it teaches them to take loving responsibility for another living creature
I don't believe it is good for all kids. Giving a pet to one who will not be responsible and take care of it is just being cruel to an animal. The child should show a lot of responsibility before being allowed to have a pet.
We all need a friend, even if it crawls on all floors. At least they'll always be there...till, you know.
Puts something higher in the pecking order.