MilkBone It's Good to GiveI’ve seen first hand the joy that pets can give to people who really need it, which is why we’re so honored to be part of the It’s Good to Give series sponsored by Milk-Bone, which helps support the Canine Assistants Program.

Since I was never allowed to
have any pets growing up beside a couple of lame hamsters (insert much
hand wringing and wailing for my entire childhood), I was thrilled that
my kids would have our dog Indy to grow up with.

While knock wood, my kids are healthy and don’t need a dog the way the kids in the program do, I’ve still seen the immense benefits to them. Or really, to all of us.

I was fortunate that my dog immediately accepted my kids are part of the pack and I have to admit that watching my first “kid” interact with my actual kids was heartwarming.  Sure, we had the errant teething toy turned dog toy mishaps. (Okay, sometimes it was more than a teething toy).  But especially having a spouse who travels, the companionship, the extra set of eyes, and the after dinner clean-up help was always worth putting up with the perfectly timed barking fest during naptime.

Milk Bone It's Good to GiveMost of all, I’m so pleased discovering how beautifully a dog can teach my kids responsibility. There are the simple tasks, like filling up the food bowl or letting our dog out in the mornings, that even my three-year-old can do and whine about (ha!). Even my 17-month-old now knows how to wipe up her own pee accidents because she’s seen me take care of our dog’s handiwork more times than I’d like to remember. And it’s taught my  five year-old, who continues to beg for a kitten, that there’s a lot of work that goes into taking care of someone else, even a tiny little furball cat.

But then there are the less obvious but still invaluable life lessons our dog is teaching us, like the importance of caring for another family member. And that no matter how little you are, you can still do your part and contribute to the household.

Even if that means sometimes sneaking the dog your veggies. -Kristen

Please check out our sponsor Milk-Bone’s Canine Assistants program which helps people with disabilities. You can even get involved by sharing photos of your own doggie on the Milk-Bone Flickr stream.

Congratulations to Emily M and her sweet little Cairn terrier, lucky winners of the huge goodie pack from Fuzzy Nation!

[photo – Kristen’s daughter Quinlan with Indy]