For many of us, animals are important family members. But for some individuals, the animals that share their homes are much more than pets. In truth, they are essential helpers. They may serve as their owner’s ears or eyes, helping their owners with basic tasks, such as retrieving items from the floor. These animals provide services that allow their owners to be more independent, helping them navigate their environment both inside and outside the home.
Service animals can also offer comfort and support. In the children’s book “The Rabbit Listened” by Cori Doerrfeld, when Taylor’s block tower tumbles to the ground, some of his animal friends try to make things better by offering advice. The chicken wants to talk about it, elephant suggests rebuilding the tower and ostrich simply wants to pretend it never happened. But rabbit simply sits close by and listens, providing the emotional support that Taylor needs.
In “Little Helpers, Animals on the Job” by Michele Brummer Everett, the author introduces several animal helpers and explains why the services they provide are so essential to so many people. At the back of the book, a short snippet about each of the various animal helpers provides additional insights. For instance, simply petting a cat reduces blood pressure and boosts immunity, whereas, snakes “can warn about an oncoming seizure by giving a tight squeeze.”
DBRL offers several children’s books about animal helpers. Here are just a few to get you started.
- “Tuesday Tucks Me in: The Loyal Bond Between A Soldier and His Service Dog” by Luis Carlos Motalvan
- “Oscar the Guardian Cat” by Chiara Valentina Segré
- “Animal Heroes: The Wolves, Camels, Elephants, Dogs, Cats, Horses, Penguins, Dolphins, and Other Remarkable Animals That Proved They Are Man’s Best Friend” by Julia Moberg
- “Rescue and Jessica: A Life-changing Friendship” by Jessica Kensky
- “Mogie The Heart of the House” by Kathi Appelt
- “Therapy Cats, Dogs and Rabbits” by Jenny Fretland VanVoorst