Countless kids ask for a puppy for Christmas. Appropriately enough, my daughters got one for Thanksgiving. They'd been begging for a long time, but my husband had said no, no, no. We live in New York City, where having a dog means walking him at night before bed and in the rain and snow. Somehow, when I went away for 24 hours with my college girlfriends, my 10-year-old got her dad to change his mind. As he explains it: "It was like that scene when the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day."
In case you're on the fence, here are five reasons why pets are great for kids.
Diane Debrovner is the deputy editor of Parents and the mother of two girls. Follow her on Twitter: @ddebrovner.