Giving a Pet as a Gift: Yay or Nay?

It’s a topic that crops up every holiday season: namely, do pets make great gifts? And the idea is perpetuated by those chocolate box-type photographs of a cute kitten or puppy sitting in a box with a big bow on top of their head.

The answer is a simple one. NO. Wanting a pet for Christmas is very different than committing to the responsibility of looking after a pet throughout their entire life. Furthermore, the holiday season is never a good time to bring a new pet into the home because there is too much happening to be able to properly introduce the pet to a new environment and keep it safe.

Many shelters don’t support the idea either because when the novelty of the pet and Christmas cheer has worn off, the real responsibility sets in and people change their minds. As a result, the poor animal lands up back at the shelter, unwanted and unloved.

It’s simply not fair. But there is a way around it.

If you know of someone who really does want to adopt and is fully and totally committed to the responsibility of pet ownership, instead of giving them a pet as a gift, give them a holiday card with a check inside to cover the adoption costs. This way, when the hoopla of the season has died down, they can go and adopt their new best friend and have the time to assimilate the pet into their new home. In addition, your friend or family member will have something to look forward to and the pet being adopted stands a much better chance of finding a forever home.

It’s also a better idea in terms of establishing the correct bond between the new pet and the owner. Choosing a pet that you like, as cute as it may be, may be very different from what the gift recipient may like. In other words, the person you are gifting may form a bond with a different pet at the shelter. Finding a new family member is a wonderful experience and by simply gifting someone with a pet means they do not have this wonderful bonding opportunity for themselves.

Another idea is that if you know someone who is ready to adopt, consider a gift card to a pet store. This way, they will also have the opportunity to go and pick out the accessories that they need for themselves, which, in itself, is such a fun experience.

Are you wanting a pet this year?

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