Animals, like us, require love and proper care to flourish. Although people who give animals as gifts invariably have good intentions, it is unfair to give an animal to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that the person wants that particular animal as a companion and is willing and able to give a lifetime of proper care. Adding an animal companion to the family is an important decision. It means making a permanent commitment to care for and spend time with the animal and to provide for his or her lifelong care.
Before rushing out to buy that adorable gift, consider the time and money involved in proper animal care. Will your loved one have the time and patience to exercise and housetrain the animal? Is he or she prepared to pay for food, accessories (such as toys, grooming supplies, leashes and harnesses, and bedding), inoculations, and veterinary care, including spaying or neutering, flea treatment, deworming, and emergency care?
Animal shelters are filled beyond capacity with homeless animals, many of whom were former “pets” who, for one reason or another, didn’t fit into someone’s lifestyle.
No matter how much they would like to, many people who receive animals as gifts find that they are unable to make lifelong commitment to care for their new companion.
Sadly, many people end up turning animals they received as gifts over to an overburdened humane society or animal-control agency that is likely filled to capacity. In worst-case scenarios, some people even abandon animals on the road or in the back yard when they move away.
What You Can Do
Don’t ever give an animal as a gift. If you have discussed the idea with the prospective recipients and know that they have the time, willingness, ability, and resources to properly care for an animal and make that serious commitment, consider offering them a gift certificate from the local animal shelter.