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Empathy, Comfort, Responsibility: Moms On How Pets Helped Their Kids In The Pandemic
PHOTO BY /JANET MUNOZ AND BLOSSOM MORANTE
  • Having a new pet at home–whether it’s a dog, cat, or fish–takes effort and commitment. It’s like having another child that needs care and nurturing. Smart Parenting talked to five moms, who are also fur parents, about what it’s like to have pets at home and the benefits of having new furry friends to their kids. 

    Most of them became emotional sharing how their pet cats and dogs became the refuge of their little ones amid the isolation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    'We even got a second dog because it helped my daughter' 

     

    PHOTO courtesy of /BLOSSOM MORANTE AND JANET MUNOZ

     

    Blossom Morante gave their daughter Xavia a pet dog on her 10th birthday. “Our unica hija had always asked for a sibling or a pet since she was about five or six years old.” That’s when they welcomed Prince, a male shih tzu in their home. 

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    Blossom opened up that her 12-year-old daughter was deeply affected during the height of the lockdowns. “May time na sobrang anxiety ng anak ko, because she couldn’t see her friends, hindi makalabas, stuck at home.” 

    Last December, they decided to get a second dog, Duchess, a four-month-old female Shih Tzu. 

    “Having pets helped her a lot because she felt that she's not alone and she can have cuddle times with them. When the dogs are barking, running around, wrestling and scratching, our daughter shows a sense of maturity by calling them out and catching their attention to play fetch.  

    It turns out to be a fun and playful moment with the dogs, keeping the sadness away.” 

    Blossom adds, “Before getting a dog, research about breeds, size, physical characteristics, etc., like which breed is most suitable for you and your family. Observe other dog owners walking their pets around the community.  

    Ask friends/people what they like or they don't like in being a pet owner, and find out about budget expenses for maintaining dog/s (e.g. food, vaccine, vitamins, clothes, diapers, accessories),” she shares.  

    Next best thing to having a playmate this pandemic

     

    PHOTO courtesy of /ERIN GALOSO
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    Erin Galoso shares that her kids Cyrus, 12, and Hayley, 5, treat their 6-year-old pet dog shih tzu named Paopao like their own.

    “It teaches them empathy kasi kahit di sila nakakapag-interact with other kids dahil pandemic, nalalaman nila yun by taking care of the dog.”  

    She also shares that her kids rarely have coughs and cold because they of their pet exposure This is backed by a study

    “If kids are being exposed to pets, madaming magandang behavior na nakukuha – taking care of someone else, cleaning up after them, and looking after their needs.” 

    “It’s the next best thing to having a playmate in this pandemic,” Erin adds.   

    Hindi siya parang whim lang ng bata

    Janet Munoz is a mom of three boys. Her sons are Seth, 13, Drake, 9, and Jian, 7.  

    They also have three female dogs, whom she considers as her daughters: Mia, a nine-year-old Labrador retriever, Ginger, a one-year-old beagle, and Pepper, a seven-month-old french bulldog.  

    She shares that having pets at home teach her kids patience, responsibility, and empathy

    “Last year, si Ginger nagkasakit, nagka-liver issues siya. Nung nakita ng mga bata, they took care of Ginger together, pinagpipray nila siya sa gabi.  

    Janet shared that they got their son Drake a beagle for his birthday. “Pinapili namin siya kung gadget or dog, gusto niya talaga dog. Kaya nung nagkasakit si Ginger, he felt bad.” 

    Janet reminds parents that having pets should be taken seriously. “Hindi siya parang whim lang ng bata. Si Ginger, before namin kinuha, kinausap namin yung mga bata na mag-aalaga din sila.  

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    “We are one big family, treat them as your sisters, you have to take care of them, hindi pwede na gusto mo siya ngayon tapos bukas ayaw mo na. 

    “Pag di pa ready yung kid, as the adult, ikaw ang dapat mag-take over.”  

    'Dapat ready ka sa risks'

     

    PHOTO courteesy of /TET SINDINGAN

     

    Tet Sindingan owns four dogs and 2wo cats, whom her 1-year-old daughter Lia is very fond of. 

    “Happy siya makita sila, mag-identify ng pets, at gusto niyang pine-pet sila.” 

    Tet shares it’s a form of play and helps her toddler develop sensory skills.  

    She shares that they rescued their pet cat amid a typhoon in November last year. “Madali lang mag-alaga ng pet kung pet lover ka talaga, pero risky din kasi yung husband ko nakalmot and nakagat siya.” 

    Her advice to parents who want to have their pets, “As long as you can commit to be a responsible pet owner and understand that it has risks too, then you're good.”  

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    'Para ka rin talagang may anak'

     

    PHOTO courtesY of /JILL SOTTO

     

    A first-time pet owner, Jill Soto shares how their pet dog Momo changed their lives. Momo is an American bully, who recently turned one, and has an Instagram account

    Jill reveals that she and her husband are neither dog lover, nor dog haters. But they had hesitations when their 17-year-old son Sebastien wanted to have a pet dog at home.  

    “At first, dini-discourage namin siya. Mag-Grade 12 na siya so dapat focused siya sa studies. Yung helper namin umuwi na. Tapos syempre lockdown, and may international race dapat siya sa Dubai, so sabi namin, baka hindi natin kaya mag-alaga.” 

    She recalled how he responded to them about taking in a pet dog, “Paano natin malalaman kung hindi natin susubukan?”  

    Jill acknowledged that it has been a tough year for their son, whose racing competition got cancelled due to the pandemic.   

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    “Eventually kinuha namin [yung dog]. Para ka rin talagang may anak. They have to walk and exercise every day. They get bored. Nag-training siya, we also got him insurance.” 

    Another benefit of being a pet owner that Jill highlighted was how they learned to give their son some space. “Na-defocus yung attention namin as parents–kasi he’s our only child. So since pandemic, we always ask him, “kumain ka na ba, nag-wash ka na ba ng dishes, etc.” 

    Jill shares that her husband and son contracted Covid-19 last year. “Napansin ko parang ang lungkot ni Momo. Kasi 2 weeks siyang hindi rin makalabas, tapos wala siyang playmate.”  

    Even though having a pet would entail unlimited cleaning up and forgiving because it can ruin your furniture, Jill admits, “If you weigh it, mas malaki yung impact emotionally ng pagkakaroon ng dog. As first-time pet owners–hindi ko na-realize, mai-in-love ka pala talaga.”  

    As for her son, Jill concludes, “Kahit ang daming nangyari, everything fell into place. At sabi niya, si Momo talaga ang pinaka-nakatulong sa kanya.” 

    Coming from their vet appointment, Jill reveals that Momo is going to switch to Royal Canin. Royal Canin is a pet food brand that values tailored nutrition for dogs and cats.  

    It takes a village (or a virtual world) to raise a pet 

     

    PHOTO BY /ROYAL CANIN
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    PHOTO BY /ROYAL CANIN

     

    Just like how it takes the whole family to take care of a pet, this week, Royal Canin delights fur parents and babies alike with a five-day virtual world for new pet parents, dubbed as the Royal Beginnings Puppy and Kitten Central. 

    From live vet advice to interactive games and video content, Royal Canin continues its annual Royal Beginnings that aims to mentor pet owners on their pets’ development at their Start of Life. 

    This virtual event will run from March 22 to 26, 2022.  

    To join, register in the Royal Canin Club app, then login to the event on the day at www.royalcaninroyalbeginnings.com using your registered Royal Canin Club number.

    For more information, you may visit Royal Canin’s official website and Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts.

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