This holiday season, gift giving is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Is that a good idea, though? There are responsibilities that come with owning an animal and need to be considered when deciding whether or not it would be a good idea to gift someone one.
We recommend giving of pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly. We have to remember that animals are living creatures, just like you and the rest of your family, and their needs must be taken into account
Think of the abilities and wants of the recipient. While you think your grandparents may benefit from a four legged companion, you want to keep their needs and wants at the forefront. An elderly person may not do as well with a rambunctious puppy or kittens, but an older dog or cat that enjoys being a couch potato may be the perfect addition to their household. This works in the reverse way as well. While an older animal ay not have the patience to live a 6-year-old child full of energy, a young puppy or kitten may be perfect and teach them responsibility.
When asking if your child is ready for a pet, take note of their daily habits and behaviors.
Do they require constant reminders, or are they old enough to remember certain tasks on their own? Are they able to take care of their personal hygiene without assistance or reminding?
If they need your constant supervision for daily tasks, then you will need to keep a close eye on the new chores involved in keeping a pet.
Limit the responsibilities handed to children and base it off of what they can handle at their age
Be ready to monitor the tasks you give them and check in with them daily or weekly depending on the task
In short, it’s just fine if a cat or a dog is part of your thoughtful gift-giving during the upcoming holidays. After all, being homeless and then adopted into a new, loving home fits with the spirit of the season better than just about any other gift.