By Andrew Puccetti
This holiday season, you may be thinking about giving a pet to someone as a gift. This may seem like the perfect gift at first (who wouldn’t love to receive a bundle of fur and love), but after doing some research, most will find that living animals are not appropriate presents—it’s never the best choice for either the pet or the parent. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re considering giving a pet as a gift:
Are you positive the gift recipient wants a pet? If the person loves animals and does not have one, there is probably a reason why, and they may not have the time or resources to care for one.
Does the gift recipient already have a pet? It may not be smart idea to add another animal to the family without their express approval.
How old is the gift recipient? When gifting a pet to a child, one must remember that you are giving away a living creature, and with that comes responsibility. A lot of the time caring for a pet falls into the hands of the parents, and if the parents are not on board with this, then it is not your place to get their child a pet. If you are the parent of the child, have a talk with him or her about the responsibilities that come with having a pet. Do some research to locate the right type of companion animal for your family. Remember to stress that pets are not “toys.”
Assuming they have the resources and the desire, why doesn’t the gift recipient have a pet already? Keep in mind that pets given on holidays can be stressed out by all the hustle and bustle, and the timing may just not be right for pet or guardian. Give the giftee a book about pets, and offer to come with to pick one out. If the person receiving the pet is part of the decision process, it will be a better experience altogether—someone getting a new furry family member needs to be completely prepared. Gift-givers can buy accessories for the pet or help out with the adoption fee. And when it comes to the animal, remember to adopt, not shop.
At some shelters, an estimated fifty percent of holiday adoptees end up back in the shelter. Unless prepared, please do not a gift a pet for the holidays.
Andrew Puccetti may only be fifteen years old, but he has already shown immense dedication and passion for the well-being of animals. Every other week Andrew will be here talking about the relationship between young people and animal rights–how they can make a difference, how they are already making a difference, and how important it is for kids to continue the fight for our animal companions. Learn about Andrew’s non-profit organization Live Life Humane and check out his blog!