Let’s discuss it: Christmas pets

For many it is the season for giving and receiving gifts. Unfortunately, for some, that means the gifting of a living, breathing, creature on four legs.

We are inundated with scenes of cute little puppies and kittens sitting under a glittering Christmas tree. Commercials, magazines, movies, and television tell us how wonderful our life, or someone else’s life will be if there is a cute puppy or kitten in the house on Christmas morning.

We are told this is the season to open our hearts and our homes to those less fortunate than ourselves. As any animal lover can tell you, most puppies and kittens are less fortunate than most of us, especially rescue animals.

Regardless of how much we love animals, or we believe someone else does, pets should never be given as gifts. This is especially true during the Holiday season.

Giving pets as gifts has become such a serious issue that the Crawford County Humane Society’s adoption policy includes, “Furthermore, by signing the adoption contract, the adopter agrees that the animal is not to be given away as a gift….”

Most people who wish to give a pet as a gift have good intentions. They are either pet lovers themselves and want someone else to know the enjoyment of being a pet owner, or they are people who have never owned a pet, but a friend or family member has mentioned to them the desire to have a pet.

Whichever you are, and for whatever reason you want to give a pet as a gift; DON’T. If you absolutely feel you must give a pet as a gift, instead give a gift certificate whereby the person can make their own decision as to whether they want a pet, and what kind of pet they prefer.

Most pets given as gifts during the Christmas season are either puppies or kittens. Also, most pets given as gifts during the Christmas season are impulse purchases.

When buying on impulse we tend to forget that the cute little puppy or kitten can constitute a 5-10-15, or even 20-year commitment to a living creature. That type of commitment can often be too much responsibility for the person receiving a pet as a gift.

As Dr. Becker writes on healthypets.mercola.com, “Chances are, if you visit your local shelter in late January or February, you’ll have your pick of pets who’ve already worn out their welcome as Christmas gifts. It happens every single year.”

I personally am an animal lover. But, I can tell you quite honestly, that I would not be pleased to receive a pet as a gift, and I certainly would not look kindly upon anyone who would give me a pet as a gift. You might keep that in mind when thinking about giving a pet as a gift to someone you think is also an animal lover. Just because we love animals does not mean we may want one in our lives, at this time in our lives.

If you are considering giving a pet as a gift, remember these things; puppies and kittens grow up to be dogs and cats. Dogs and cats are expensive to keep and require a lot of attention if taken care of properly. Puppies and kittens are not toys and should not be considered as such for gift giving. Puppies and kittens are living things that feel pain and loneliness.

As good as your intentions may be in wanting to give a pet as a gift, remember that the cute little bundle of fur that you purchased as a gift may end up in a shelter in a couple of months, or worse yet, may spend the rest of its life chained in someone’s backyard.

In short; if you love a pet, don’t gift a pet.


Johni Hipple

Contributing Columnist


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