I’d like to get my girlfriend a dog for Christmas. I think that a dog would keep her company. What are your thoughts on giving pets as gifts?
Shopping Early in Shepherd Park Plaza
Dear Shopping Early,
Giving an adorable puppy or kitten as a gift this holiday season may seem like a wonderful idea, but it is important to remember that pets need a lifetime of care and commitment long after the holiday season. Surprising your girlfriend with a new fuzzy friend on that special holiday morning is tempting, but be sure to first consider these facts to avoid being unprepared when bringing a pet home.
Giving the gift of companionship requires a considerable amount of research and preparation. There can be many reasons why a pet may be unsuitable for a home, such as if the receiver is not financially or mentally prepared for a pet.
Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how pets can often come with hidden expenses. “Pets, even healthy ones, require a financial commitment for basic requirements, such as food, collars, and leashes, as well as medical needs, such as basic vaccinations,” she said. “Unexpected illnesses or injury may also add to that financial burden, which can be too much for some owners to handle.”
Other reasons a pet may not be an appropriate gift this year is if the receiver is allergic to pets, if the receiver does not have an appropriate place to keep the pet, or if the receiver does not want a pet or have time to commit to a pet.
Although there are many reasons why giving a pet as a holiday gift can be a bad idea, a pet can make a great holiday gift for someone if the proper amount of research and preparation is done. If the receiver has expressed their commitment to a pet, proven their responsibility, and are financially and mentally ready for a pet, the gift giver must then consider the receiver’s pet preferences for gender and breed. Adoption is also a great option, especially if the new owner prefers an older dog or cat. Many pets are patiently waiting in shelters for a forever home, and the adoption staff at the shelter will be able to help you choose the perfect pet for the new owner.
Although giving a pet as a gift this holiday season may seem like a wonderful life-long memory for your loved one, there is a considerable amount of research and preparation involved in bringing a pet into a new home–especially if it is a surprise to the new owner. A really great way to handle this is to give the recipient a “coupon” for a pet at an animal shelter. That way, you can still gift your girlfriend with the adoption fee of a pet, but she gets to chose which pet suits her the best.
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Pet of the Week
Meet Anastasia. You absolutely will not find a sweeter dog than Anastasia! Anastasia is a people pleaser and would love to be a lap dog–who cares if she’s 43 lbs! Anastasia is about 2 years old and would do best in a family with lots of love and even other dogs. She is heartworm positive, but is being treated (courtesy of the shelter). To learn more about Anastasia, visit www.friends4life.org.