To give or not to give

Thinking of giving a pet for Christmas? Please think twice.

Thinking of giving a pet for Christmas? Please think twice.

by Marjolaine Perrault

As the holly jolly season is upon us, so is the joy of gift giving. Finding an original gift can sometimes be challenging. What do you give to someone who has it all or who does not care for material gifts? Why not a pet?
Nothing would have made me happier when I was a child than to receive a pet for Christmas; the idea of a furry bundle of joy coming out of a box under the Christmas tree was my description of a perfect Christmas. (It might still be!) I’m sure my parents did not share that sentiment.

Owning a pet is a responsibility. Whether it’s for five, 10 or 15 years, the owner needs to be ready to care for that animal, to provide not only the basic care of feeding, exercise and attention but also be able to afford routine medical expenses as well as the unexpected, often-urgent medical expenses. Consider also that even if that person is a stupendous animal lover, she or he might want to choose the pet they are going to spend the next 10 years with. They might have criteria that you are unaware of, or have always had very active animals but with their current life style would choose a different temperament. What if you are not even choosing the right species? Getting a pet should never be a surprise.

Lastly, the holidays are probably the least favorable season to get a pet. It is hectic enough with all the shopping, cooking, decorations and visiting, making time for a new pet requires time and patience to get adjusted to his new family—it could be a recipe for disaster.

So, before giving into your impulse of giving a pet to somebody for Christmas, please consider these options:

  • Give a gift certificate covering the adoption fee for a later use
  • Sponsor an animal in their name. Many organizations offer that option.
  • Make a donation to a rescue and rehabilitation center in their name
  • If the gift is for a child, commit to bring him/her to volunteer at a shelter/sanctuary.

If this does not convince you, visit a shelter a couple of months after Christmas, you will understand that receiving a pet for Christmas usually does not end up being a lifetime commitment.

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