Pet’s as gifts – Food for Thought
When trying to decide on what to get your friends and loved ones as the perfect holiday gift can be really tough! Most of us spend hours debating on what the person would appreciate and what would really show the person how we feel about them. Often times when the person we are trying to find a gift for is an animal lover we land on a cute new pet. Our first thought is that the animal is adorable or just what we think they would want. Sometimes we would be right and it ends up a match made for each other! Other times however, we are very wrong. It’s those times that we as the gift giver need to be worried about. There are lots of reasons that giving a pet as a gift is not a great idea. The person we are wanting to get the animal for may not have the time it takes to care for the animal properly, they may live in a place that doesn’t allow that particular animal, financially they aren’t prepared to afford the care required for the new pet, sometimes we get them the gift thinking that because they recently lost an animal so we think that they could use a new companion but they aren’t ready yet to get attached to the new animal. The reasons not to is a long list.
Also to consider is the fact that just because you think the animal would be perfect for the recipient doesn’t mean that they would agree. Many of us were taught to accept gifts with grace and gratitude even if it is something we don’t actually want. Like getting clothes from your grandparents when you are a kid, we always wished there was a band new remote control car or the latest My Little Pony but when we opened it to find a pile of socks and underwear our job as kids was to be just as excited as if it was our coveted toy and to show our appreciation. That way we didn’t upset our grandparents. The same thing can happen with animals (Ok, probably not as unhappy to get a new pet as the socks and underwear but similar situation). The animal is then the responsibility of the new owner, a responsibility that they my not want or be ready for. Animals that are given as a gift that are not wanted often times end up in shelters, passed around, abused and sometimes the person will just go out into the world and release the animal on someone’s random “farm” thinking that the animal will live happy with all the space to live on. All hard situations for the animal to go through, sometimes even life threatening.
Getting a new pet is a big decision and it is one that should be decided by the owner to be. There are lots of things that have to be decided like who is going to feed and clean up after the animal. Who is going to be responsible for the cost of food, necessities, vet bills and providing mental stimulation that the animal needs to live a happy and healthy life. Where will the animal live? Will that place be home for the animal for the entirety of it’s life? If you move will you make sure to find a place that the animal is allowed? And so much more!
If you are quite certain that the person would appreciate having a new animal companion, consider getting that person a gift certificate to your local shelter (yep we have them here at HSSI). That in and of itself is a great gift. They get to go find their new best friend. That way they can prepare for the new pet and decide which one is perfect for them. This is a choice no one else can make other then the one who’s pet it will be.
Remember that the decision to give a pet as a gift affects not only the life of the recipient but the animal as well.