Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Parent to Parent: New Pet
Parents hear it all the time. I want a puppy. For kids, having a pet can be a wonderful experience, but for parents it can be a struggle to get their kids to take responsibility. Doctor Val has some tips on how to set some guidelines. Lynn Martinez is here with tonight's Parent to Parent.
wsvn -- They get you every time with those big ears and sweet brown eyes. One look and you're head over heels in love.
Laurie Hoffman, Humane Society of Greater Miami: "There's a wonderful bond between humans and animals, and having a pet be part of your family is just a wonderful, wonderful addition."
The Valdes family knows the feeling:
Caridad Valdes: "I'm here to adopt a pet for my daughter, she's been wanting a pet so we're getting her one now."
Their choice, a good natured, 1-year-old dog named "Caroline."
Derranieshea Valdes: "She's big, she's nice, I like her color and pretty much everything about her"
Even our own Dr. Valerie has a new dog, a mixed breed named Desi. Adoptions happen every day across the country and Dr. Val says it should always be a family affair.
Dr. Val: "I think the child should be part of getting an animal from the very beginning. You go look at the animals every week until you find one that you connect with, but the child right from the beginning should be a part of it."
And that means talking with kids about what a new pet will mean. And helping them figure out which kind of pet is right for your family.
For example, if you work and don't have a lot of time, a cat might be the ideal pet. If you're home a lot and like to be active you might prefer a dog.
Dr. Val: "You definitely want to go with the personality of the family and every family has it's own personality. This dog is yours or this cat is yours for years so you want somebody that you really love and that you feel connected to."
And parents, you must be ready to commit to the cost of a new pet for things like food, toys and medical care. As for the kids, they should be involved in the pets care, but Dr. Val says don't dump everything on their shoulders.
Dr. Val: "You can make them your assistant but try not to make them totally responsible for this animal. It's not fair to the animal that you bring into the home."
Dr. Val says put the kids in charge of things like feeding and grooming. It will teach them valuable lessons without putting too much pressure on them.
The Valdes girls are looking forward to their new responsibilities.
Derranieshea Valdes: "I'm going to fix her up a nice little bed of her own, yeah, dogs have to have their own beds too."
In the first year, the average cost of a pet can run $500 to $700 and the Humane Society says to remember, when you bring a pet home, it's a lifetime commitment.