Christmas is fast approaching, and is just one of the milestones in the year when people’s attention is turning to gift giving, and finding the perfect present for the loved ones in your life. At first glance, giving a pet as a present might seem like an incredibly special and thoughtful gift, whether that be a kitten or a puppy, or a smaller pet like a hamster or a mouse. This is especially true if you know that the person you are shopping for loves animals, and would possibly welcome receiving a pet as a gift.
However, giving a pet as a present, even if the person you intend to give it to has stated that they would like one is never a good idea, for a whole host of reasons that we will cover below. Many of the rehoming shelters and pet adoption organisations in the UK actually suspend their rehoming process during December to avoid people giving pets as presents, and with good reason.
Read on to learn more about why you should never give pets as presents.
If one of your friends or loved ones is always saying “Oh, I’d love a dog!” it might seem obvious that presenting them with the object of their desires is a great move to make. However, you should consider why this person who would “love a dog” does not already have one; there are undoubtedly many reasons that you might not have any idea about.
Perhaps they are not allowed to have pets in their accommodation, or work long hours and have made the responsible decision that pet ownership is not appropriate for them at that time. They may have allergies or sensitivities that negate their ability to live with the pet that they would choose, they might be financially unable to care for a pet, or their personal situation might be in flux, and they are not able to plan ahead sufficiently to consider pet ownership.
“I would love to own a pet!” Does not indicate a meaningful desire to do so!
Choosing the right pet is a very personal process, and every person should select their own animal (or wait for the right animal to select them.) This goes deeper than simply narrowing down what type of animal- cat, dog, bird, gerbil- the person in question would pick, and pertains to the choice of individual animal itself.
Even if the person you wish to buy for knows precisely what type of pet and even what breed, age and sex they want, every single animal is different, and has its own personality and temperament, they do not come off a production line in a uniform manner! The potential pet owner should always pick their own pet, and find the animal that matches their needs and appeals to them on a personal level, something that cannot be performed for them by a well-meaning third party.
As well as all of the other considerations to bear in mind regarding pet ownership, even if someone is actively on the lookout for a new pet, precisely when the time is right for them to get their pet is a personal choice that no one else can make for them. At its most basic this might simply involve ensuring that they have everything they need to take care of their pet and have researched what is involved thoroughly, or that they do not have any holidays planned soon or any big changes happening in their lives.
But getting a new pet such as a puppy or kitten can also mean that the prospective owner might need to take some time off work or rearrange their schedule to accommodate for the immediate needs of their new pet. Only the person planning to take on the ownership of a pet will know exactly when the time is right for them, and even a much-desired new pet can soon become a burden if it is pushed onto someone who is not ready.
Taking on the responsibility of caring for another life is no minor undertaking, and it is up to each and every potential pet owner to make sure that they are ready for this challenge both in terms of logistics such as time and money, and emotionally as well.
Again, knowing when one is ready and making the conscious decision to get a pet and be a responsible pet owner is a personal thing, and it is important that every potential pet owner goes through the process of learning, planning and judging themselves to be ready for the challenge. If you present someone with an animal as a gift, they will not have had the opportunity to do this, and both pet and person will suffer as a result.
Pets are not presents, and living animals do not make good gifts. The only person that you should be considering buying an animal for, ever, is yourself!