Today’s Editorial December 07: Say no to pets as gifts

You can just picture it.

Little Johnny or Suzy rubbing the sleep out of their eyes as they toddle to the tree Christmas morning ready to see what Santa has left.

At the urging of mummy and daddy they open this special gift first.

Out pops the cuddly furry face of a precious puppy or loveable kitty.

Totally irresistible scene, right?

Wrong.

As adults make out their shopping list for Christmas presents this year, we would urge them to leave pets off that list.

While the idea to give a pet for Christmas may seem like a good one, we would kindly ask that you put a lot of thought into this idea before making it a reality.

Individuals and families thinking of getting a pet anytime should research, prepare and, when the time is right, seek a pet that realistically complements their lifestyle, schedule and energy level.

A new pet owner may enjoy the animal for a few weeks, but then begin to resent the gift as the novelty wears off or that cute puppy becomes a dog and that loveable kitten becomes a big fat cat with an attitude.

Parents considering giving puppies or kittens to their children should remember that even bright youngsters typically don’t have the strength, attention span or self-discipline to care for a young animal. Older children, enthralled by the new pet, typically wind up redirecting their attention to friends, school or social activities.

Pets aren’t playthings. They are living beings that require substantial time and daily care. Then you must consider the expense of food, veterinarian bills and the cost of having someone sit with your pet or kennel fee charges if you plan to leave the Islands.

The decision to bring a pet into the family should be a family decision, not a surprise gift.

Too, holidays just aren’t a good time to introduce animals to new homes.

It’s a time of year when people are too occupied with holiday preparations, celebrations, cooking, cleaning and guests. That puppy or kitten is already adjusting from being taken from its mother. It’s going to need all of the attention you can give it.

If you want to give a gift of an animal, consider buying books or videos about animals to help the family educate themselves about what will be needed to introduce a new pet into the home. The pet can come later.

We’ve seen too often pets taken to the Humane Society shelter when the pet that was given as a gift becomes too much for the family.

Please don’t let that happen.

Don’t be tempted to give puppies and kittens as pets.

It’s a bad idea for all concerned.

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