Ah the holidays… A time where you’re forced to face the insane amount of crazed shoppers trying to look for the perfect gift. A gift that makes faces light up with pure joy. A gift that will go down in the books as the greatest gift ever—a gift that may be in the shape of a new pet! Pets can be considered the most noteworthy gifts that can produce the most memorable holidays of a lifetime. There’s nothing like opening up a box to find those big attentive eyes of a beloved kitty or pooch staring back at you! However, to some, receiving a pet may also contribute to some stress, as a new pet owner may find themselves overwhelmed by the new responsibility that was given to them. Therefore, before you decide to give your loved one a furry family member, CCLA would like to outline 5 tips on ensuring a healthy and life-long companionship for both recipient and pet.
1. Remember That This is a Long-term Decision
While it seems like receiving a puppy is something that you have always wanted, think about how the person receiving the pet may feel. Remember that you will be giving them something that will be around for many years—a continuing gift that can also take shape of chewed up furniture, damp carpets, and perhaps even aggressive behaviors towards other dogs and maybe people. It’s important to keep these things in mind and to think about whether or not the person receiving this new critter is up for the task. You aren’t just giving someone an adorable new treasure; you’re also giving someone an added responsibility!
2. Think About Other Possible Factors
Before giving that lucky someone the gift of a new furry family member, it is crucial to think about other factors in that person’s life that may help or hinder the quality of life for both recipient and pet. Does the person have quality space for the pup to run around? Does the person have a lot of expensive artwork that may be destroyed by a curious cat? Does the person have enough funds to pay for medical expenses for the pet if the pet gets sick? Does the person have enough patience to deal with a puppy, a kitten, or a rescue animal? Does the person have enough time to love and cherish their new furry addition? Does the person live with roommates? And if so, are the roommates on board with a new addition as well? Does the person have any allergies to pet fur? Does the person travel a lot and do they have the means to board their pet or afford a pet sitter? Does the person have little children that are unsure of how to approach pets? If you are giving a pet to a partner; do you consider your partner “life-long” or temporary? Will you have to share the pet if you break up? All of these influences—and many more—should be critical factors in your decision of either buying or rescuing a pet. And, while we urge you to adopt, we also want you to make sure that you know the person receiving the pet will care for it greatly.
3. Remember: Breed Matters
In order to guarantee the pet remains in the recipient’s home and avoids being returned to the shelter, it is imperative that you do research regarding which dog breed will be the best match, given the factors listed above. For example, if the recipient lives in a smaller home with no backyard, it is best to get a low energy, small pooch such as a French Bulldog, compared to a German Shepherd, who would get restless in a small space and eventually get into some unintentional trouble. It is always best to start any new relationship on the right foot… not the wrong paw. So make sure your recipient will have the ideal pet for their living situation, wallet, and patience level.
4. Let the Recipient Decide
Instead of presenting the person with a puppy, for example; have the person choose the puppy themselves. This may ensure a purer bond between recipient and pooch, since they get to choose which face and attitude speaks to them most! Perhaps gift a collar, leash, adoption packet, or a gift certificate to a shelter instead. The recipient will be just as happy and will be able to do their own research regarding the best fit of breed, size, behavior, etc. This will also relieve you of a lot of the responsibility!
5. Get Off to a Good Start
If you decide to give your loved one a pet for the holidays, make sure you do so in a calm and quiet environment. Imagine being presented to a house full of loud “aww”-ing strangers who want to touch you and pick you up every two seconds. Overwhelming, right? Make sure that your shaggy gift will be presented in a way that will produce a profound bond between pet and new owner—instead of pet and a household of strangers. You want your pet to be able to show their best qualities, not a tail between their legs with a mean snarl.
All in all, if you’re thinking about getting a pet as a gift this holiday season, we encourage you to really think about it first. If you think of these 5 points, you will have a better certainty that your gift has found a forever home with a loving and patient owner. Can you think of any other helpful tips in order to ensure the recipient and pet have a life-long companionship? Share below!