We suggest you start reading at the beginning, June 2009. It's much more fun this way!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Hi everyone

We know it's only three weeks until Christmas and everybody is busy shopping for gifts and everything else needed to make it the best Christmas ever. But there is something Sue wants to bring up. It is a cause close to her heart and so we decided to give her space on our blog to do so: Is a kitten or a puppy a good Christmas gift?

Thanks a lot, guys, I appreciate it.

You probably heard or asked yourself this question before. Christmas time is supposed to be joyful for everyone and I (and I'm sure Hunter and Trapper agree with me) like to include pets in that. Sadly for many animals what starts out as a nice and exciting thing turns out to be all but that. They will end up back at the shelter or even left out in the cold for someone else to care for them a few days or weeks after being given away as a gift. The poor things don't know what hit them: one day they are welcomed as a new member of a family - finally having found a loving home - and the next they are being discarded like a pair of old shoes. This is not fair! Not to the person who received the pet and even less so to the animal.

I think there are a few things one should consider before choosing a cat, a dog or any animal as a Christmas gift.

If you consider giving a pet to an adult (like your mom for example):
- talk to that person first to make sure he or she actually wants an animal
- ask the person what kind of animal they would like or better yet take him or her along when choosing their future best friend

If your kids ask Santa for an animal friend:
- make sure the kid is ready to take responsibility for a pet. You can read in some earlier blogs, that having a pet involves more than just giving it a name
- maybe talk to the child and agree on what's involved and which chores will be his or hers once the pet is there
- if you have doubts about the kid's readiness, maybe put the pet up for next year or a birthday. Give the child some chores for the time until then so he or she can proof that he or she is ready and committed. If you do that it might also help to grade the kid's performance on a weekly basis (together with the kid) and mark it down on a calendar. This way come the birthday or next Christmas there will be no big disagreements on how they did

In any case:
- don't forget to make sure the landlord of the person who gets the animal allows pets
- if not sure which animal you should buy, get help from a specialist (human society, breeder or vet) to find the right one. This is especially important with dogs: choosing the right breed (size, temperament and energy level) is very important
- consider possible lifestyle changes the new pet owner may make in the near future. Will the pet still be welcome or even be allowed (say in a retirement living environment or if the kid goes off to university)?
- can the new pet owner comfortably afford that pet? Food costs and vet bills can put a burden on someone on a tide budget
- what is going to happen to the pet if the new owner can not or no longer take care of it (who is going to take it)?

Once you have decided to go ahead with a pet for a gift, please consider the local humane society (that is where Hunter and Trapper come from) to get your present. They always have cats and dogs in need of a loving home and work hard to place those animals. You can read about them in some earlier blogs.

So if you are considering putting a pet under the Christmas tree for someone or if you know someone who is planning to do that, please take a few minutes to think or talk to that person about it. No living being deserves to be shoved around because it turned out to be a "mistake". If we can prevent this from happening to even one animal, we've done some good.

Thanks Sue, we agree. As much as we wish for every single one of our fury friends out there to find a loving home, when in doubt you might wanna stay away from giving a pet for a gift.

See you all next week

hunter and trapper

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