Pets Are Not Gifts

It’s the most wonderful time of year! The holidays are right around the corner and if you haven’t started, it’s time to get shopping.

This is also the time of year that people need to be reminded that pets are not gifts.

What!? Before anyone reading this gets upset, let me explain.

Adding a pet to your family is not something that should ever be a spur of the moment decision or something that you should surprise someone with as that person might not be willing or able to care for that animal. The big problem lies in the fact that far too many people see animals as disposable and why so many animal rescue organizations and shelters are at capacity. Pets are members of your family and they should be treated as such.

Let’s say you surprise your children with an adorable puppy. They are so excited and so happy, until that puppy pees on the floor. Who cleans it up? The puppy chews your child’s running shoes, then what? The puppy starts biting and jumping (and guess what, that’s what puppies do), then what? The puppy has to go to the vet and the vet bill unexpectedly costs $600, then what and are you financially prepared for that?

Have there been conversations about who is going to take care of the animal? Who’s is going to walk, feed and clean up after it?

This is why many rescues will not adopt out animals as Christmas gifts. Many rescues have very strict policies (for good reason) that to adopt an animal, every single family member needs to consent to adopting that animal.

I know there are people who might be reading this saying “well I got my pet as a gift” or “I got my child a pet as a gift and everything is fine”. While I don’t doubt there are people who have received pets as gifts and are wonderful pet owners, it’s hard to ignore a trend that people in rescue see every single year with these gifts being surrendered or abandoned.

So what do you do if you really want to add a pet to your family? Make sure everyone is on board and prepared to take care of the animal. Make sure you have all thought long and hard about the decision. Once you have done that, then you can look at your local animal rescue organizations and decide what animal you think would be a good for for your family and then fill out and an adoption application.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to add a pet to your family over the holidays. But, make sure it’s something that everyone wants and is prepared for. Remember, this is a member of your family, not a toy that can be disposed of four months later. Maybe if people actually viewed animals that way, rescue organizations wouldn’t need to have a remind people and have policies in place.

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