I am not a fan of giving a pet for Christmas – unless you are 100% sure the person wants and is willing and able to care for the chosen pet for it’s entire life. This could be 10-20 years depending on the animal. Giving a pet to a child for Christmas sounds like a great idea but kids can lose interest once the pet gets past the cute puppy/kitten stage and then mum and dad are left to do all the maintaining.
Toys and other gifts are great to get – fun and games but a pet brings responsibilities and the realities of pet ownership.
I was at a pet store a few years ago and there was a gorgeous kitten in a little glass cage. It had a sign on the glass “Purebred Ragdoll” $950. Kitten was very cute but showed symptoms of being unhealthy. I enquired with the shop owner regarding pedigree papers and of course they had none- it wasn’t a pedigree.
It cost more than I could buy from a registered, legitimate breeder and as I walked out past the poor baby, a mother and child were looking in the window long-fully at this poor cat. I told them to go to a breeder and they will get a pure bred and healthy kitten for less money. Shop owner was seething but I left. I will never know if they bought it and if it lived a long and happy life.
Unscrupulous puppy farmers, irresponsible owners and pet shop owners are the ones that mostly benefit from purchases at this time.
Pets acquired at this time, for gifts, are often, but not always, the result of impulse. Christmas shopping with the kids, go past the pet shop and the cutest puppies and kittens are there looking adorable to entice you in. Kids say “mum/dad can we have this puppy or kitten for Christmas?” “Can we?”
You leave the store minus the pet but the kids go on and on and finally you return to the store and buy said pet to quieten the kids and because you also want to make them happy.
Staff in store know little, if anything, about the pet and off you go, not knowing if it has genetic issues, if it is going to be healthy or if it is going to be good with the kids when it gets bigger. and just how much bigger will it get???
Have you got the necessary items to welcome a new pet into the house?
If you really want to get a pet, go and rescue one but wait till after Christmas is done –perhaps the impulse will pass and you can consider all that is needed to be done in preparation for a pet. A rescue pet needs a second chance, they have had all the vet checks, immunisations and temperament testing and you will be also saving another life as there will be a bit more room for another lost, abandoned or mistreated animal to take it’s place.
Pets should not be surprises – although it’s a fun and romantic notion that this gorgeous little puppy/kitten or whatever cute little animal is the one of choice would present itself and you will live happily together forever after.
In reality, however, although you might consider mum really would love the company or your sister would love a new kitten after losing her last one, they are not ready or willing to take on that responsibility and all of a sudden this responsibility is now theirs.
There is a saying, we don’t choose our animals, they choose us and I firmly believe it to be so. The prospective pet parent, I believe, should be there to be chosen by the animal – it’s the first bonding step and a crucial one, in my opinion.
A pet should not be viewed as a toy
Children should not view the puppy/kitten in the same light as a toy that can be picked up, played with and put away for another day. There are responsibilities to having a pet and kids need know that and they cannot put it away when they are tired of playing with it and it isn’t the cute little pet under the tree Christmas Day.
If you do feel your child/children are ready for a pet, take them pet shopping outside the holiday period. Involve the kids in the planning so when the time is right, you can make the right choices for your family.
The Silly Season is just that.. everyone is busy, routines thrown out the window, visitors from out of town, and parties, holidays, shopping, cooking , tree set up and decoration. All this and more leads to stress and commotion.
All this craziness, the last thing the majority of households need is a small new pup or kitten running around as well. It’s not good for the animal either – they deserve to settle in with their new family in a relatively calm and normal environment. Christmas is not that time..
If you are still wanting to get the pet for the kids, or think mum would love some company at home, please reconsider. If you are the recipient of a furry four-legged Christmas present, what do you do? That is a tough one- most would opt to keep the animal but getting a pet isn’t the expensive part – it’s the upkeep. 10+ years of food, Veterinary expenses (vaccinations, flea/worm treatments and god forbid they get ill or have an accident).
Pets are not toys, they do not go away when they outrun their cuteness. They are a big responsibility and you really need to be 110% sure the recipient is ready, willing and able to take on this responsibility. If you can’t be sure, please don’t give as a gift – it is just not fair.
Have a Merry Xmas and a very Happy New Year to all my customers and readers –hope to see you all in the New Year.