We’ve all seen the videos of children being surprised by the gift of a puppy or kitten on Christmas. While they’re heartwarming and fun to watch, they only capture a moment in time. The reality of giving a pet as a present must take into account training and quality family time, daily exercise, veterinary care, food, shelter, and toys. It all adds up to a big commitment.
Pets can provide years of love and joy, however, companion animals need more than just food and water – they need to be loved, cared for and respected as a member of the family.
Be sure to consider the lifestyle of the person before giving an animal.
Be sure to consider the financial resources of the person before giving an animal.
Be sure to consider the living arrangements and/or rental agreements of the person before giving an animal. Not everyone has the space or the ability to keep an animal comfortably.
Be sure to consider the temperament and exercise needs of the animal before giving a person an animal.
If you believe you know someone that can and will provide all of these things for the lifetime of the animal, then by all means, adopt an animal from a shelter and make two lives merrier.
If you decide to give an animal as a gift, an easy way to make their day is to wrap up a picture of the animal and include some items that your lucky recipient will need: food, feeding bowls, toys, etc. Make arrangements to pick up the new pet after the holiday rush if possible, as it will be easier on everyone, especially the pet.
Above all else: remember not everyone is prepared for the lifetime commitment of a pet. Many “Christmas gift animals” are returned to the shelter, or even worse, abandoned.
Want to help animals? Donate food, toys, litter and blankets to your local shelter, or drop them off at any AZPetVet location until December 31, 2017.