Why pets do not make good presents
Whether cute and cuddly, fluffy or scaly, loyal or independent, pets of all types can become very important parts of their humans' lives. Pets can be our best friends, our mentors, and our surrogate children. The can help to cheer up our elderly and our sick, help us overcome some of our problems, or just help us have more fun. Pets can mean different things to different people, but owning any type of pet comes with a lot of responsibilities. No doubt the love and joy we get from our pets is priceless, and more than makes up for the amount of time and money we have to spend caring for them. However, it's important to remember that, although a fuzzy bunny on Easter morning, or a playful puppy under the Christmas tree may seem like a good idea, pets do not make good presents.
There are some very important reasons why giving pets as gifts is usually not a good idea. First of all, the recipient may not be ready for a pet. Pets can take up a lot of time, money, and space when cared for properly. Unless you know the intimate details of a persons life, it can be hard to determine whether they will be able to properly care for an animal for the reminder of it's life. Does the potential recipient have enough time that they would be willing to set aside for caring for their new pet? Are they financially stable enough that they can provide for the pet? Basic care items such as food and supplies may seem cheap at first, but it's important to keep in mind that many expenses associated with pets are ongoing. The pet will need things like food, supplies, and potentially very expensive vet care for the reminder of it's life. Whether you want to commit to the expenses associated with caring for a pet is something that each person should be allowed to decide for themselves. Caring for some types of pets can sometimes be stressful. A puppy may look adorable sitting under the Christmas tree or with a birthday ribbon around it's neck, but what happens if the recipient wasn't ready for the realities of caring for a puppy, things such as potty training, vet bills, walking, training, etc? What happens if the recipient has a pet allergy that you where unaware of? Or maybe their apartment policy doesn't allow pets? A new pet can be a blessing for sure, but it's important to be ready for them beforehand.
Pets are life long commitments. Animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, etc, often times can live 10 or more years. Some types of reptiles and birds live even longer than that. And of course, every day of that pets life it will require attention and care. Pets, no matter what type, should receive vet care when needed. Depending on the issue, this can become very expensive. If you give a pet as a gift, you are giving someone something that they will have to care and provide for potentially for many years to come. Another thing to think about is that often times holidays aren't even a good time to introduce a new pet into a household. Holidays can be hectic and stressful, and adding a new pet to the mix probably isn't going to help any.
The unfortunately reality is that there are literally thousands of pets in shelters across the country. The chances are high that, if you give a pet as a gift to someone who is not ready for one, that the unlucky animal may end up in a shelter someday. After Easter time, for example, rabbit shelters and rescues usually fill up past capacity with "Easter bunnies" that their new owners didn't want to care for anymore.
Many potential pet owners, even if they are in the market for a new pet, may not appreciate having their new pet picked for them. Picking out a new pet can be a very exciting time, and it only makes sense that the new owner would want to be a part of the process. Sometimes, depending on the situation, a pet with a certain personality or look may be desired and in those cases a new pet owner would most likely be happiest with an animal they are allowed to pick out for themselves, rather than one they are given as a gift.
So what are some better gift ideas for pet owners or potential pet owners other than giving them a pet as a gift? If you know that someone is thinking about adding a new pet to their home, they'd probably really appreciate receiving pet supplies, or a gift certificate to a pet store. Books outlining the care of the type of pet they are interested in may be a helpful research tool to a new pet owner. You could maybe even give them some money that they can use to cover the purchase or adoption fee of their new pet. That way you can help them buy their new friend, but still allow them to do the decision making.
If you are looking for gift ideas for animal lovers who may not be ready to own a new pet themselves, you could make a donation to an animal shelter or sponsor a shelter animal in the gift recipients name. For children especially, stuffed animals can be good gifts that don't come with the responsibilities of a real pet.
Pets can be a blessing and an integral part of their owners lives. However, the decision to take in a new pet is not one that should be made lightly. For this reason, among others, it's not a good idea to give pets as gifts.