My daughter has grown up with cats and dogs from the very first second she arrived in our home from the hospital.
As a toddler, she has developed a gentleness with them and love for them that is very sweet to watch. But there is more to it than that. When she was about 1, her pediatrician commented that her dogs and cats are probably part of the reason she has been so healthy. I asked why and he said, "Because they are dirty!" (He has dogs too.) Research from Finland indicates that babies' immune systems can benefit from having dogs in the house. The physicians conducting the research found that kids living with dogs have fewer ear infections than those who didn't have dogs in the house. Cool. I wonder if the extra fur is a bonus too?
There are tons of other benefits of having your baby grow up with animals including physical, cognitive, emotional and social benefits. Sheknows.com does a great job of walking through some fantastic reasons to raise your kids with pets. Now that AJ is almost 3, she is learning how to feed the animals, walk the dogs, pat them gently and give them snuggles. It's a great opportunity to teach her all sorts of things including responsibility. I've attached a few pictures of AJ and her brood over her first 2 years. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do! Please add your own baby/kid/pet photos to our Facebook page and like us while you are there! Happy Spring!