Christmas is a time for family and friends. It's also a traditional gift-giving time, and sometimes those gifts are living beings.
People often consider giving, and often do give, pets as Christmas presents. However, there are many good reasons why this is not a good idea:
Many animal welfare organization participate in the national program “Home for the Holidays,” hoping to increase adoptions and adoption awareness during this special season of the year. But, pets shouldn't be thought of as disposable temporary residents – they need loving, safe, permanent homes. Therefore, thoroughly think through the decision to adopt a pet or to give one as a gift.
Pets give so much to people – friendship and devotion at the top of the list, and it may seem like a natural fit to bring those great traits into a household this month. During this season of good cheer and great busyness, while it may be tempting to give a pet as a gift, look at other options and opportunities to help animals in need so that when a pet goes “Home for the Holidays”, it's going home permanently with people who want to and have time to love and care for it. After all, we receive so much from our pets – shouldn't we give them all that they need without hesitation as well?
May you and your family and all your furry friends enjoy the merriest of Christmases this year!
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.