You’re walking around a shopping centre trying to find the perfect last-minute gift for your children. A gift to reward them for all of their hard work and good behaviour during the year. Something to make this Christmas the ‘best-ever’ and for them to call you ‘Super Mum’. You pass a pet store and see the most adorable puppy in the shop window and suddenly it comes to you. A puppy! This is the perfect gift you’ve been searching for. Gifting animals this Christmas isn’t a bad idea at all!
Flash forward to Christmas morning…
Your family wakes up early to unwrap gifts and finds the puppy all dolled up with a Christmas bow. Naturally, there is excitement as the puppy is passed from one family member to the other. But in the days that follow, as the excitement diminishes, you start to notice your children losing interest in the puppy and with your 9-5 office job you find it increasingly hard to manage the care of a young puppy on top of all of your other, more pressing responsibilities. After much debate, you come to the decision to surrender the puppy to the local animal shelter in the hope that another family adopts it and cares for it in a way that your family couldn’t.
Why You Should Avoid Gifting Animals This Christmas
Unfortunately, this situation is not unique. It occurs every year as new pet owners come to terms with the mistake that they have made as well as their inability to provide proper care for this animal. In fact, this problem is so prevalent that the RSPCA recognises that ‘change of mind’ is one of the top reasons pet owners surrender their pets.
With thousands of pets surrendered every year, animal shelters do not have the capacity or resources to provide for all of these abandoned animals. If fact, thousands and thousands of abandoned animals are being euthanised every year in Australia.
Things To Consider Before Gifting Animals This Christmas
So, before you decide to gift a pet to your children this Christmas, it is important that you think long term and weigh all of the factors of this decision. Begin the decision-making process by answering the following questions:
- Whose responsibility will it be to walk the pet/clean up after it?
- Who will feed it?
- Is your home big enough to accommodate the animal?
- Do you have a backyard? If so, is it fenced in?
- Where will the pet sleep?
- Are you prepared to care for this pet for the duration of its life?
- Do you have the time to house-train the pet? If not, who will be responsible for training it?
- Do you have the means to provide for the animal (i.e. food and vet bills, etc.)
- If you have other pets, what if they react poorly to the new pet?
Your answers to these questions should give you an idea as to whether or not your family is actually ready for a pet and because this is such an important decision it is not one that can be made overnight.
If you still want to go through with gifting animals or a pet this Christmas, discuss it with other adults who know you or will play a role in the animal’s life. This will give you an idea as to whether or not you and your family are prepared for this life-long commitment.