Are you an animal lover? Please don’t give a pet away as a gift, especially not on Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love. A ‘little love’ aka a fluffy puppy or bouncy kitten is not just for Valentine’s Day, they’re for life. Getting a pet is a big decision and an even bigger commitment, one which should be treated with respect and contemplation, not on a romantic whim.
In fact, there’s a good lesson in here for us all. Not wanting to rain on any lover’s parade, but any relationship we enter into whether with an animal or human deserves some pragmatic consideration. With this in mind, here are a few realistic reasons why a pet will not be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
A pet is a living, breathing being and each one is different. Gift-giving can be so impulsive and we often forget to acknowledge that this pet is a creature with needs, and with that comes big responsibility. Does this beating heart have a place in your life? Is there room amongst your routines for all of it — feeding, vet trips, playtime, exercise, and whatever else is thrown in? Anyone considering getting a pet should be prepared to do mountains of research before even looking for a furry friend. Is your heart in it?
Not only is having a pet a big time commitment, it’s a financial responsibility too. The initial outlay might seem like a grand gesture or display of love, but what about the lifetime costs? Let’s face it, vet bills are not cheap these days and there can be unexpected costs around every corner with pets. It’s heartbreaking to decide to take on a little furry friend only to realise soon after that it’s just not affordable. The best thing to do is to be aware of those expenses and plan ahead — a snap decision to give a gift can turn out to be costly.
Caught up in the romance of it all, gifting a pet can seem like the ultimate expression of love — an extension to your family, something to make you feel warm and fuzzy. The reality is, some pets will live +15 years and family members can quickly have a change of heart when faced with the day-to-day reality. What happens then? It’s so heartbreaking to see so many pets having to be rehomed due to a change of mind. It has been prevalent during the pandemic, and causes the animal distress. Be sure you’re in it for the long haul.
Our pets are soulmates. The love we often experience from them is unconditional — they’re with us in our darkest hours and console and protect us. In return, a guardian or owner should be making that lifelong commitment too. Pets are gifts, and yet they aren’t. It’s not all about our needs and there’s a lot of preparation, love, care and attention that goes into maintaining a loving relationship with your chosen creature. A pet is for life, not just for Valentine’s Day — be a gift for them, a joy that permeates their existence and gives them comfort.
They say timing is everything in relationships, and this is no exception. The danger with giving pets as gifts around holidays such as Valentine’s Day is that you feel some sort of pressure to make it ‘perfect’. There may be a temptation to throw caution to the wind and just choose any puppy or kitten that might be available in your area, whether it’s the right one or not. These decisions shouldn’t be rushed — they require tons of research on what might be the best breed for you and your family, and you need time to get ready. A passion present for your loved one can quickly turn into disappointment and heartbreak for all involved.
The love between pet and owner is undoubtedly one of the purest and most sacred on this earth. Pets aren’t a commodity though and getting scooped up in a panic buy isn’t the best start in life for a creature who will give you endless love every day of your life. Go classic and opt for the flowers and chocolate and welcome the pet when you’re ready.