©iStockphoto.com/Klöpper & Eisenschmidt GbR
For some expert input into how animals can enrich your family's life, we spoke with Barbara Steinhoff, communications manager at the Toronto Humane Society.
1. Pets can bring the family together in making decisions
There are few times when children get to be involved in making big decisions for the family, and having a pet makes for many decisions that a family can make together.
"It's everyone's responsibility. That pet loves everyone in the family," says Steinhoff. "Everybody pitches in. Mom and Dad may take on the majority, but there is a role for children as well, and I think it's a great way to bond as a family."
2. Pets are natural stress relief
Pets can be a great stress relief for Mom and Dad, too. With parents working full time and being pulled in many different directions, a cuddle with a cat, dog or other furry companion is more beneficial than you think.
"Animals are incredibly instinctive, so if you're having a bad day, if you're not well, you'll find that they'll be right there with you, showing you this empathy that is incredible," explains Steinhoff. "We react to it, not necessarily consciously, but your mind and your body just see this thing looking at you and you relax."