The Pet-Child Enrichment

It has been studied and well-documented that pets are good for your health. They can help people stay calm, they add years to your life. Some nursing homes are finally allowing either pets or resident animals to live inside the facility to add enrichment to the residents’ lives; after Katrina, the depth of the person-pet bond finally clicked into some people’s heads and rescue rules in times of disaster have been rewritten.  Libraries and schools employ dogs as reading buddies to help promote literacy. It goes on and on.

My kids are pretty enriched. I’ve worked in veterinary clinics since high school and have brought home quite a zoo over the years, since before they were born.


This is Bop, one of my medical fosters after his fracture repair needed to become an amputation. LOVED that little kitten!

bottle babies

And further back when I did bottle babies.

suni and luna

🙂 My girls. I adopted the shepherd from one of my jobs during school, and the pit was a failed foster from another job. I will have to tell her story one day.


Edgar, the yellow-bellied slider. A rescue.


Chicken’s not really a rescue. Pond store dared me. Told me if I could catch her (as a tadpole in their pond at the end of the season), she was free.  Now we have a frog.

Cats, dogs, lizards, snakes. Wild bird rehab. There’s been lots coming through my doors.

Then there’s Sampson. The purpose of this post, which is about the enrichment pets provide.


I can assure you, this isn’t going to be what you think.

Sampson. Another adoption from one of my clinic jobs. 40+ year old blue front Amazon I brought home in 2005. I’d grown up with a lilac-crowned Amazon, whom I adored. Sampson had been owned by his previous person for over 20 years. Who knows how many times he’d changed hands before that, or how old he trully is. He has several different sounds. When he’s happy, he sings in an old lady voice. That one’s my favorite.  If I’m on the floor and not moving, he gets very upset and repeats something I can’t understand in a lower tone over and over until I get up. That freaks me out. I almost don’t want to know what he’s saying or what he’s seen before. He has a crow squawk. Really odd. He screams shrill enough to clear the house and explode your ear drums. But he calls me baby, and currently no one else does (!).

And then…..I’m reminded that his previous owner had him during his college/bachelor days.

This is what I came home to awhile ago:

“Mom, Sampson swore at us today,” says #2.

“What did you do?” My immediate retort, after an internal, oh crap.

“I didn’t do anything! #1 was eating popcorn on the couch next to Sampson and Sampson wanted some, but #1 told him no, so Sampson called him a f-r.”

Yes. Then there’s this. As if listening to the boys bicker and name call wasn’t enough, now there’s this potential odd little three-way, where the bird will win because:

“#2, just because the bird swears does NOT mean it’s ok for you to say it.”

Yes, pets enrich our lives.


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