Christmas is usually the time of year when we are all stuck for *the* perfect gift. But it happens at other times of the year as well. The children have been wanting a puppy, Mom would like a kitten, little Johnny is really into snakes. Are pets appropriate gifts during the holiday season? No, they are not, and for some very good reasons.
The holidays are full of excitement for everyone. The children are wound up with expectation, the parents are harried with shopping, company, and dealing with the children. Where does a live animal that needs care, fit into all this? Well, it doesn’t.
For children especially, it is a time of too much stimulation, too much that is “new”, and a new puppy or kitten or other pet, can get lost in shuffle. Yes, it may be fussed over and the centre of attention for a few days, but what then? The care of the pet often falls to a parent who already has their hands full and can become resentful of the extra work. Young children turn to their other toys, and tend to forget that the live “toy”, needs more than putting up on a shelf. It needs food, attention, and in the case of puppies, frequent trips outdoors.
Before getting a pet at any time of the year, the family as a whole, needs to take into account that there must be a sharing of duties, so not just one person gets burdened with the needs of your newest family member. Pets can be demanding, just like children. But unlike humans, they ask only food, shelter, care, and the love of the people they live with.
Animals give their affection unconditionally, and do not expect to wind up in an Animal Shelter, right after the holidays. But sadly, this is what happens every year. The puppy is too bouncy, too big, too much care and everyone is too busy for it. The kitten climbed the tree, knocked over Mom’s best china on the dinner table and broke it…these are just a sample of what is heard in facilities across the country, as another pet is left there,wondering where their humans went.
Pets are a lifetime commitment. When we purchase one, we should be prepared to care for it, for the span of it’s given life, and to ensure it has all of it’s “creature” needs attended too. Pets are not light bulbs, to be taken back and exchanged when they are “broken” or don’t “work out”. Responsible ownership begins the moment you purchase or are given your new puppy/kitten/hamster, etc.
There are many ways to give a pet for a special occasion such as Christmas. You can wrap a dog leash, or a catnip toy. Ask the breeder for a photograph to hang in an ornament on the tree for Christmas morning. Be creative. But be patient. While you may pick out your pet before the holiday, make your pick up date for *after* the holiday.
This has the dual benefits of allowing the human family to experience all of their other Christmas excitement, and still have the acquisition of a new pet to look forward to. Any responsible breeder will be glad to make this kind of arrangement for your puppy/kitten.
Love comes in many forms..and one of the most wonderful for adults and children alike, is a pet. Companion animals are non-judgemental, and require only the basic necessities of life, in return for years of love and friendship.Show your pet that same love and caring, by waiting for the right time to introduce him or her to his new home.