Every child needs the responsibility of loving and being loved by a pet. Having the daily job of feeding, grooming, and playing with a dog or cat teaches them to care for others. This is not a one way street. Pets love their owners and will return the care and love many times.
"Caring and being responsible for someone else is a big mind leap for a child. Sure they love Mom and Dad. They love their siblings. But those beings are taking care of them. The daily routine of feeding, watering, and loving their pet teaches them about reaching out to others. Having a companion who is always there to love them back helps a child to calm themselves when life gets unfair in their estimation." Yes, I have said this before but it bears repeating!
When a child experiences the unconditional love that a pet offers it helps them to stabilize in a world that sometimes seems to be crazy. With all of the recent tragedies on the news they are going to feel insecure at times. When comfort dogs were introduced to some of the victims of those tragedies the victims immediately became calmer.
We have always had multiple pets in the home. My youngest son had a tom cat which would stand guard over him when he was sleeping. No waking that child up! My daughter had cats, dogs and even mice for awhile. Today she has 4 horses, 4 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 ferrets. Our home also has 2 cats and one very large dog. I can not imagine a home with out a loving pet. They offer comfort when you are upset and offer to play when you are bored. They understand our moods and do whatever they can to help.
For a child who is homeschooling they may be the friend they need. Someone they can talk to who will not judge them. Someone who will just be there when they want someone to understand.