Learning from Our Pets
A pet is not only a wonderful companion for a family, they are also a great resource for teaching children. "Giving children age-appropriate tasks such as feeding and brushing pets teaches them responsibility for caring for another living creature," Rabbi Shmuley says. "If we introduce children to healthy relationships with animals at an early age, we help them become more compassionate and respect all living things."
At the same time, it's important not to let pets become substitutes for the love we're not getting from relationships, Rabbi Shmuley says. In today's society, many people are using pets as a replacement for human interaction, he says. "A pet is not a replacement for a boyfriend, a husband, a child, a friend," Rabbi Shmuley says. "Your goldfish should never mean more to you than your spouse."
"While pets are a wonderful source of affection, comfort and support, we dare never make them into a replacement for authentic human company or a warm human relationship."