This time of year, we’re all hustling and bustling to and fro to find the perfect gift for the special people in our lives. And for some, you may think the perfect gift is a furry little ball of unconditional love with a tail that just never stops wagging. But if you give a puppy or kitten as a gift, you’re also giving the recipient an immense responsibility. While conventional wisdom holds that giving pets as gifts is strictly taboo, there are some situations where such a gift may be welcome.
While conventional wisdom holds that giving pets as gifts is strictly taboo, there are some situations where such a gift may be welcome. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll assume that if you’re giving a puppy or kitten to your own children, you know what you’re in for and have considered this gift quite carefully. But if your intended recipient is another adult in your life, here are some ways you can make sure your gift is appropriate and welcome.
- Ruin the Surprise. I know, I know. This takes away some of the fun of the gift-giving experience. But pets aren’t a typical gift. They don’t just sit on the mantle for your recipient to admire. They cost money and tend to destroy things in their earlier stages. Still, if your recipient has mentioned wanting a pet, this is a perfect time to consider giving a pet as a gift. Approach your friend prior to the holiday, birthday, or event and let them know you’d like to grant their wish. They’ll still be surprised, just… sooner.
- Leave it up to Them. Many animal shelters and rescues will accept payment of adoption fees in advance. So you can pay the adoption fee and then let your recipient know that they may go pick out their new pet if they wish. If they don’t want or can’t decide on a new pet, then consider the adoption fees a charitable donation in your friend’s name (which is a gift in itself!).
- Make it Easier. Perhaps your intended recipient has already decided to adopt a new pet in the near future. That’s terrific! If you’re not quite ready to commit to gifting said pet itself, give items that will make the adoption process much easier for your friend. Food and water bowls, bedding, toys, even gift cards to your local pet store will be welcome gifts to the pet-lover in your life.
Pets are part of the family, and they’re a long-term commitment. While it may not be feasible or advisable to give a pet as a gift in many situations, I hope these tips will help make this an extra-special holiday season.