We are proud to spread awareness about the joy of fostering with our pals Best Friends Animal Society and Toast Meets World! Best Friends NY is looking for pawtential foster parents for pups in the Tri-state area. Find out how you can help here!
Dogs and kids are the true peanut butter and jelly of the BFF world. They share lots of giggles, epic play sessions, and super cuddles.
These besties also give one another a lot of life lessons. Tiny humans help dogs understand the hooman world. Dogs teach kids how to care for someone else and, in turn, how to be responsible for themselves.
These lessons are magnified when your child is part of a foster dog family. Every dog has different barks of wisdom to impart.
We’ve rounded up nine of those lessons below.
1. Dogs know that timing is everything.
Dogs respond to consistency and routine. This is especially true of foster pups who may need some extra love and tenderness.
By seeing how routines, like timely walks, regular feedings, etc… help a pup, they’ll understand that humans need schedules, too. In other words, a dog might help your child get their homework done on time. Maybe.
2. Dogs + kids = cyclones of activity.
Part of being a responsible human is taking care of yourself. Exercise is high up on that list. It’s easy to explain to kids why a pup needs a daily walk to stay healthy. You can use that message as a tool to teach them about human health. Have your little one regularly help you walk your pup to give everyone in your family the opportunity to build healthy exercise habits.
3. A pup can get your kid to eat his veggies.
This is mostly because the dog will snag the fries off of the plate and leave the broccoli for your kid.
As your child learns why you shouldn’t feed pups too much human food, they’ll learn about food in general and how it keeps you healthy. This is the perfect chance to give kids a heads up on what foods are pawesomely nutritious and why some munchies should be chowed on only in moderation.
4. Your child will learn to build new relationships.
It can be hard to cope when friendships end or loved ones move away. By being part of a foster family, your child will learn to cherish the times they have with their friends and keep their hearts open for new friendships. A foster dog won’t be with you forever.
There will be sadness when the pup leaves your home, but there will also be joy when a new foster arrives in need of love. It’s the “one door closes, another one opens” philosophy.
5. Dogs will help them learn to pick up after their own… uh… poop.
Picking up actual dog poop may not be a task you want your tiny human to handle. You can still have them help to clean up after a dog. Most kids don’t like chores (really, who wants to clean out the dishwasher?), but dogs make these tasks 100% more fun.
Make a game out of having your child help to pick up dog toys at the end of the day. You want your child to feel like it’s about spending quality time with the dog, not a chore. When it comes time for your mini-me to clean up her room, have the dog go along to liven things up.
6. Your kid will finally stop being afraid of brushing their own fur! er… teeth.
For whatever reason, some kids HATE brushing their teeth. For these kids, it doesn’t matter how minty fresh or bubble gummy the toothpaste tastes. Toothbrushes can be considered torture devices.
It might not be easy for a kid to understand why self-grooming is important, but it’s not too hard to get them to grasp why dog grooming is a necessity. Taking care of your pup’s luscious locks and pearly whites can be a great teaching moment for kids about the importance of self-care.
7. Pups teach kids to play nice with others.
Respecting other people’s personal space is a huge part of being a responsible human. It’s also an important part of owning a dog. Teaching your kids how to approach pups gently and in a non-threatening way will help them to be cool, calm, and collected around humans. Once your child picks up on doggie behavioral cues, they’ll unknowingly tune into human ones, too. They’ll understand boundaries and when it’s time to walk away from a bad situation.
Fostering pups provides a bit of a bonus. It brings all types of pup personalities into your child’s life. They’ll learn how to cope with the drama queens, gentle giants and how to approach, or not approach, those that are all bark but no bite.
8. Your child will master the art of leading the pack and getting things done.
If you involve your child in the training process of your foster pup (or your family dog), you are opening their minds to the building blocks of leadership. A consistent and gentle human is a must for dog training. It’s how you earn a dog’s respect. As with number 7 above, fostering various dogs gives children the opportunity to adapt their leadership skills to different personalities.
In the human world, these skills come in handy for school group projects. These are usually the bane of every child’s existence, right? Not for the tiny humans with leadership skills! These are the kids who motivate the rest of the team to get things done.
9. The greatest lesson your child will learn is compassion.
We don’t often equate love, compassion, and empathy with responsibility. We tend to think of responsibility as something practical, not emotional. But, once your family takes on the responsibility of fostering a dog, love and compassion soon follow. This creates a bit of a circle. That lesson of empathy for dogs will blossom into compassion for everyone.
Whether it’s going out of their way to be nice to someone who doesn’t have any friends, sharing a sandwich, volunteering or simply saying a warm hello to people, your child will learn that, in a way, it’s up to all of us to make this world a little happier.
So, open your heart and your home. By becoming a foster with Best Friends Animal Society, you can do your part to help make New York City the largest No-Kill City in the world.