Dogs, Divorce and Children.

No question about it, divorce sucks. Especially for kids. The holidays can make it even worse. Having to go to different houses or not seeing one parent on special occasions. I know, not a festive topic, but a real one for many. A proactive, fun and potentially positive way to make a bad thing better is to add a dog. On your mark, get set, ready for the PUPPY? On the wish list for many kids, but when is the right time to make that commitment? Getting a dog is a huge responsibility and must be something you, as the parent, are ready to take on. Do not, I repeat, do not expect your children to take on the duties without your total supervision. 

This largely depends on your time, past pet experience and the age of your children. If you are considering the the addition, a dog can be an amazing teacher for children and help out during an emotionally stressful time. They help teach care, unconditional love and responsibility.

All of which, becomes especially important if your family is split. Divorce is never easy, especially not for children, who are often caught in the middle. Having to split time between parents and internally knowing not everyone is happy, despite the adult emotional coverup.  If your family has gone separate ways, sometimes adding a dog can help a child redirect emotions on to a positive happy focus.

Parents can absolutely use the experience of raising, caring and loving the family dog in a proactive way. Using the daily care of a new pet can become the catalyst to teach a child compassion, time management and structure, at a time that’s unstable.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying get a dog because your getting a divorce. It’s not a cure for your child. However, the change in routine that happens when a family split’s up can be made a little more tolerable to a child by infusing a positive project. Raising a puppy or adding the right rescue dog can help bridge the adjustment of having to go to two different homes by creating a new routine with pet care. It’s helpful if both parents are on the same page and agree to apart of the pet project. The involvement of training, walking, feeding, housebreaking and even vet appointments can help the kids build into this “new” family unit.

Even if the new dog stays with one of the parents, both can be included in activities and involved in the successes of the pet. Besides, even the process of looking for a great dog is a fun experience and help children with the adjustment of the split. Check out www.petinder.com for awesome pets in your area.

More on this topic… in blog posts to come.