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How do I know if my child is old enough to care for a pet?

Age is not a sure indicator of the readiness to care for a pet. You need to assess your child's level of maturity and willingness to be a responsible pet owner. How can you do that? Dig a little deeper than "Mommy, I want a pony."

Almost every child will swear up and down that they are willing to do everything under the sun to have a pet. You and your child need to know what is involved in proper care for the type of pet you are considering. Go to the library to research the needs of the animal you want. If you still think you're ready, contact the shelter, breeder or store and talk to the staff who regularly cares for the animals.

Never tell your child that if they don't take care of their pet, you will give it back or send it to the shelter. Pet care should never be a source of stress. It should be a joy.'s quote of the day
"Men show their superiority inside; animals, outside."
-a Russian proverb

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