By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director
From puppies at Christmas to bunnies at Easter, and everything in between, giving pets as gifts can be a dangerous idea. Gifting pets to others can often backfire for the giver, the receiver, and most of all – the animal.
Unwanted pets run the risk of being surrendered or neglected. Though most people agree that puppies, kittens, bunnies, and even goldfish are cute, if someone doesn’t already have a pet (or has decided on a certain number of pets), there is probably a good reason.
A few things to consider:
- Try not to make quick pet-adoption decisions. The most successful adoptions are those that are well thought out and agreed upon by all members of a family.
- Volunteer with animals. If you want to mark a special occasion with a feel-good animal interaction, contact your local shelter to find out if they could use dog-walkers or other volunteers to enhance the lives of their animals.
- Offer to pet-sit. If a loved one wants a new pet, consider pet-sitting for a friend so everyone can get the feel for the level of responsibility required.
- Adopt don’t shop. If your family has agreed to get a new pet to mark a special occasion, consider adopting from a local shelter as opposed to buying a kitten or puppy.
Of course, there is little that makes me happier than seeing well-planned and successful pet adoptions that create forever families. Many of our partners in North America and around the world have animals of every size and temperament for adoption and they would be thrilled to help you find the perfect furry family member.