How many images of puppies and kittens peeping out of giant bow tied boxes have you seen in your life? Somewhere, sometime, someone got it in their head that pets make great gifts and Hollywood and Hallmark followed suit. We see bunnies and chickens given as gifts around Easter and puppies and kittens given at Christmas time. While pets are absolutely great gifts, bringing years of joy and unconditional love to your life, we have very mixed feelings about whether or not they should be given as gifts. So let’s truly consider the question, “Are Pets Good Presents?”
First, we must acknowledge that pets are a 10-15 year commitment and should never be a surprise. If your family is in the market for a new pet, plan your adoption together. Teach your children that the decision to adopt a pet should be heavily weighed and researched. Some breeds are better suited to certain households and lifestyles. Allow your children to be part of the process of choosing their furry family member. Help guide them to make wise choices and never get a pet on impulse. How many Christmas gifts are your children still exuberantly excited about in February?
Please remember that shelter and rescue pets have already been abandoned once. Let your home be the one they grow old in and live rest of their life in.30% of shelter pets are pure bred because many other pet owners didn’t do the research and pick an appropriate breed or consider the commitment and cost associated with owning a pet.
Consider the energy in your home during the holidays. Christmas morning is full of excitement and noises of children and new toys. The holidays require lots of traveling or special guests. Christmas may not be the right time to introduce a new pet of any age to your home. If your family is ready to adopt, give the children a voucher and let them pick out a pet after the Christmas excitement has subsided. If Christmas is a good time because you are off work and can help your new family member adjust, then great. We know many local rescues and shelters that would love to see the pets they care for spend Christmas in a loving home. We just ask that you set your new pet up for long term success and not rush into a decision.
Please adopt and save a life. Rescued and shelter pets are not damaged or broken. In fact, in many ways they are better. Rescues and shelters can help you make the best choice for your family. Most rescues and shelters know their pets and can tell you about the pet’ s likes and dislikes. Some pets have even had training or lived in a foster home making their adjustment to life in a furever home that much easier.
Here are some alternative gifts instead of a pet for Christmas:
- Donate to a rescue or shelter in honor of the pet lover in your life.
- Have a pet portrait, coffee mug, or mouse pad made in memory or honor of a special pet.
- Foster a pet to teach your children about the responsibilties of pet ownership.
- Give a voucher for a pet adoption so that the receiver may pick out their own pet.
- Volunteer at a shelter and give back instead of giving a gift.
When you decide your family is ready for a pet, we hope you will adopt and save a life. Pets are, indeed, the best gifts in the world to those that love them but they are not Christmas presents. They are a 10-15 year committment and deserve to receive the same undying devotion that they give.
To see all the resources available for pet adoption in Wichita Falls, visit NKWF. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at P.E.T.S. Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic.