children and will not easily snap.
- Consider getting an older dog. Older dogs need love too! They’re calmer and more well-behaved too, so it might be just what you’re looking for.
Finally, make sure that your kid is prepared to take on the challenges of raising a dog. You should also be prepared yourself. You might have to read up on puppy training tips, among other dog training materials. But in the end, everything will work out great. You’ll teach your kid about the prevention of cruelty to animals, and you get to bring home a pawsome baby!