If you are educated at home, you can learn in whatever way your parents will allow! The key is getting them on board in creating the learning environment that will help you truly thrive. This might mean having an animal by your side as you work: a school dog. While the benefits of a school dog may seem apparent to you, you may have to spell things out for your parents. A dog can improve your learning environment and help you become more complete physically, mentally, and spiritually. These are all things that your parents want for you. Below are 10 points that can help you make the case for getting a school dog.
Your parents want you to be the best you can be, growing up into the calling God has for you. A great way to make the case for pets is by emphasizing that having a pet will make you a better steward of God’s creation! After all, when God first created man in His image it was with the expressed purpose of caring for the earth and its creatures:
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Genesis 1:26
Contemporary life doesn’t give you many opportunities to interact with wild animals very often, so learning alongside a school dog is an opportunity that your parents can give you to learn about and practice the role that God has given humanity.
You can even quote the French Poet Anatole France, who noted the spiritual nature of loving animals: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” What parent wouldn’t want your soul to be fully awake?
Having a dog to sit beside you as you complete your school work will also make you more responsible. Of course, you have to take care of the school dog once you get one!
Show your parents how responsible you’ll be by doing a little research on all the things a dog needs and telling them how you plan to make sure the dog is cared for. Also look up any special requirements for the breed of dog; some dogs need special food or constant grooming.
Once you’ve shown them you’re ready to be responsible for your school dog, be sure to emphasize that this sense of responsibility will carry over into other areas of your life, too.
Now that your parents see how responsible you are and will become with a school dog, it is time to pull on the heartstrings. Explain to them that caring for a dog will make you a more compassionate person. Caring for a dog involves paying attention to and understanding the needs of a being outside of yourself. If they get you a school dog, you will become more aware of the needs of others.
Albert Einstein said that we must widen “our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
St. Francis of Assisi noticed that people who treat animals well, also treat humans well. “If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” Your parents definitely want you to grow up to treat people well, so keep this quote in your back pocket, in case you need it!
4. Social Skills
Your parents also want you to develop social skills, and a dog will help with that. You will see all the more clearly that if you want to be treated nicely, you also need to treat others that way. Animals won’t pull any punches; if you are mean to an animal, the animal may respond unkindly by biting, nipping or snarling. If you treat your dog well, though, he should respond in a loving manner. Eventually, the school dog may become one of your best friends, always lending a sympathetic ear.
5. Understanding the Love of God
Jesus often uses our care of animals to show that he cares for us. In Luke 14:5, Jesus tells people that if one of their animals fell into a pit, of course they would pull it out regardless of the circumstances. And Jesus will rescue us, no matter what, too.
"Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?"
Tell your parents that caring for your dog will teach you about the love of God. However much you love your dog, God loves you infinitely more. If you take care of your dog, won’t God take care of you? Your parents will love that when you care for the school dog, you are reminded of God’s care for you.
6. Calming Presence
Your school dog will also help with your emotional well-being. When you feel down, a school dog can lift your spirits. When you’re working oh so hard on school work, a little moral support can go a long way! As the philosopher Martin Buber said, “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language,” one that can encourage you in your school work!
Dogs are incredibly loyal. It is likely that your parents value loyalty, so make sure they know that the school dog will be loyal to you, and it will teach you to be more loyal to others. You may want to reference some news stories of dogs who have saved, warned, protected, or traveled thousands of miles for their owners. There are so many to choose from!
You can also point out that animals don’t judge people by what they wear, what they have, or where they live. This is another great thing you will learn from your school dog.
8. Physical Activity
Having an animal will also make you more physically active. School dogs need to be walked and played with in games such as fetch or tug of war. Playing with the school dog is sure to keep you physically engaged.
9. Curiosity and Imagination
Tell your parents that your school dog will definitely help you learn better. Dogs are so curious and are constantly figuring out the world around them. This is a great quality in a school dog, and it is sure to rub off on you! As environmental activist John Muir said, “Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.”
The school dog will also ignite your imagination. How many writing projects could come just from your interest in his or her pet? Think of a couple of school projects that you could base on your pet to prove your point. For example, one school dog project could be a short story written from your dog’s perspective!
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and school dogs can be very silly. They perform funny tricks without even knowing it, which will make you laugh, relieving stress. Explain that being more relaxed will help you focus on your school work!
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” –Samuel Butler
There are many advantages to having a school dog, especially when you learn from home, where you can constantly benefit from the dog’s presence. Enlightium Academy is a fully accredited online Christian school that offers students the opportunity to be schooled at home, in their own learning environment, with the comfort of a school dog, while working at their own pace through an award-winning curriculum.