The best gifts a parent can give a child is – a good education and a pet.
Nine years back when The Green Pocket welcomed toddlers to a whole new teaching methodology, across the fence, PetStepin’ also opened it’s doors to an unconventional method of boarding and socializing animals. We practiced an open system of boarding and daycare where dogs are allowed to run around and play in an open space, under the trees, with their buddies without being leashed up or caged all day. While at TGP, kids were building their foundation under natures canopy and encouraged to get messy, explore and discover themselves..at the same time our four legged babies at PetStepin’ were being socialized and allowed to splash around, get pampered, make friends, run free and just enjoy themselves. This concept for both our places was so new in the city and it took a lot of patience , dedication and spreading awareness amongst parents to encourage them to embrace this system and soon fall in love with it.
With The Green Pocket as our neighbours we have been very lucky as both the babies and our pets benefit from their social interaction sessions. The children are encouraged to play with rabbits and guinea pigs in the school along with dogs and cats at PetStepin’. It is so delightful to watch the tiny tots squeal in excitement when they brush a dog down and the concentration they show when we teach them the do’s and don’ts of approaching and petting an animal. Some children who are fearful to touch the dog initially end up cuddling the pooch by the end of the session, thus teaching the child at an early age, not only on how to face ones fears calmly but to overcome them and understand that animals are actually fun and full of love. Similarly our doggies learn to be responsive, overcome anxiety and change their approach towards children, thus making them perfect family pets.
As a Veterinarian, I would be invited to teach the children a little about animals and every time I do, it never fails to amaze me on how much joy just holding or hugging the animals bring to the children. Whether it is cuddling a tiny guinea pig or brushing a big Labrador, it’s definitely a session filled with loads of laughter and excitement. The best therapist has fur and four legs – this can actually be proved scientifically. Having a pet at home or interacting with them has so many benefits especially with children. It improves their immunity and builds up resistance to allergies and infections, contrary to what is commonly believed by all. The child develops a sense of responsibility to take care of another being. Empathy, patience and understanding are only few of the major emotions that develop. Be it a cat, dog, guinea pig or bird, having a pet at home really completes a family. The advantage at The Green Pocket is that even though the child may not have a pet at home at least they are exposed and taught about animals which equips them with these life skills, giving them a strong foundation, before embarking on life’s journey.
The PetStepin’ Family and I, Dr.Nezhat Patrawalla, wish Anahita and Team TGP all the best for the future and thank them for giving children such a wonderful educational experience and strengthening their first steps, empowering them to become confident contributing individuals in the years to come. Cheers.
Written by Dr.Nezhat Patrawalla