It’s Black Friday, and I’m betting many of you are headed out to the stores to start (or maybe finish!) your holiday shopping. Good luck as you fight those crowds! I’ll be in sunny Florida, lying on a beach somewhere. I’m not even thinking about shopping today.
But on a serious note, I want to talk to you about the terrible idea of giving a dog – or any pet – as a Christmas gift. You might not realize it but this is a monumentally bad idea and if you’re thinking about it, STOP right now!
A pet is a 10-15 year commitment, not a fleeting fancy that can be tossed aside when it becomes an inconvenience. You can’t possibly make that kind of commitment for someone else, which is why giving a pet as a gift is such a no-no.
A long-lasting relationship between a dog and its owner happens because there’s a loving connection between human and animal, and you can’t possibly make that connection for someone else. That’s why you don’t want to choose a pet for someone else.
Sure, it’s a romantic idea to present your girlfriend with an adorable puppy or kitten with a big red bow tied around its neck, sitting under a beautiful shimmering Christmas tree. Paints quite a picture, doesn’t it? It’s like something straight out of a Hallmark movie.
But what if she really doesn’t have time for a pet? What if she and the pet don’t bond? What if she really wishes you had let her select her own puppy from that precious litter of fur ball babies?
What about giving your kids a pet for the holidays? Again, bad idea. Why? Because the first days and weeks a pet spends in a new home are super important. There should be lots of structure and lots of time spent training and teaching.
That won’t happen during the holidays. Families are busy enjoying their gifts and each other, and a new pet won’t get the time and attention it needs to acclimate in a new home. You’re setting a new pet up for failure when you start out this way.
Simply wait until after the holidays and then give your kids the gift of a new pet. At that point, there should be plenty of time to welcome a furry new family into your home properly.
Many pets that are given as gifts end up in a shelter within a year, and hundreds don’t make it out alive. That doesn’t sound like a very Merry Christmas, if you ask me.
So please. If the thought has even crossed your mind, let it go. Dogs are not gifts. They are living, breathing, loving companions that should be chosen carefully by the person who will be caring for them and spending a lifetime with them.
Let your recipient make her own choice of a pet when the time is right. For the holidays, why don’t you give her a gift card instead? Or a pretty sweater? Anything but a pet!