Through the Good Times and the Bad

New Pet Owners  •   Pam Karkow  •   Apr 11, 2016

I love books.  I love libraries and book stores.  I love the feel of a book in my hands and a child on my lap.  I can’t even think about falling asleep at night until I’ve read a few pages of my book.  My big kids feel the same way, and my toddler wouldn’t even recognize bedtime if there weren’t books involved.  For me, life without books would be a dismal place.

Moms of toddlers can read Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown with their eyes closed and preschool moms love their little ones to the moon and back (Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney).  Kindergartners learn their letters from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, and high schoolers are captivated by Oh, the Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss, read aloud at graduation.

It seems like there’s a book for every stage of childhood.  And luckily enough, the same holds true for our furry little ones. So in honor of National Library Week (April 11-15) and furry children everywhere, here are a few titles to get you through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

New Pet: What Pet Should I Get? By Dr. Seuss  This book tells the story of a brother and sister who are sent to the pet store to pick out a pet.  They consider all the usual family pets: dog, cat, bird, rabbit.  In the end, we don’t know for sure what they have chosen, as they walk out of the pet store with a basket showing only eyes peeking out.  The reader is left to decide what the duo chooses as their pet.  I love this sentence in the notes from the publisher: “So committing to caring for a pet as a cherished, not captive, companion is a big decision.”  It emphasizes the importance of our role as a mom or dad to a pet.  We should respect and honor our responsibilities to love and care for the new addition to our family.

New Puppy: Our New Puppy, by Isabelle Harper and Barry Moser  This book is about a new puppy coming to live with an older dog and his family, and about how the two adjust to each other.  Please, Puppy, Please, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee is a beautifully illustrated book about a family welcoming a new puppy.  It is full of the antics of a young dog, and reminds us that even though a puppy may drive his owners crazy sometimes, in the end, he is loved as part of the family.  

Anxious About Leaving a Pet: Stay, by Alex Latimer  Need to take a vaca sans your pet?  This book is a lighthearted tale of a young boy who is anxious about leaving his beloved dog at home with his grandfather while his family takes a vacation. The boy writes countless notes and instructions, in an effort to make sure his grandfather takes great care of Buster.  When he comes home, his grandfather has a note for him, about how much Buster missed him.  

Death of a Pet: The Heaven of Animals, by Nancy Tillman  It’s so hard to know what to say to a child when a pet passes away, and this book can help you ease your little one’s suffering by letting him know that in the heaven of animals, their love for their pet lives on.  All dogs go to heaven, right?  

Books are such a great way to reach kids, and adults for that matter!  Hopefully these titles will help to encourage, facilitate transition, and ease pain in life’s celebrations and it’s hardships.

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