Pets Boost Children’s Well-being

Pets Boost Children’s Well-being

October marks the beginning of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, but if you’re thinking of adding a dog (or cat or other pet) to the family, adoption is a great way to go any time of year. You not only add a wonderful companion to your life, but also save a life.

Many families have adopted animals during the pandemic, since they’ve had more time at home to spend with their new pets. While it’s important to be sure you will be able to continue to care for your pet once life returns to a more normal schedule, the benefits to your children and teens are so numerous that you can be sure that the added responsibility is well worth it!

Just some of the benefits of having a dog or other pet for your family, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child’s self-confidence. Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others. And a good relationship with a pet can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion and empathy. 

Pets provide unconditional love, which is important for every child, but especially helpful for kids who have difficulties with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. In fact, research indicates that children with pets tend to have higher levels of empathy and feelings of self-worth compared to those who don’t have animals. They can also help children with issues such as shyness and autism with their social skills.

Some other benefits for kids of pet companionship: Leads to an increase in physical activity; reduces stress; provides companionship and social support; helps children learn responsibility; gives them someone to talk to; and fosters a connection with the natural world.

So, given the benefits to children’s mental and physical health of having a pet, visit your local shelter and bring a bundle of love home!

Want to learn more about pet adoption? Click here for a great source of information.


Caring for a Pet

The decision to adopt a pet should never be made impulsively, since it is a long-term commitment. Before bring a pet home, read up on the responsibilities of pet ownership, here, or take these tips from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology:

Taking care of a pet can help children develop social skills. However, certain guidelines apply:

  • Since very young children (under the age of 3-4 years) do not have the maturity to control their aggressive and angry impulses, they should be monitored with pets at all times.
  • Young children (under 10 years) are unable to care for a large animal, a cat or a dog, on their own.
  • Parents must oversee the pet’s care even if they believe their child is old enough to care for a pet.
  • If children become lax in caring for a pet, parents may have to take over the responsibility on their own.
  • Children should be reminded in a gentle, not scolding way, that animals, like people, need food, water, and exercise.
  • If a child continues to neglect a pet, a new home may have to be found for the animal.
  • Parents serve as role models. Children learn responsible pet ownership by observing their parents’ behavior.


Where to Adopt

Long Island is home to many animal shelters and rescue groups. Following is a listing of many, but to find more, google “Long Island animal shelters” and “Long Island animal rescue.”

Almost Home Animal Rescue & Adoption
646 Route 112
Patchogue, NY 11772
(631) 627-3665
More Information

Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF)
124 Daniels Hole Road
East Hampton, New York 11937
(631) 537-0400
More Information

Bideawee
Westhampton
118 Old Country Road
Westhampton, NY 11977
Adoption Center – (631) 684-0079
Animal Hospital – (631) 325-0280
Volunteer – (631) 684-0079
More Information

Bobbi and the Strays
2 Rider Place
Freeport, NY 11520
(516) 378-4340
More Information

Brookhaven Animal Shelter
300 Horseblock Road
Brookhaven, NY 11719
(631) 451-6950
More Information

Forgotten Friends of Long Island Animal Rescue
(516) 719-0808
More Information

Jake’s Rescue Ranch
jakesrescueranch@gmail.com
More Information

Kent Animal Shelter
2259 River Road
Calverton, NY 11933
(631) 727-5731
More Information

Last Hope Animal Rescue
Wantagh Adoption Center – Dogs & Cats
3300 Beltagh Avenue
Wantagh, NY 11793
(631) 425-1884
More Information

Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center
33 Warner Road
Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 368-8770
More Information

North Fork Animal Welfare League
(631) 765-1811
More Information

North Shore Animal League America
25 Davis Avenue
Port Washington, NY 11050
(516) 883-7575
More Information

Ollie’s Angels Animal Rescue
More Information

Our Best Friends Animal Rescue Inc.
More Information

Posh Pets Rescue
770 Park Place
Long Beach, NY 11561
(516) 431-7674
More Information

Remember Me Rescue
rmrescueny@gmail.com
(310) 623-0463
More Information

Ruff House Rescue
(516) 960-6388
More Information

Southampton Animal Shelter
102 Old Riverhead Road WEST
Hampton Bays, NY 11946
(631) 728-PETS (7387)
More Information

Tender Loving Cats, Inc.
1208 Deer Park Ave
North Babylon, NY 11703
1-866-458-8228 (ILUVCATS)
More Information

Town of Babylon Animal Shelter
80 New Highway
Amityville, NY 11701
(631) 643-9270
More Information

Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter
75 Marino Avenue
Port Washington, NY 11050
(516) 944-8220
More Information

Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter
3320 Beltagh Avenue
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 785-5220
More Information

Town of Islip Animal Shelter
210 S. Denver Avenue
Bay Shore, NY 11706
(631) 224-5660
More Information

Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter
150 Miller Place
Syosset, NY 11791
(516) 677-5784
More Information

Sources:

https://www.aacap.org/aacap/families_and_youth/facts_for_families/fff-guide/pets-and-children-075.aspx

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/pets-and-mental-health

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/top-reasons-adopt-pet

https://theconversation.com/when-pets-are-family-the-benefits-extend-into-society-109179

https://napacenter.org/super-pets-how-pets-can-improve-social-skills-in-children-with-autism/

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/avma-policies/guidelines-responsible-pet-ownership

https://www.rd.com/advice/pets/shelter-dog-benefits/

https://www.aacap.org/aacap/families_and_youth/facts_for_families/fff-guide/pets-and-children-075.aspx