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Christmas is Not the Day to Give a Pet!
If you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend, who is planning on giving a pet as a Christmas gift, DON'T!
Christmas is not the ideal day for a new pet to be introduced into a family.
Granted, the portrait of happy children in their PJs; seeing a puppy or kitten sitting under the Christmas tree, wearing a big red bow, is a classic Norman Rockwell memory. But in real life, what happens to that pet in the weeks and months to follow is more important.
All too often, once the hub-hub of the day is over and reality sets in, it just a matter of weeks or months before that unique Christmas surprise, finds itself in a rescue or shelter!
What you should consider prior to giving a pet for Christmas are:
Do they REALLY want a pet?
Is it the right breed for that particular family?
Are they willing to accept the work and responsibilities of the needs of that pet?
How receptive is the pet YOU have chosen, to the family?
Before springing the grand Christmas surprise, check with the parents. Since they are the ones that will most likely be "stuck" with all the work and responsibilities, are they financially and emotionally prepared? Pets are expensive and a lot of work! If it is a puppy you are giving, are you willing to include a gift certificate for Puppy Kindergarten training as part of the gift? How about paying for the first vet visit and next set of scheduled puppy shots?
Just because a particular kitten or puppy touches your heart, doesn't mean it's the perfect pet for someone else. Choosing a pet is an extremely personal experience. It is also a two-way street. A conscientious person will not only consider their feelings, they will also consider the feelings of the animal. Many times, in the excitement of the event, the wrong pet is chosen.
Breeds have their pros and cons. It is important the type of pet chosen, is one compatible with the lifestyle of the family. A family of couch potatoes, whose idea of exercise and adventure is watching it on TV, need a breed that requires little to no exercise. A perfect match! On the other hand, have a Type A, on-the-go family and that same dog will be like a square peg in a round hole. It doesn't work!
People need to do their homework before acquiring a pet. Being knowledgeable about the personalities and needs of a breed is a must. Shelters and rescues are overflowing with pets that did not fit a family's lifestyle. For all concerned, even the pet, lifestyles have to match.
Is the family ready for a pet? Many times, adding a pet into the equation puts an extra burden on an already stressed family.
Soiling in Dog bed blanket , chewing (teething), and out of control (due to lack of training) are the three most common reasons given to shelters and rescues when people surrender their pets.
It is wiser to wait until the children are older and capable of assuming some of the responsibilities and work of that difficult transition period. By sharing the burden, there is less resentment.
What happens if the pet you have chosen is not receptive to the family? It may be hard to believe, but not every pet is thrilled with the people they live with! For a relationship to be a win-win situation, the pet must be as keen to be a part of that particular family, as the family is to share their life with that pet!
If the pet is not happy, what's the alternative for it? It may not be a Christmas story ending.
Bottom line: Let people choose their own pets. Be the bighearted bearer of the special Christmas gift if you must. Pay for the pet and the initial expenses; but let the family and the animal decide if they are right for each other.

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