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Journal for ForeverSunShineJournal for ForeverSunShine
Now that the gift giving season is here, many people look to giving puppies or kittens as presents. Unfortunately, this often leads to unpreparedness, especially if the person on the receiving end has no idea what they are getting into. Many animal lovers are against giving animals as gifts for that reason, because the pets often end up at shelters or abandoned once the recipient realizes they have bigger priorities than pet care.

Some problems with bringing an animal into the home during Christmas:

The pet might be stressed due to the amount of people around
The pet might get into holiday food that is harmful to their health
The pet might be unhealthy if it is bred to be a “Christmas present” only
Less time to help the pet adjust to the new household
Less time for proper training
Less time to connect with the pet
Children will not be the primary caretaker, even if that is the intent

For those set on giving a pet as a present, there are creative ways to do so without jeopardizing one. Consider one of these ideas instead of giving the physical pet:

1. Give a book about the intended pet instead. This will encourage learning about the animal before taking it home, and also allows the recipient decide if that particular pet is right for them.

2. Give a double gift: promise the recipient a day of volunteering at a local animal shelter, which is two gifts in one! The shelter will appreciate the help they get, and maybe the gift recipient will find a pet to rescue. Be creative and make a card to gift the idea. Set a specific date to make sure it happens. This is a great way to show children how to give back to the animal community as well.

3. Give pet supplies instead of the pet. Water bowls, collars, leashes, or a hamster wheel are fun surprises to open and passes on the joy of a pet to the recipient. This also allows the family to make the decision together at a later time, after the holiday season has passed.

4. Give a photo of a shelter pet. Not only does this encourage adoption from a shelter, it also provides time for the idea of a pet to settle in. Combining this with a book about the type of pet will encourage learning about the pet first, and the many expectations that come with it.

5. Foster a pet. Shelters are always looking for good foster homes. Fostering a pet is a great way to see if bringing an animal into the home is right for the family. Always be honest with the shelter if considering fostering to adopt.

While adopting a pet is a wonderful thing to do, it is best to not rush into it as a gift, but instead as prepared, educated decision. It is the best thing to do for pets, shelters, and the family.

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