There’s a funny song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” – did you get one of those? Sometimes families or individuals bring home a new pet as a Christmas gift, maybe not a hippo but a dog, cat, or guinea pig. Is that you this year? No matter what time of year you bring a new pet into your household, your life is going to be different – just as it is when a new human baby arrives. Here are a few tips to help you, your family, and your new pet friend adjust to the “new normal:”
These are just five tips to consider before and after you bring home a new pet. There are many other ideas offered by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Petfinder, two sites which provide pet adoption opportunities and pet care tips:
Pets bring people deep joy through their antics and their devotion. Studies show pets benefit people emotionally and physically, helping with depression, cholesterol, and blood pressure, among other things. A pet is a special gift, and it’s a gift for life. Take care of your new pet and it will take care of you!
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!