With Christmas just around the corner, FCVC feels like you do – pets are wonderful and everyone should have one, or two or more. (Hopefully that elicited a smile). But then again maybe, or maybe not. Having pets is a personal decision that each of us has to decide if that works for our circumstances. So then, giving pets as Christmas gifts may require thinking through what the personal biases are of the new owners and how that pet fits for their needs. We found these tips that may help you in deciding whether or not to give a pet as a gift. From our friends at Pets.WebMD:
When John Van Zante saw the small, gray-haired woman being pulled along the sidewalk by her powerful bulldog puppy, he ran from his office to help.
“I can still picture this poor woman as she was literally dragged up the sidewalk by the bulldog. Tears in her eyes. Stumbling,” says Van Zante, spokesman for the Helen Woodward Animal Center, a nonprofit pet adoption organization in San Diego. “When I took the leash, she just stood there to catch her breath.”
Finally, Van Zante says, the woman told him that her grandkids thought she was lonely so they bought her the dog for Christmas. The only problem was, the kids hadn’t asked her if she wanted a pet.
The woman insisted that the dog was nice. But she lamented that her new puppy chewed sofa cushions, pooped in the house, dug up the yard, and yanked her arm so badly during walks that she’d gone to the doctor.
Giving Pets as Christmas Gifts: 4 Tips
For the holidays or a birthday, it can be tempting to give a cute, cuddly pet as a gift. Yet along with the precious purr that won’t quit or the fluffy tail that never stops wagging, there comes a commitment to another life for the next 10, 15, even 20 years.
No one wants to give an unwanted gift — especially a vulnerable one that lives and breathes. If you’re thinking about giving a pet as a gift, the experts offer these tips to help you make sure that that gift is actually a good idea.
1. Giving pets as Christmas gifts — but never as a surprise. Pets are a wonderful addition to life, yet not everyone has the time, energy, money, or interest in having a pet, says Peggy Post, director of the Emily Post Institute, and author of the 17th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette.
That’s why Post suggests always asking the receiver if they want a pet. “Some people will ask relatives or friends, but often no one asks the recipient,” Post says. A surprise may feel more festive, but in the long run everyone — whether they have two legs or four — will be happier if you ask up front.
Acting on impulse also doesn’t give you (or the recipient) the chance to select a pet by size, activity level, and temperament, all important factors when choosing a pet, Sonnenfield says.
When You Don’t Want a Pet as a Gift
After you waxed lyrical about your childhood pet, your neighbor surprised you with the gift of a puppy or kitten. Unfortunately, you don’t want a pet. What do you do?
- Thank the giver. Even if a pet is the last thing you were hoping for, remember that the giver meant well, says Post, so “be gracious. It goes back to the basics of etiquette; be honest, respectful, and considerate.”
- Decline the gift. After you’ve thanked the giver, decline their gift gracefully — and quickly. Most purchased pets do have a return policy within a certain time-frame, Sonnenfield says.
- Or, accept the gift and find the pet a good home. Unfortunately, not every gifted pet can be returned. In that instance, Arms suggests accepting the pet, then taking out an ad, screening potential owners, and finding a good home for the pet. “It’s the kindest thing you can do.” Although relinquishing the pet to a shelter would make it easy on you, that puts “all the onus on a facility that’s overcrowded to begin with,” Arms says.
FCVC hopes that you found these tips to be helpful in deciding whether to give a pet as a gift to family or friends. The best thing to do is to ask – before giving. Pets are a big responsibility to gift to someone. Make sure that they are willing and able to take on such a responsibility.
Attribution – from our friends at Pet.WebMD.com
Photos – pixabay.com/photo/2014/12/29/23/28/puppy-583415, https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/11/24/12/55/kitten-1856134