Should You Gift a Pet for the Holidays?
It’s the time of year that’s filled with warm greetings, smiling faces, family gatherings and…gift wish lists! You may have received a list that sweetly asks for a puppy, kitten, dog or cat. You’re considering whether you should take the family member to find a pet or make it a surprise. If you want to surprise them with the gift of life and love, you should talk to your family member about what they’re looking for in a companion animal and gather as much information as possible, so you can be the ultimate human-animal matchmaker!
You may be asked to consider if it’s a good idea to give an animal as a gift. It’s been a long held belief by animal welfare organizations that giving pets as gifts creates an unsuccessful match and increases the risk of animals being returned to the shelter. There are shelters that have policies that do not allow animals to be adopted as a gift.
Emily Weiss, ASPCA Vice President of Shelter Research and Development, and her colleagues researched the topic and believe that “denying adopters who intend to give the animals as gifts may unnecessarily impede the overarching goal of increasing adoptions of pets from our nations’ shelter system.” As a result of their study, they found that “receiving a dog or cat as a gift was not associated with impact on self-perceived love/attachment, or whether the dog or cat was still in the home. These results suggest there is no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as a gift.”
In order to help a homeless animal and be the best matchmaker you can be, take responsibility for knowing the person’s lifestyle, his or her capability of caring for the needs of an animal for the life of the pet, and what they’re looking for in a companion animal. Once you’ve gathered this information, speak with the knowledgeable staff at an adoption center, so they can provide guidance and suggestions, and help you create a happy, loving match!