It isn’t one-sided. Animals can help kids learn to be compassionate, intelligent, and understanding adults. On the other hand, children can also make animals feel safe.

An eight-year-old boy is cycling across the UK during his summer break to raise money for his favorite animal, the hedgehog. In 34 days, Wokingham resident Harry Peksa will ride 1,100 miles (1,770 km). He rides with his father, Nick Peksa, from Land’s End, Cornwall, to John O’Groats, Scotland. Harry hopes to raise £5,000 for Tiggywinkles, a wildlife hospital. Harry previously cycled 100 miles (160 km) to raise money for the prickly animals. Harry developed a love for hedgehogs after discovering a cuddly toy named Hedgy and after observing hedgehogs in his garden. He said that he genuinely loved hedgehogs. Harry and his father had completed a challenge for Tiggywinkles two years prior, so he reasoned, “why not do it for the same charity?” Mr. Peksa of Winnersh praised Harry’s online support, noting that the two had been documenting their journey on Facebook. Mr. Peksa was astonished by the crowd’s response, and everyone was genuinely shocked to learn that Harry was eight. They hope to cycle 30 to 40 miles per day, which will take them 34 days to reach John O’Groats on August 23.

A growing body of research demonstrates that kids who are encouraged in their love of animals are more likely to extend that love to other living things like plants and the environment. According to research, kids who are encouraged to care for animals also tend to be more sensitive and caring toward other people.