Tag Archives: learning from animals

Parenting Challenge–Learning from Animals–Running the emotional gamut


Welcome to the June 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Animals

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and pets.

puppy love

We have animals. We interact and coexist with them on a daily basis. How can we not learn from them?

Having animals is an emotional training ground for my son, or so I believe. I hope that when he moves on to the emotional truckload found in adolescence and young adulthood, he will remember some of these experiences and maybe be just a little more prepared and not blind-sided with their impact.

little puppy

Unconditional love

We have had quite a few baby animals under our care. Some have been abandoned, some orphaned and some we bought young. These babies, whether puppies, kitties, colts, ducklings, lambs, bunnies, piglets, kids or chicks, have looked to us with unconditional love. They greet us with shining eyes in the morning. They wait at the gate for us to come home. They follow us trustingly wherever it is we go. They crawl into our laps for comfort. Everyone should experience unconditional love.


Group Identity

Some of our orphans have been accepted immediately by our other animals. Others have been rejected for whatever reason. Maybe their color was wrong, or they were seen as a threat to the already established status quo. It comes as no surprise then that the rejected form their own iron-clad gang, finding love and acceptance among themselves. Everyone should have a feeling of belonging.

Unrequited love

Some of our animals we have found had been abandoned and took them in. It is harder for us to love these older animals with their already formed personalities and behavior issues. We go through the motions, but the unrequited love these animals look at us with is difficult when our emotions do not run so deep. The kindest thing we can do is to try and find a more appropriate home for them. Everyone should learn to deal compassionately with a love that is not returned.

kissing horse


Sometimes, no matter how much lavish attention and love we shower on our animals, it isn’t enough. My husband has been the most affected by animal betrayal. Those dogs and horses he feels closest to have been the ones that ultimately have to go after a particularly horrendous crime. Everyone will experience betrayal.

sad boy


Animals have a shorter life span than humans even when allowed to live out their natural life. Outside events are also a factor. Some of our animals have been poisoned by not-so-well-meaning neighbors. The sadness and pain of loss is not lessened with frequency. Sometimes the only thing that  we can do is sit by a dying animal and give comfort with our presence. Everyone will experience loss.


Sometimes, when we have to make a particularly difficult decision with regards to our animals, I look at my son’s shining eyes and wonder if it is fair that I force him to experience these emotions right now, at his age. I wonder if it would be better if he didn’t have to deal with their magnitude and if I could keep him protected in a hazy bubble, maybe by giving him a fairy tale to believe, a Disney version of All Dogs go to Heaven perhaps. Then again, I know my son and doubt that he would believe such a story even if I could present it well. After all, life isn’t the Disney channel and childhood isn’t an isolated period of growth and development. He already knows that and so do I.


Online Advanced Herbal Course



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • What Animal Rescue is Teaching My Children
  • Tips on Picking the Perfect Kid-friendly Dog — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shares some tips she’s learned on how to find the perfect child-friendly dog for your family.
  • All New Animals Are “Woof” — Baby Boy is still learning animals. Life Breath Present doesn’t yet have any at home, but he still believes that all animals are “woof.” Here’s the proof.
  • Dude, where’s my Horse? — Adora loves horses, but Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different really doesn’t. However, Adora’s longing wins out; learn about their interactions with horses here.
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Family Pet — When is a family ready for a pet? Donna at Eco-Mothering discusses her worries as well as the benefits of adopting a dog, including how it will affect her seven-year-old daughter.
  • Parenting Challenge–Learning from Animals–running the emotional gamut — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the emotional learning her family has experienced through sharing their lives with animals.
  • Puppy Love for our Family — In case you didn’t catch it from the blog title, Pug in the Kitchen, the family pet is an integral part of Laura’s family and home life!
  • Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook is mostly vegetarian…not 100%, and not because of animal rights…yet she has found that the idea of not hurting animals is the aspect of vegetarianism most easily understood by a young child. She explains what her son has learned about not eating meat and how it has affected his social life.
  • Pets & kids: The realities — Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the benefits and drawbacks of pet ownership when young kids are involved.
  • HOW PETS CONNECT WITH EMOTIONS: KIDS & PETS AFTER 9-11 — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence discusses the importance of pets in lowering stress after traumatic situations, why children choose certain pets, the loss of a pet, and the role of parents in teaching care-giving to animals in a warm, gentle way.
  • It’s not our house without a dog! — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work describes why giving a loving and disciplined home to at least one shelter dog at a time enriches the life of her family, and has become a vivid memory in the minds of her children.
  • Canine Haikus —Kids, dog, haikus, atDionna (Code Name: Mama).Pet-centric poems.
  • Beanie’s BunniesOur Mindful Life‘s Sofi Bean has gotten her first pets!
  • Montessori Care of Pets — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her experiences with kids and pets and shares Montessori resources for pet care.
  • No Puppy! — Meg at the Boho Mama shares her tips for dealing with toddlers and the (very real) fear of animals.
  • Year of the Pets — Jorje of Momma Jorje wasn’t sure she ever wanted pets again, but things have changed a lot this year!
  • 3 Reasons Why Keeping Backyard Chickens is Good for my Toddler — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, started keeping backyard chickens for the benefit of their eggs, but what she wasn’t prepared for was what they would teach her two-year-old daughter too.



Filed under Animal Husbandry, Carnival posts, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms