During the holiday season, we think about wish lists and finding the perfect gift for our loved ones. One gift that may seem perfect, can actually cause more harm than good.
Little Johnny has wanted a puppy dog his entire life, and Sally desperately wants a kitten.
You find a breeder, or somebody selling puppies and kittens for next to nothing. It’s the gift they’d always dreamed of, and surely the gift they’d never forget.
Sadly, in a few weeks Johnny will be too busy with school and basketball to take care of Fido. Scooping poop in the winter weather is far from enjoyable, and the newest video game will be far more exciting to him.
Sally loves the kitten, but not litter box duty. Her best friend is horribly allergic to cats, and no longer comes over to play. Sally is broken-hearted.
So what happens now?
The kitten gets put outside, where it will reproduce litter after litter. Another possibility is the unthinkable. The puppy will be taken to a local shelter, an owner relinquish, or potentially left outside in the cold. Their fate is left unknown.
As an animal lover, I urge you to think twice about giving an animal as a gift. Pets are a very personal, sometimes intimate part of our life. Certain breeds are considered higher maintenance, and need more care than others. The same can be said of temperaments. The decision to add a furry member to the family is personal, and should be done only by the person/people the pet is for.
And, should you decide as a family to add a fur baby, I encourage you to visit shelters and rescue agencies. There are so many wonderful pets out there for adoption, even purebreds. Adopting one animal saves TWO lives – the life of the pet you took home and that of another pet that may not have been given a chance otherwise.
For some of us, pets are an integral part of our family unit. But knowing the recipient of a pet is an animal lover isn’t enough, and the decision to add a pet to the family should be made personally to ensure that the pet is truly wanted and will be properly taken care of.