Talking About Pets: The heart of a child
Most recently I had the opportunity to talk to small groups of children ages 6-8, who attended the HHS Summer Camp. I found their level of love and kindness for the animals fascinating, to the point whereas a few of the campers would tear up when we had to take the dog or cat away to allow the camp to move on to the next presenter.
One little girl, named Marissa, was so delightful. She loved coming to camp so much, her parents let her attend almost every week. (Each week is the same camp for nine weeks in a row, but she didn’t care; she just loved being with the animals.)
She loved interacting with the animals but especially with the dogs that made weekly visits. Her eyes would light up like a firefly when the dogs were brought into the room. (The kids were required to wear masks, thus all I could see were her eyes)
We would bring our ambassador dogs, Leo, Max and Bentley to the camp, each on a different day, and Marissa would run over to them and give them big hugs and then say, “Bentley (or Leo or Max) needs a bath! Can I give him a bath today?” It wasn’t that the dogs needed a bath. Marissa just wanted to rub on them for as long as possible. She was so cute.
The other kids in the camp were animal lovers as well. Why come to an animal camp if you don’t like animals right? But what really struck a nerve with me was the expression of kindness the children exhibited. True kindness and love for the animal.
This had me ponder and ask, why can’t all humans have the kind heart of a child? What changes in some people as they age, and their kindness turns to mistreatment and cruelty to animals? Wouldn’t be great if there were no animal shelters or humane societies because there weren’t any animals that needed the care and safety of these organizations? We would happily focus our efforts on other animal-centric planning such as training, clinics and more to remain vital to the community, but we would love to have empty shelters on a regular basis.
So, what’s my point? Simply, be kind to one another and to animals. Show some compassion instead of anger when a pup piddles on the floor or a cat scratches up a chair. Spend time teaching the animals how to behave instead of expecting the animals to already be trained.
The responsibility of care, shelter, training and feeding is on the human, not the animal. Have the heart of a child and be forgiving. And of course, adopt, don’t shop.