COMMITMENTS ARE NOT GIFTS
When we think of Christmas, we think of giving and we generally have the best intentions when trying to pick out the perfect gift for those we love but considering a pet as a gift, can be a big mistake. Too many pets find their way into shelters or on the streets for a variety of reasons. We’ve heard them all; too busy, new baby, allergic, high maintenance, moving, divorce, peeing on the floor – the list goes on and on.
Hollywood movies paint a pretty picture of puppies at Christmas. We’ve all seen it. Perhaps it’s just impulse or people caught up in the spirit of the season or simply the cuteness of the little critter at the time. None of these are the right reason to add a new pet to the family. Bringing a pet into the house is a long-term commitment that affects the entire household so it should be a family decision and a family commitment.
Responsible pet ownership is a lifetime commitment and one that we certainly cannot make for others. Canidae describes responsible pet ownership as a promise to take care of the pet through sickness and health – in good times and bad – for the life of the pet. The AVMA states, “Owning a pet is a privilege, but the benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities”. AKC has a list of 75 ways to be a responsible pet owner.
I decided to see what others thought of “pets as gifts”, so I put the question out on a social media sight. Here is a small snippet of the comments:
- “Nope, never”
- “Pets are part of the family and should not be a gift”.
- “Not a good thing. You don’t know if they’ll have a connection”.
- “Choosing the right pet should be a family decision”.
- “Horrible idea!”
- “No! You’re just setting the pet up for disaster”.
- “It should be a family decision and not one made lightly”.
Not one person welcomed this idea and many identified a pet as a family member. One person actually said she received a bunny from her uncle when she was five and mainly remembers how it liked to bite and scratch her.
If you are considering pet ownership, please do your homework. Consider “where” you will get your pet and keep in mind that puppy mills are a huge business. While you may rationalize and tell yourself that you’re saving a pet, you’re really investing in the future of puppy mills and deplorable breeding standards and care. Consider adoption – It really is the best way to bring a new family member into your home. But wait until the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over. The bond between a family and their pet is the best gift imaginable – let’s just reflect on that for a moment.