National Kids & Pet Day brings good reminders

April 26 is National Kids & Pets Day. In 2005, Colleen Paige, a mother, former EMT/medic and expert in celebrities, families, and pet lifestyles, created this day to recognize the bond between children and animals, educate families on how to select the right pet, safety concerns for children and pets as well highlighting the potential rescued animals still waiting to find their forever homes.

It’s a lot for one day.

For me, this day is a good reminder on why it’s important to pick the right pet for your family.

First, what is your current pet environment? Currently, do you have pets? What type? Ages? As the parent, do you have the time and finances to care for another? Pets can be expensive.

Steve Economides, writing for the American’s Money Smart Family, said: “Experience with pets can help kids practice compassion and consistent care.”

If you have a current pet, then will it get along with another pet of the same species? A different species? Not all dogs get along with other dogs. Not all cats will get along with not only other cats but also different species, particularly smaller ones such as mice or rabbits.

How old are your human kids? Older ones can have a more active role in the care‑taking of an animal than younger ones. As well be quite helpful when it comes to daily tasks such as feeding a pet and picking up toys.

Many pet experts suggest that if your kid(s) is really asking for a pet, then start with a less expensive and easier to care for pet, to those that take more time and money.

My daughter Jordan’s first pet was a fish, a Siamese fighting fish, also known as a Betta fish. Jordan, then 7 years old, named the fish Eric after the prince in the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid.” These fish are easy to care for, but they are not especially long‑lived, with an average lifespan of four years. Eric lived four months and was quickly replaced with Eric II and then roughly six months later, Eric III.

Jordan won the first Eric at the Greene County Fair. She fed the fish daily as well as cleaned his home, a large drinking glass, weekly. We had an older dog and cat when Jordan joined our family, but this was the first pet she was responsible for.

My family’s first pets were also fish. We had a fairly large size fish tank, live plants, pirates’ chest and diver with air bubbles coming from his hose. My dad and mom loved it. I thought they were the most boring pets on the planet, but the diver was pretty cool.

When our two older pets had passed, my husband, Ed, and I felt it was time for Jordan to have her own dog. We also felt we were ready to welcome a new dog into our family.

Economides also wrote in his article, “But it is unrealistic to expect most children to be fully responsible for feeding, exercising, and cleaning. And to have enough experience to organize their schedule for pet care and to know when something is wrong with a pet, will require that mom or dad stay involved in the pet care too.”

Jordan faithfully fed and walked Lucy everyday. We stepped in only when Jordan was involved in activities that prevented her from doing so, such as summer camp, school sports and the like. We took over full responsibilities when Jordan left for college.

The bond between Jordan and Lucy was one of the deepest friendships she will ever have. From 7 years of age to her sophomore year in college, Jordan had Lucy with her through disappointments and triumphs. Lucy showed Jordan unconditional love. A good object lesson for any child to learn.


1. Fish and reptiles

2. Turtles

3. Birds

4. Mice

5. Hamsters

6. Rats

7. Cats

8. Dogs


Karin Spicer is a member of The Dog Writers Association of America. She lives in Greene County with her family and two furry pets who inspire her. She can be reached at

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