Giving thought to the perfect gift

Published 6:30 pm Monday, November 24, 2014


The holidays are upon us and everyone is giving ample thought to what to get for whom. Shopping can certainly be fun — and sometimes challenging — as the perfect gift can remain elusive for that hard to please person. Shopping for children, however, can be especially easy, but there is one gift children are regularly given that needs a lot more than a moment���s thought: a pet.

Every year, animal shelters get an influx of animals that were supposed to be the perfect Christmas gift. Instead, the cute little puppy or kitty ended up being far more work than anyone bargained for.

When the 101 Dalmatians remake came out in November of 1996, there was a mad stampede for Dalmatians. They were the latest thing — and what a cute Christmas gift: a black and white spotted puppy with a red bow around its neck. Just the sight to make hearts melt and Christmas happiness abound. But come the next fall, plenty of shelters had purebred Dalmatians on their rosters. Turns out, they’re not the best dog for children, and when they’re in the teething phase, extremely destructive.

So they ended up in shelters, because pet owners were not prepared for the time and commitment that go into raising and training a dog.

Pets are a commitment — they should never be an impulse buy because they are one toy that can’t be returned once the novelty has worn off. Pets that end up in shelters that regularly euthanize animals to make room for more abandoned animals, very likely will never make it out of that shelter. The hope that a pet will get adopted is just that, a hope, because there is no guarantee that walking a pet into a shelter on a leash, means they will walk out on a leash.

So this Christmas, remember that pets are a lifelong (their life) commitment. They don’t come with receipts. They don’t come with tags. They only come with the hope for patience and understanding to stick with them as they acclimate to a new home and new rules. The reward for doing so is a lifetime (their life) of unconditional love.