April 26th is National Kids and Pets Day! You may be thinking, "They'll dedicate a day to anything, won't they?" This is a significant day that recognizes the bond between children and animals. Think about it - how many movies and books are dedicated to the subject. There are tons of stories about a pet saving the life of a child or of the love a child has toward their pet. It may seem unusual, but kids and animals have a bond we don't always understand.
Recently, a story came up about Max, a Blue Heeler from Australia. Max was given the title of honorary police dog after leading a three year old's grandmother to the child after she had wandered 1.2 miles from her home. Max had kept her warm and safe overnight while rescuers searched for her.
Stories of rescue dogs come in different degrees. There are also service dogs. The connection a child has with their service dog is unexplainable. When Bryson, a young boy with autism, went missing, his dog Curtiss, came to the rescue. Curtiss was trained by Bryson's parents to "track" their son since he had a tendency to wander. Bryson was outside with his parents doing yard work when he walked off. His parents searched frantically, but could not see him anywhere. Curtiss became the boy's only hope. Told to "find his boy," Curtiss sniffed out his buddy inside his parents hot car with all the doors shut. Bryson had made his way into the family van by himself. Without Curtiss, Bryson's parents are afraid to think what might have happened.
National Kids and Pets Day is also a reminder of safety. Children have a tendency to be rougher with animals than adults because they do not understand. Some pets may not like being handled by a child with a strong hand and lash out. That is a recipe for disaster.
It is important to never leave a child alone with an animal. Even if they have had successful encounters in the past, you always want to be prepared!