I love animals, especially cats, so I was excited to learn that April is officially 'Pets Are Wonderful' (PAW) month! In addition to just being wonderful to have around, many of you probably already know that research shows pets are also good for your health. They can improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, help with depression, and even facilitate social interactions among those who have them. Pets can also be beneficial for the elderly and children with special needs. There are even some wonderful organizations to help those interested in getting a pet for children with special needs. The Autism Service Dogs of America (ASDA) is an organization that provides trained dogs to children with autism. A Rinty for Kids Foundation (ARFkids) helps families with children who have special needs. They assist in selecting appropriate puppies for families nationwide. The puppy will then be trained to be a pet-assisted therapy dog. A $25 donation is required during the application process, and it looks like it takes about a year to receive your dog once the application is submitted. If you are considering getting a pet, make sure to look up some guides provided online for first time pet owners, especially if you are thinking of getting one for your child. Here are a few for dogs, cats, birds, and choosing a pet for your child.
Turtle at 45+ years, Missy at 12 months
Just keep in mind that getting a pet can be a pretty intense time commitment. ;) My husband got his pet turtle, George (above), at the age of 11. He is now 33, and George is now 45 (a guesstaminet given by the vet) and the way things are looking, our daughter may get to take her as a pet when she leaves for college! As a side note, yup you read that correctly, George is a girl--11 year olds are apparently not great at recognizing turtle gender. But honestly, we love George, and to celebrate PAW, I will be bringing her to school after Spring Break for an exciting Large Group. Check back soon to learn more about that!