Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trying Out Digital Argumentative Papers

***My students are beginning a unit on argumentative papers on Tuesday. I've been checking out Kristen Hawley Turner and Troy Hick's book Argument in the Real World. I highly recommend it. This is my sample paper for my students and it's a bit rough. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or ideas for my class as we begin this unit into writing argumentative papers. Thanks!***
When you think about your family, who comes to mind? Your parents? Siblings? What about your pet? Many people think of their household pet as a member of their family, but did you know that your pet can actually make your life better? While all animals have the potential to improve your quality of life, today I am going to dive into the research on how a dog can be good for you.

In the last few years the research on what we can from our pets has been all over the news. Adding a puppy to your home might make you smile, but your heart will be smiling too. It seems that the addition of a dog to your home makes you more active - you get out and walk the dog. Even the American Heart Association has given dogs a stamp of approval. They say that owning a dog actually reduces your risk of a heart attack. The daily walks aren’t the only way you make your heart healthy, however. Having a dog in your home releases a relaxation hormone and can actually lower your blood pressure, especially while you sit and pet it. So while one could argue that you wouldn’t need the dog to get out and walk daily, it does encourage that behavior and you have the added benefit of lower blood pressure while around your pup. Seems like a great benefit from a small member of our family!

Dogs also can help their owners not just physically, but socially as well. The aforementioned walk gets you out and you have the potential to meet others. Beyond that, dog ownership leads to better moods, less feelings of loneliness, and general happiness. When we are happy in one part of our life, it can spill over to others. In fact, US News & World Reports argues that owning a dog can help you beat depression. They say that being responsible for another living thing gives your life purpose, which can break you out of depression or prevent it from occurring in the first place.

On a selfish level, I see how owning a dog could be good for me, but what about my own children? Beyond the responsibility that owning a pet can teach a child, it might actually help their health in the long run. While many people look at pets as a source of allergies, it seems that growing up around the allergens can either eliminate the allergy as an adult or make it less severe. Babies that have cats or dogs at home have been shown to get sick less during their first year. All of this being said, my favorite reason pets are good for kids falls into the category of unconditional love. Being a kid is tough. From our dogs my boys have received understanding, compassion, caring, and love in its purest form. While others might not be kind to them, they can come home and know that they are the whole word to the little furry family member that is waiting for them, delighted to see that they are home. This gives them the confidence to go back out there and tackle the world anew. I firmly believe that all kids can benefit from a dog in their lives.

Reflecting over this topic I’m left at a crossroads. There are absolutely downfalls to owning a dog: time, cleaning up after them, cost, attention, etc. Yet here’s the thing - that's all true. When it comes down to it, the immense positives outweigh any minor inconveniences. I have scientists and experts (like the LA Times) that could back me up here, but I know this to be true from my own experience. Through my dogs - Pokey, Tristan, Sally, Bally, Rosie, and soon - Leia, I have lived a better life. They have taught me about love, companionship, patience, unselfishness, and more. I’ve walked them, sat on the couch and pet them for hours, and cried tears that seemed to have no end when they’ve gone. My dogs have enriched my life in ways I cannot summarize eloquently, but Hank Green does a pretty good job here. I’ll let him have the last word.