There are no two ways about this. Pets are not Christmas gifts, they are a lifetime commitment. Sadly, too few people still understand this. Each year, pet rescue organizations such as the SPCA and PETA see an increase in animal abandonment after the Holiday season.
This year, to reduce the damage, PETA has released a list of reasons you should never give a puppy (or cat, or rabbit, etc.) as a Christmas gift. They’ve also suggested a very clever alternative that will please people looking to give the loving gift of a pet without fear of it being abandoned.
Why shouldn’t I give a pet as a gift?
There are many reasons pets are a bad gift idea. For starters, children who ask incessantly for an animal companion usually don’t have any idea what kind of work is involved. They won’t be motivated to feed it, clean after it or train it properly. This leaves parents overburdened, and in the worst cases, leads to the animal being neglected, mistreated or abandoned.
Besides, how do you know what kind of pet is right for the person you’re thinking of? If it’s someone outside your immediate family, this gift will affect everyone in their household. Before adopting a pet, each member of the household should visit with the animal and understand its needs.
Animals are Expensive
PETA goes on to explain that the gift of a pet could also be the gift of debt. Animals need to eat.
If the animal has health issues later, it could also mean heft veterinarian bills to pay… If the owner isn’T prepared for this, it can become a huge and unneeded burden.
How to Give the Gift of a Pet… Without any Issues!
There is one way PETA suggests of giving the gift of a pet… Without any expected problems! Just offer the person an “adoption package”. This could include a gift certificate for the adoption fee, and maybe also a starter kit of food and accessories for a future pet (if you know the species).
Then, you can both go together and allow the recipient to visit with many animal candidates. They’ll end up picking a pet that is a good match and much more likely to be a loving companion for life, rather than a temporary moment of affection.
PLUS: Always Adopt from Shelters
It’s always recommended to adopt pets from shelters and never buy from pet stores or breeders. It’s usually a lot less expensive, and you won’t be supporting cruel puppy mills.