Pets as Christmas gifts: not a good idea
Movies and TV have given people the idea that puppies and kittens make heart-warming holiday gifts for kids, spouses and other significant others. But the reality is more often heart-wrenching for most of these living, breathing “gifts”, not to mention the families who end up giving up the pets once they grow and require more time, attention, training and expenses than the families can give.
Pets should never be an impulse purchase. Many people do not have the time, energy or money to care for a dog over the long term. A new owner may enjoy the animal for a few weeks, but then resent the gift once the novelty wears off. Also, discourage parents from giving pups and kittens to their children as gifts. Children get bored with gifts, and it’s heartbreaking when families grow tired of the growing dog. Pups between the ages of 7 to 14 months often wind up at shelters or at the vet for euthanasia, because the owners did not train them, resulting in “behavior problems.” Even worse, some owners dump unwanted pets on the road or in the woods, where they cannot survive on their own. Statistics indicate most puppies and kittens never reach their second birthdays.
Instead, give books on pet selection, training, care, health and diet, and individual breeds. Videos and subscriptions to pet magazines and newsletters are also good choices.