Many households dream of presenting a fuzzy dog or cat as a surprise gift for a special holiday. But holidays are typically very busy as everyone rushes about to get things done -- which isn't an ideal time to introduce a new member of the family!
Pets are living, breathing, thinking, feeling creatures. Over the holidays, chances are your regular routine is disrupted -- which means that feeding, house training and adapting a new pet to your home will require time you may not have. Children may also inadvertently frighten or injure a new pet in the excitement.
Keep in mind that although many people love animals, some don't necessarily want the responsibility that comes with owning a pet. There are financial obligations, of course, including food, treats, vet care, grooming, and one-time costs such as spay/neuter surgery, a kennel, and grooming supplies. There is also the fact that adopting a pet is a long-term commitment -- dogs and cats can live well into their teens!
It's an unfortunate tragedy that after the holidays, unwanted pets are deposited at an animal shelter to hope for the best. Instead of giving a pet, try one of these alternatives instead:
* Ask the local animal shelter for a 'gift certificate'. The recipient of your gift can then go to the shelter and select the right pet for himself.
* Provide other 'goodies' that a new pet owner can use after a pet joins the family: gift certificates for pet-sitting, obedience training, or for supplies at a local pet store. Or fill a basket with pet 'goodies' such as a brush, bowls, treats, and toys.
* Books for the pet lover: for example, dog lovers may appreciate a book that offers photos and descriptions of different dog breeds. It will help the recipient choose the right type of dog for his or her lifestyle.
Pets enrich our lives and good homes are always needed. However, adopting a pet is a major decision that should not be rushed -- so please, enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends... and consider welcoming a new furry friend after the hustle and bustle have died down. Then you can be free to relax and enjoy welcoming the newest member of your family to your home.
A New Pet For the Holidays? Say It Isn't So!
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