Pets as Presents? Questions to Consider First

By Laura

Every year for Christmas, I asked Santa for a pony. Shockingly, I never got a pony. Thankfully my mom explained to me that I was “reaching” when asking for that and that Santa’s budget didn’t include a pony. Not only was a pony not in the budget, but also I couldn’t care for a pony. I lived in the heart of suburbia where a barn would not blend in well and a country side wasn’t anywhere close by. Clearly a pony and a puppy are two totally different realms of pets, but none the less, you do still need to take a lot of things into consideration:

Can we handle this?

Sure, a puppy or kitten or some other pet sounds great! You’re kids will love you if you give them a sweet little pet as a present, but are you ready for life with that pet once the, oh, 15 minute honeymoon phase is over? Many pets require a lot of time, effort, and money. Oh yes, you might rescue that sweet little puppy and get it for free, but it might cost you $1,000+ for your first vet visit to get their health to where it should be (yes, speaking from experience on that one). Everybody WANTS to save these animals, but don’t take that cute little animal if you haven’t factored in your work schedule and financial situations and general lifestyle. It tends to be easier for a puppy to get adopted than a full grown dog. So don’t take a puppy if you aren’t 100% sure you can keep it forever. Giving up a two-year old dog isn’t fair to the dog, or to you. Lastly, check into your lease agreements and HOA agreements to see if there are any pet restrictions.

Is this the right pet?

If you’ve decided that yes, indeed we are totally ready or this pet, how do you know which one you should get? Have you checked out your allergy situation yet? Did you think about how a new pet my get along with other pets or family members? Also, that pet’s personality is going to differ from any other pet’s personality. So, spend time with that kitten in the window to see if it you like it’s temperament. When looking for a dog, RESEARCH THAT PARTICULAR BREED. Each breed has a different general temperament and set of pros and cons. For example, our hound has attachment issues and goes crazy when left alone, but is incredibly healthy. Our collie is as independent as can be, but she’s had many health problems and has a sensitivity to just about everything. Research ANY animal before you bring it into your home to find out more about it. Sorry, but I’m more of a dog person and know more about dogs. Here’s a GREAT link to help you figure which breed works best for you.

Where to get the pet?

If you’re still leaning towards “yes”, then it is time to think about where to get your pet. Adopting and rescuing are always good choices. Many shelters still haven’t become no-kill shelters so by adopting, you can be saving the life of a new little friend. What do you do if you can’t find that particular pet you want at a local shelter? Research shelters for that particular animal. Just about any breed of dog has a special rescue foundation. Another option is to research and find respectable breeders. I understand completely that people have certain animals in mind and that’s fine! Just purchase your albino iguana, African grey parrot, or lhasa apso from a quality facility that has their animals, and not their wallets, as a number one priority. IF YOU FIND A BREEDER OR ANIMAL SALESMAN THAT YOU DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE ABOUT, REPORT THEM. To find out more, go to the ASPCA website or call the number from this Puppy Mill Report page.

Even though I never got my pony, I still had pretty cool pets as a kid and now as an adult I love my two crazy, but sweet, dogs. We’ve always gotten pets that fit with our lifestyle at the time and got pets who fit in well with us. Personally, I’d never adopt an animal of any kind without seeing it in person first. So far so good with that system, so I recommend that to you as well. If you ARE going to have a new pet as a present this year, please think carefully, plan a lot, and be ready for lots of love! Pets are wonderful family members and great companions.

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