Support Animals

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Want to raise empathetic kids? Get them a dog.
The unexpected developmental benefits of having a pet
"One of the cornerstones of EQ is empathy, which should be taught and modeled starting in early childhood. A variety of research in the U.S. and U.K., including by the late psychologist Robert Poresky of Kansas State University, has shown a correlation between attachment to a pet and higher empathy scores. (This is hardly a new idea: Philosopher John Locke in 1699 was advocating giving children animals to care for so that they would “be accustomed, from their cradles, to be tender to all sensible creatures.”)

 The reason is obvious: 
  • Caring for a pet draws a self-absorbed child away from himself or herself.
  •  Empathy also involves the ability to read nonverbal cues — facial expressions, body language, gestures — and pets offer nothing but nonverbal cues. 
  • Hearing a kitten yowl when it wants to eat or seeing a dog run to the door when it wants to go outside get kids to think, “What are their needs, and what can I do to help?”"

Autism: Empathy
"Many children with autism have trouble with empathy, but studies report that children who live with Autism Service Dogs show more signs of empathy than children who do not live with Autism Service Dogs. Because children often learn to view the service dog as a peer, the straightforward and consistent body language of the service dog can be used to teach the child empathy. Often, as the child ages, their ability to empathize with a service dog will extend to interactions with other people."