Talk 2 The Animals: Do Animals Make Good Holiday Presents?

You have all seen this (or something similar) – the holiday movie where Johnny or Suzy is sitting by the Christmas tree, holding a kitten or puppy, tears of delight streaming down their face as their hug their new Christmas present. Their loving family is looking on with radiant smiles, charmed that Johnny or Suzy is so happy.

I have to admit, scenes like that tend to turn me into The Grinch. You’ll find out why in an upcoming blog post.

But curiosity gets the best of me and I begin to wonder what other folks think about that topic. Does everyone turn into The Grinch or is it just me?

So I ran a most unofficial poll on Facebook: Should animals be given as gifts? Overwhelmingly, people answered the poll with a resounding ‘no’, qualifying that further by adding unless this gift was well thought out in advance. You can read the results here.

Animals As Presents?

While there are usually good intentions meant when it comes to gifting animals, the poll-takers in general thought it was a bad idea. The reasons they gave for not giving an animal as a gift during the holidays were myriad: animals aren’t toys, animals and their people pick each other, some people don’t want an animal at this stage of their life, etc.

The poll-takers talked about the financial strain giving a pet as a present might create for the receiver. This kind of gift is a gift that continues to cost both financially and time wise. However, it’s the receiver and not the giver that carries this life long commitment. The financial responsibility for the receiver includes:

  • Vet bills/medications/supplements
  • Toys
  • Food
  • Grooming
  • Equipment
  • Supplies

Bringing A New Animal Into The Home Requires Time and Thought

Keep in mind, should you decide to gift someone an animal this holiday season, a successful integration requires time and thought. There must be a willingness to change your household to help the new animal family member adjust, which is only fair to the animal. There is also the real possibility of calling in professionals to assist with the integration so it is successful for all family members, regardless of species.

Ask yourself, or better yet, ask the receiver: Do you really have the time or desire during the holidays to do what is necessary to help the new animal feel comfortable and at home in their new surroundings?

Never, never, give an animal as a surprise. Just because you think it might be cute or a wonderful gift, doesn’t mean it’s fair to the animal or the receiver. The one thing you don’t want to have happen is to put the receiver in a position of declining the animal, or taking her/him out of guilt and then rehoming the animal. “Free to a good home” is not what it’s cracked up to be.

If you’re adamant about gifting an animal to someone, talk to that person. If they really do want a pet, why not give them a gift certificate and offer to go with them as they choose their new family member? You could even combine the gift certificate with a welcome basket for the new animal.

After reading this, it probably has not come to a surprise to anyone that I say animals are not gifts to be given. Stay tuned for Part II of this post.

Here’s To New Beginnings,


from Janet Roper, Animal Communicator & Educator


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