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Happy Tail: Kid's Best Friend

A first dog is an important moment in a kid's life. Everyone who had a dog remembers it. The author does. She remembers Trigger, a yellow dog who was bedside at her birth and cribside from then on until she outgrew the crib. With her pet rabbit, Pinky in a doll carriage, she'd go to the store for milk and bread for her mother, while Trigger walked with them, keeping them safe. Having pets was part of growing up learning life lessons. Pets provide moments when children learn responsibility. Click on headline for complete column with photo(s)
The next earlier Happy Tail: Happy Tail: Dolly - a new life for an old dog

By Peg Schaeffer
Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

I received a phone call from Casi Absher one Saturday asking me what kind of dogs I had for adoption. It was her daughter's birthday and Briley wanted a dog for her birthday. I described some of the dogs I had that would be good for a little girl and they came to visit.

Briley watched all of the dogs at play and picked out a male Cocker Spaniel named Trixie. We filled out the paperwork and Briley handed me the money she had received for her birthday and took Trixie home. Casi contacted me the next day to say how good Trixie was and that Briley had changed his name to Oscar.

A short time after that a woman called about a German Shepherd mix named Daisy. She said her son had been saving his allowance to get a dog and had fallen in love with her picture on the internet. So the young boy and his parents came to meet Daisy. She put her paws on his shoulders and licked his face. He didn't say anything, opened the gate, and walked to his parents' car. He came back and reached into the front pocket of his bib overalls, pulled out some money, handed it to me and said "I'll take her."

Now I'm sure as you're reading this you're thinking "Why did she take their money? She should have given them the dogs." Each time I wanted to say "Keep your money", but I didn't. Besides the fact that I need the adoption fees for dog food and care there is a more important reason to keep it. It teaches the children responsibility. They saved their money to get a dog and this makes it theirs. It didn't matter how much they gave me it was just the fact that they had earned this money and gotten something they wanted. Both of these dogs will be companions for years. They will be there to play with, to offer support, a pal to tell secrets to, and a friend that will never let them down.

I'm sure everyone reading this remembers their first dog. Mine was a yellow dog named Trigger. Trigger was there when I was born and would sleep next to my crib. As I grew he would lie next to my playpen or high chair. I also had a pet rabbit named Pinky. Back then streets were safe and I would put Pinky in a doll carriage with Trigger alongside and go to the store at the end of the road to get milk or bread for my mother. I would go into the store, Pinky sitting in the carriage and Trigger keeping an eye on him. I put a rope on my roller skate and put one of my dolls in it and had Trigger tow the roller skate and doll up and down the street. Trigger was my best friend.

So if your child asks for a pet first talk to them about the responsibilities. How it's important to care for them every day. There are books and pamphlets available to teach them the importance of proper care. Impress upon them that it is an everyday responsibility. Once you feel they are ready let them have a pet. This can be one of the best learning experiences. It teaches them a lot about love too. Animals can speak right to our hearts without saying a word. - Peggy Schaeffer

Peg Schaeffer
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2013-01-27 06:10:13
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Happy Tail: First pets introduce kids to responsibilities

2013-01-27 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. Daisy above, was adopted by a little boy who loves her dearly. Having a pet, teaches many things, Peg Schaeffer says, not the least of which is responsiblity.
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