Dear Daisy Dog
Before we were divorced, my husband abused me and our family dog, in my son’s presence. I am afraid my son might repeat this pattern when he is an adult. What can I do to prevent this?
You are correct that a child who witnesses or suffers abuse is at risk of hurting others, and that animal cruelty is tied to violence against humans.
The problem is so far-reaching that the Humane Society of the United States designated this week as Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week.
Furthermore, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chose this month as Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month.
To break the cycle of violence in your family, work with a therapist or talk with your local domestic violence shelter about group sessions for children.
Encourage your son to spend time with his dog and other animals, because the unconditional love we pets offer helps to heal wounds. He and his dog can join an agility class, or he can volunteer to socialize adoptable pets at the animal shelter.
If your son is in kindergarten through sixth grade, talk with his teacher about incorporating KIND News into the curriculum. This monthly newspaper teaches children to respect people, animals and the environment.
For more information, call the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education at 860-434-8666 or visit www.kindnews.org.
If your son is a teenager, suggest he join or start an animal protection club at school. For tips, visit www.humaneteen.org and click on “Start a Club.”