The Rest

Pets: The Gift That Keeps on Eating

December 17, 2011

The following is a guest post.

Just imagine the look on your child’s face when, from underneath the Christmas tree, comes a Golden Retriever puppy. The unbridled joy, unconditional love, and initial enthusiasm will give you the moniker of greatest gift giver in the history of gift giving. Then when someone has to take the dog out, the tables turn and you are stuck with a burden of a beast instead of a precious little pet. If you have children who don’t want to watch after the pet it is one thing, but if you give a separate family or friend a pet you may be giving them another monthly bill.

It may seem like the greatest thing in the world to buy a pet for someone on a birthday or for the holidays, but it can turn sour very quickly. If you are thinking about giving a pet as a gift this holiday season, it is important to conduct some research about the recipient:

-If the person is an altruist, they will alter their earned CD rates in order to accommodate for a new pet.

-If they are realists, they will take it to the humane society in hopes for a new home.

-If they are lazy, they will let it loose in the streets and wish it best of luck.

According to MSN Money, if someone is not ready to own a pet it can become a financial burden with food and medical costs. A new pet takes time to play with, education to feed, and a little bit of psychology to adapt to certain behaviors.

If the person is allergic to certain animals, they may pose as a health risk instead of a new friend. The Center for Disease control says that cat dander is one of the leading triggers of asthma and allergies amongst all people. By giving them a non- hypoallergenic pet you may be putting their health at risk. If you give an older person a more aggressive dog like a Pitbull or a Doberman, you may be putting their life in danger.

According to Web MD, giving a pet as an impulse purchase can leave a person emotionally devastated as well as financially bankrupt. They suggest giving pets only to family members, because friends will not know how to say “no” as well. Even when picking out a pet for the house, make sure everyone is on board and willing to pitch in unless you are willing to do all the work yourself.

Pets are some of the most wonderful companions in the world and they are available for sale and adoption year round. But just because they are available all of the time, doesn’t mean that everyone should take on the responsibility of owning one. Have honest discussions and take the right precautions if you discover you can’t handle owning a pet.

  1. (How did I miss this when it was originally published?) I wrote a post for ThatMutt.com on why I think pets can be good holiday gifts. At the same time, I would never advocate buying a pet for someone who doesn’t live in the same house you do. A pet needs to be a joint decision between the responsible adults living in the household, not just for money reasons but for care of the animal. Even if you know they aren’t allergic and can afford it, they might have their own reasons for not having a pet (or getting another pet). You have to respect that.
    If you know a pet lover, instead of buying them a pet, donate to a local pet rescue group in their name.

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