Pets Should Not Be Christmas Gifts

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By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder

As advocates for rescue cats and dogs and wanting every pet to find a loving home, this may seem like an odd article to write during the season of giving. We have, sadly, heard from too many shelters about pets who were given as surprise gifts during the holidays and those pets were not planned for, nor were they welcomed by the recipient. This means that this pet, who was tasting freedom and heading toward what he believed was his forever home, will now be surrendered or abandoned. This is never what we want. We want pets to find forever homes in the arms of families who will love and care for them until they breathe their last and cross over the Rainbow Bridge — this is what all pets deserve.

Reasons pets should not be Christmas giftscats as gifts

  1. The recipient doesn’t have the time, resources or the desire to commit to caring for a pet.
  2. The recipient will want to have chosen his or her own pet, not have one thrust upon him. You may love calico cats or red dogs and the recipient may love ginger kittens and black puppies.
  3. The recipient isn’t allowed to have pets where he or she lives.

If you’re giving a pet for Christmas (or any time of the year) here are things to consider: 

  1. Offer a gift certificate, “I will pay the adoption fee for the pet of your choice.” Then let the recipient choose the pet of his or her dreams.
  2. Buy a pet insurance policy to help alleviate some of the stressors associated with having to pay for expensive veterinarian procedures.
  3. Offer to care for the dog or cat while your friend is at work or on vacation. Finding a pet sitter or a dog walker can be stressful and if you can help, then it will make it easier for the recipient to be a pet parent.
  4. Sign the puppy up for puppy training and socialization classes to help him be the best puppy ever.
  5. Give the recipient a “care package” of puppy/kitten or dog/cat items including: litter, food, a certificate for vet visits, toys, a bed, harness and leash, etc.

pets as giftsAs Larry Kay, author, says,  “A pet is not a toy with a heartbeat.” He promotes rescue dogs and cats and knows that every rescue pet can be a loving family companion, but they must be prepared for and the pet parent must be committed to the relationship for life. “The biggest gift you can give your pet is loving kindness.”

Happy holidays to you and your pets!

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Larry Kay is the award-winning coauthor of Training the Best Dog Ever, which became a #1 best seller in dog training on Amazon Kindle. He is Leader of the Pack at Positively Woof, which helps shelter dogs get adopted by making videos and raises awareness and funds. Larry is an award-winning dog filmmaker and has been a frequent contributor to the American Animal Hospital Association and Dog Fancy magazine.
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