Charlie Brown was right: Happiness is a warm puppy.

And if you are waffling about adding an animal to your family, warm puppies are also . . .

Science says that babies who are born into homes with animals are less likely to develop allergies and other respiratory issues—basically, exposure to dander might help build up your baby’s immune system. We’re not suggesting that you bring your horse into the living room, but this article in the New York Times talks about Amish children having very few allergies because they literally live and breathe animals.

BTW, if you get a pet after the kids are born, that immunity thing doesn’t apply.
But getting exercise by walking and playing with a dog is healthy, too!

Social mentors
And while you and your kids are out walking the dog, say hello to your neighbors. Get the latest news from Rosie McNosington. Notice stuff like too many newspapers piled on the porch, and otherwise “be present” in your ‘hood. It is good for kids to see you interact with others—it sets all kinds of good examples that will help them mature into socially aware and responsible adults.

Hanging out with your animal can help you relax into conversations that might be otherwise tough. Your heart lightens, you feel supported and loved, and voila! you can actually speak your mind.

Do you have a child who is awkward around new people, or doesn’t make friends easily? Bring a dog into the social mix, and there’s instantly something to talk about. Questions and answers lead to conversations, and before you know it—friends.

Well, not every family pet is a brave watchdog. (Ours might lick a burglar into submission, but that’s about it.) But having an animal friend by one’s side on a dark and stormy night really does make the heart stronger. When the lights go out, don’t you feel better when you tell the dog that everything’s OK?

The obvious example is that pets help children learn responsibility—the feeding, playing, and grooming kind. Less obvious it that nurturing a pet allows children—especially boys—to parent-play, which helps them learn to be caregivers.

Grab a tissue. Right now. Then click here to see children reading to shy shelter animals. Animals don’t judge a child’s reading skills. And reading helps to calm and relax the animals, helping them to be more adoptable and family-friendly.

They clean up the food your kids drop on the floor, just like a furry Roomba!


Yes, dog ownership is a big commitment that brings added responsibilities. But we think most dog owners will agree that the rewards far outweigh the costs. (And who can argue with Charlie Brown?)


Pencil sketch by Sydney Hanson. See the final artwork in New Little Puppy—a Cottage Door Press book arriving in 2017!