The Emotional Legacy My Pet Left on My Childhood

· August 23, 2016

Having a pet during your childhood means you get to live it more fully, and it provides us with an emotional legacy that can build our foundation as people. The happiness that an animal provides us, be it a dog or a cat, is so sincere and noble that all children should grow up with this privilege.

According to a study published in the newspaper The Guardian, having a pet helps children be more empathetic. Furthermore, according to this same study, they are less likely to suffer from asthma (even up to 50% less if they live on a farm).

My dog was the best partner I had throughout my childhood. He was my partner in crime, the guardian of my secrets and the one who saw me grow up through a gaze so pure that even now he continues sleeping in my heart.

Pets are a source of well-being for children. So much so, that we’re sure that to this day, you still lovingly remember the animal that brought light and smiles to your childhood days.

mother son and dog

Pets help us socialize during our childhood

Dogs and cats are more than simple playmates. There are still some parents who are afraid to introduce an animal into their home if there are small children present, because they think these pets can pose some sort of risk. Nevertheless, you must remember that a well cared for animal is a therapeutic companion for our children.


Dieter Krowatschek, child psychologist and scholar from Marburg, Germany, offers us an interesting book called Children Need the Company of Animals. In this book, he shows us the ability dogs have to promote socialization in children.

  • Dogs are more curious and less cautious than adults. They can be the most fearless and brave explorers. They can also teach kids that the best attitude to have towards reality is to be open to new discoveries. On the other hand, they are marvelous guardians and this makes them great partners for the first skirmishes of our little ones.
  • Thanks to animals, our children develop adequate empathetic abilities, understanding from an early age the value of a caress, of words and the importance of positive reinforcements over negative ones.
  • Something as simple as having a dog in your home can diminish the numbers of lonesome hours spent in front of a TV or computer. The child’s way of interacting will be more playful and open.
  • Pets are excellent partners in times of emotional release, to channel sadness, fears or tantrums. In fact, we can’t forget what many studies affirm: animals have emotions, and they know how to interpret them in us humans.
  • Another thing we can’t ignore is the great therapeutic benefit that dogs can offer children with autism or attention deficit. Dogs allow them to focus their concentration, enjoy physical contact and interact in a safe way with their environment.
dog resting head on baby

Pets and their importance in our memories

It is often said that a happy childhood is the foundation for a secure and fulfilled adulthood. Growing up in the company of an animal offers us a cognitive and emotional reserve that we never lose and which enriches us immensely.

In a dog’s gaze you can see the greatness of your soul, because nothing else will make you want to be a better person more, make you want to make him as happy as he has made you.

Another aspect we should keep in mind is that our memories are set during our childhood and they define our identity. All those special moments with our dog during our childhood are stored in our hippocampus, creating a sort of “black box.” Something that will always live on.

People have two types of memory: There’s one that seems to have a special predilection for going back to the most uncomfortable moments in our past. Instead, there’s another type of memory that “rewards” you. This is the one in charge of transporting us to those happy moments of our childhood, where our pets played an essential role.

Our clearest and sharpest memories begin emerging around the age of three. From this age through adolescence, we experience what Marla Montessori defined as sensitive periods. During these, every stimulus becomes essential.

If my childhood is my identity, my dog taught me the loyalty of love. We’re sure you’ll agree with this statement: thanks to this pet, who grew up alongside you, you learned what it meant to give your everything in exchange for nothing at all. Dogs don’t know resentment, and that is something you surely already learnt and haven’t forgotten since.

girl whispering in dogs ear

We also know that it’s very likely that the memories you gathered alongside your dog, cat or any other animal who accompanied you throughout your childhood, bring you a bit of nostalgia mixed with sadness. A feeling similar to the one that invades us when we remember times we spent with loved ones that for some reason or another are no longer in our lives.

Now, never forget that your pets never die, they sleep in your heart. Therefore, we can make no greater tribute to our beloved childhood pets than to remember them with a smile and thank them for everything they did for us. Thanks to them you are a better person. And based on your own experience, you will most likely choose to have your own children grow up alongside a pet of their own.