This article is paraphrased from an article we wrote on our American Dog Blog. It was a good article and worth repeating. Pets are great, but they may not be the best Christmas gifts. Here is why and what you can do instead of giving a puppy or kitten instead:
Picking out a Pet is a Family Event
If you are considering giving your child or loved one a puppy or kitten for Christmas, consider giving a gift certificate or a promise note instead. This way the entire family can get together and decide which pet is perfect for everyone. If done after Christmas, this will also help all the pets which have ended up in the shelter because they were given as gifts and not wanted. This happens more often than you think so waiting until the entire family is ready and can decide together helps both your family and the pets that found themselves homeless.
Picking out a Pet is a Personal Experience
You wouldn’t go pick out someone else’s wedding dress, would you? The puppy or kitten you think is perfect may not be the ideal pet for the person you are picking it out for. Even if that person described every detail about what they want in a pet, it’s like finding the perfect wedding dress – the right pet is chosen based not just on a description but also on emotion. Also, that person may not really be ready for a pet. By giving a promise note instead, they can choose when the time is most right for them. The holidays are already overwhelming. It might be best not to overwhelm things more with a little fur-ball of mischief.
Give a Stuffed Animal with a Promise Note Instead
If you know for a fact that a certain person really wants a puppy or kitten for Christmas, giving a stuffed one along with a promise note instead is a very creative idea. This allows them to pick out a real live pet themselves and you have still given a gift on that very special day.
Give a Donation in Someone’s Name
Now that you know how many pets are abandoned after the holidays because people weren’t really ready for them, you can give homeless pets and a person you care about a gift by donating in their name to a shelter or rescue group. If someone you know lost a pet recently, giving the gift in their pet’s name is an even better idea.
Promise to Volunteer
If a good friend or family member wants a pet but you are concerned a pet may be too much for them to handle, give the gift of agreeing to volunteer at an animal shelter together. This way, the person can see how much work is involved in caring for a pet. They might discover they don’t really want a puppy or kitten after all, or they might find out they are allergic to animals. Also, if the person doesn’t have time to get together with you, this might be a sign that they wouldn’t have time for a puppy or kitten either.
Please don’t buy a pet for Christmas this year. Consider the above alternatives instead and save one of the animals who were given up because someone wasn’t ready.