While dogs are proven to make excellent therapy animals, there are a few golden rules:
- Never leave children unattended with a dog(s)
- Dogs must have their own space that children cannot access
One of the best things about dogs is that they unconditionally love their pack leader and all other pack members. Dogs live in the ‘now’, so every day is the best day ever. This positivity and unflinching comfort can do amazing things for a child in foster care, whatever their background.
Children benefit from the dog’s kindness, honesty and enthusiasm.
Dogs are not judgemental.
Dogs adjust their behaviour to accommodate a child into the household. For example, I have witnessed my own dogs do the following:
TL, a child who has difficulty managing his emotions, my dog will happily sit quietly with him.
I and R; siblings who whose confidence is visibly boosted every time they walk my very gentle dog(s).
My other dog, who is a ‘puller’ on the lead, behaves differently with the child when she walks him, and adjusts his behaviour to accommodate the child.
Finally, children like to help look after the dog(s).