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Consider Consequences Before Giving Pets as Gifts
about that special
gift you want to
give your children
this Christmas? Consider
it carefully. Don’t
rush into making
a spontaneous purchase
without first considering
While pets can be
a welcome addition
to the family, many
without any consideration
of the big commitment
The fact is there’s a 10- to 20-year commitment for the care of that cute
kitten or puppy. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the holiday
season is not the best time to bring a new pet into the home due to the stressful,
often chaotic atmosphere holidays create in the home. This unsettled environment
can scare the animal and interfere with the adjustment process.
Along with the added time commitment and the financial expenses associated with
upkeep, there are a number of other items to consider before giving in to that
pleading, “pretty please” look by the child.
• Be sure to check with your son or daughter to ask their permission to
purchase a pet for your grandchild.
• Ask your son or daughter what kind of pet they would like their child
to have, then do your research. There are books available at pet stores on just
about any type of animal you might be considering.
• Does your son or daughter own their own home? Are they planning on moving?
One of the most common reasons animals are relinquished to a shelter is a lack
of housing accommodations.
• Pets are expensive. Be sure to consider the costs involved. Veterinary
bills, grooming, food, toys, cages/crates, shots, licenses, surgical procedures
and liability insurance are only some of the things to consider. Don’t
forget to factor in the time it takes to attend to a sick pet or make trips to
• Allergies are another consideration. It is wise for all the family members
to spend time around the type of pet you are considering to make sure no one
has an allergic reaction.
• What kind of mess will your desired pet make? A long-haired cat is beautiful
to look at, but wearing its fur on your black pants is not attractive. Birds
love to flap their wings and scatter seeds and feathers all over the floor.
• If you decide to purchase a purebred animal, watch out for what are referred
to as puppy mills … those that are focused more on profits than on the
quality of the animal. Research your breeder, and try to buy locally so that
you can return to the site or breeder after the purchase.
• Who will take care of the pet when the family travels? Will babysitting
by Grandma be included along with the gift?
• Talk with a local veterinarian before making your final decision. They
are the best ones to help you with answers to your questions about personality
traits, proneness to injuries or illness, temperament, costs and breeding considerations.
It is never a good idea to pick out a pet for someone else, even though it seems
like a good idea at the time. Children need to be involved in the selection process.
What you think is just the right dog or other type of pet very well may be the
kind your grandchild is most afraid of or your son-in-law is most allergic to.
The Humane Society of the United States reports that the most frequent type of
animals brought to a shelter following the holidays are the ones which someone
else decided to give as a surprise gift but was not wanted by the recipient.
So before you bring home that kitten, it is recommended by the Humane Society
of the United States that you wrap up a stuffed animal resembling the type of
pet you want to give to your grandchild. Include some accessories for the real
pet such as a dish, cage, bed or leash along with a certificate for the purchase
or adoption of that pet.
When things have settled down after the holidays, make picking out the live pet
a family adventure. Don’t just consider purchasing puppies and kittens
from pet shops and breeders. There are many wonderful potty-trained, obedient,
spayed animals with current shots that would make good pets waiting to be adopted
at shelters. You will also be preventing one more animal from being euthanized
do to over-population.
Pets can bring great joy, comfort and companionship to kids and people of all
ages, so the selection process is crucial for positive end results. Remember
that you are picking out the next member of your grandchild’s family, which
hopefully will be with them for a very long time. Researching and talking things
over with your adult child before making a final selection will help make the
union a long and happy one.
S. Wallace, M.S., Freelance Writer, Citrus Heights Ca. email@example.com.
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