What could be more adorable than a puppy or a kitten? When you give someone the gift of a new pet for Christmas or Hanukkah, it seems like the magic of fairy tales. Puppies and kittens are innocent, energetic, joyful, and curious. You hope that the gift recipient will hug his or her new pet and live happily ever after. If only that were the case. When someone receives a pet as a holiday gift in a movie, that’s where the story ends. You never see the challenges that come later.
Surprising a young child with a puppy or kitten might make you the coolest parent or grandparent of the year, but he or she may not be ready to take on the big responsibility of caring for a pet. Things could go wrong in a hurry if you surprise a child with a pet without checking with his or her parents first. They may accept the puppy or kitten because they don’t want to disappoint their child yet feel resentful about having to care for it.
If You Want to Give Someone a Pet, Skip the Surprise
Some gift recipients are ready for the responsibilities of caring for a pet and would welcome this thoughtful gesture. However, it’s imperative that you discuss it first and allow the new owner to choose his or her own pet. The dog or cat could end up surrendered within days or weeks otherwise. You can offer to pay the adoption fee or the cost of the first check-up. Some other things to consider in this decision include:
• Is anyone in the home allergic to dogs or cats?
• If the intended recipient lives in rental housing, is he or she allowed to have a pet?
• What type of lifestyle does the would-be pet owner lead? Someone who travels weekly for their job may not be a good candidate for a pet. Also, does this person already have a pet that would need to adjust to the new arrival?
If the person wants a new pet, encourage adoption from an animal shelter. These dogs and cats have received a full veterinary check-up, are current on their vaccinations, and are spayed or neutered. Your friend or family member would also be giving a deserving animal another chance at a loving, permanent home.
Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo wishes you and your family the happiest of holidays.