Getting a Pet During the Holidays

The holidays are magical; seasonal music, gorgeous decorations, holiday festivities and, of course, the joy of gift giving. We want to buy the perfect gift for that special someone; a partner, spouse, child or children. This is also the season of emotional or impulse buying. Maybe you’re tempted to give your loved one a pet this year – the perfect gift. The image you have is of a beautifully wrapped box complete with large red bow, the happy recipient opening it and seeing a gorgeous dog or cat, instant bonding and love at first sight type of experience. However, giving or getting a pet needs to be rooted in reality; a decision made carefully and thoughtfully. A pet is a living creature that can’t be exchanged because it is the wrong size or color.

Relinquishment is the biggest concern shelters and rescues have about giving pets as gifts for holidays. A recent ASPCA survey suggests that there is no increase in relinquishment for dogs and cats received as a gift. However, they recommend giving pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and who have the ability to care for it responsibly.

A few general considerations before adopting a pet:
What is your idea of a perfect pet? What about size, color, breed, temperament; activity level, etc. Do you have preferences? What type of pet will fit your lifestyle best? What about your home and yard? Are you allowed to have a dog or cat? Is it suitable for a active dog? What about your budget? Do you have adequate resources for the regular expenses of a pet – both time and money to feed, water, brush and play with them? Cats need their litter box cleaned regularly; dogs need to go outside for potty breaks and daily exercise. They need toys, beds, cages, etc. Each type of pet has its own personal list of requirements. What about money for a routine veterinary care and medical emergencies?

Know that pet parenting is a lifetime commitment. When you adopt a pet you are making a promise to care for a pet for their entire life; you’re assuming responsibility for the health and welfare of another
living being.

You’ve determined that adopting a pet is the right decision for you; next is the question of when is the right time to get one. What about the holidays – are they a good time? Giving a pet a home for the holidays can be a wonderful gift for yourself, your family and your new pet. However, the holidays can be a stressful time to introduce a new pet to their new family and home. Why not consider getting your pet before Thanksgiving so they have time to feel at home and really be able to enjoy the joyous December holidays.

If that isn’t possible another approach is give a pre-pet gift. Purchase a crate, carrier or habitat and fill it with bowls, toys, a leash and collar, training guides and other essentials. Wrap these and place under the tree and enjoy the surprise response to the promise of a pet. Then after the holidays are over the search to find the “perfect” pet can begin.

Establishing a deep relationship with a pet is a gift that we give to ourselves; one that gives us unconditional love and joy. The true gift we give a pet is a furever home for the holidays; a furever home for every day and every special occasion for the rest of their life! ©