Can I Sit with You?

A stray dog chooses a little girl to befriend. However she is feeling & whatever she needs, he offers to sit with her & keep her company. He lets her know that wherever she goes, he is willing to walk with her, too.  They enjoy simple pleasures together, like throwing & fetching sticks. Slowly & gently, their friendship grows. When the girl wants to play with other friends, or go out & explore alone, he understands this need. He waits for her, delights in her return, & is ready to sit with her once more. This is a story of companionship, loyalty & learning to love & be loved. A cute, canine tale.

For children moving into new families, pets have potential benefits & challenges. Pets may make the transition easier. They can be a nice source of ‘contact comfort’ – stroking & holding pets & having that skin-to-fur sensation, can lessen the intensity of difficult feelings. Sometimes, children are reassured, when they see their new parents or carers being kind to pets & looking after them well. This is a ‘sign of safety’ for them, useful especially for children who are hypervigilant for danger. But some traumatised children are frightened of pets or may associate pets with previous abuse; or present a risk of cruelty themselves towards the pets.

With good supervision & support, from their adoptive parents or carers, learning to look after new pets & develop confidence around them, can be attainable for many children. Close structure, modelling good care & initially giving lots of small, time limited opportunities for success in interacting with the pet, can all help a child develop their capacity for nurture, kindness & empathy – as well as encourage exercise if the pet requires walking!

In Can I Sit with You? we see warm & furry acceptance in action. We see how it helps the little girl’s self-confidence & sense of engagement with the world grow. It provides a lovely opportunity to talk about pets, friendship & the strength that can be found in dependency. Love, we see, is a four-legged word.

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