Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and new mom who spends her days helping other pet owners protect their pets with cat and dog insurance. Trupanion offers 90% coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications if a pet becomes sick or injured.
The American Humane Association dedicates a week every May as Be Kind to Animals Week. We are all encouraged this week to commemorate the role animals play in our lives, promote ways to continue to treat them humanely, and encourage others, especially children, to do the same.
As a new mom, that last part really jumped out at me. One of my life goals has always been to teach my children to be kind to animals. I knew that if I could bring another person into this world who would advocate for animals, I would have done a small part in changing the world for the better. My son is seven months old and I have already started to teach him these important values.
I have two dogs – an Italian Greyhound named Ava and a Spaniel mix named Jackson. From the day I came home from the hospital, they have been an important part of my son’s life. Every morning when my son and I wake up, we come downstairs followed by our loyal furry companions. He has watched them play, heard them growl and bark, and felt their soft coats almost every day since birth.
When he was a few months old, it really started to hit me that I had an incredible responsibility on my shoulders – I needed to make sure I raised this sweet baby in a way that he would understand the plight of these animals, always treating them with love and care, and never hurting them in any way. How could I make sure that he would be an animal advocate?
After a lot of thought, I had an epiphany. It was simple. He would learn through MY actions. Values like these aren’t taught in a classroom-like situation. They are taught by example. As my son grows up, he will watch his dad and me caring for our own pets, see how we approach other pets outside our home, visit animal sanctuaries and shelters with us, and hear us discuss animal issues as we tend to do. Eventually, he will be able to ask questions and take part in discussions, and he will understand that animals are amazing creatures that we treat with love and respect.
Once I realized this, I relaxed. As long as I lived up to my own values, I could be almost 100% assured that my son (and any future children I have) will hold those values as well.
For those of you with children – how did you go about teaching them about animals? And for everyone, how did you come to have the values you have about animals?