Give Gifts, Not Pets

Give Gifts, Not Pets

It's finally December, the time when Christmas lights are strung everywhere and fake snow is caked onto every surface. People are giddy with the thought of purchasing their friends and family the best gifts and receiving some in return. However, this is a different sort of time for animal shelters and rescues. Not only do people adopt more pets, but they give up more as well.

Many, if not all, shelters report seeing a large spike in surrendered animals just before the holidays, most likely families "trading in" their old pet for a brand new Christmas puppy or kitten.

An exerp from the huffpost.com reads, "The Washington Humane Society is overrun with pets who have been given up by their owners just before the holidays — 26 dogs were brought to the D.C. shelter within 48 hours alone last week.

'Unfortunately we see spikes like this each year around the holidays,' WHS spokesperson ChristieLyn Diller told HuffPost. 'We took in an equally high number last year at the same time.'"

As an animal lover and a person who has a strong bond with all of my pets, it's unfathomable to me that people will so easily trade in their "old" pets for a newer model, as though they're an outdated car or an obsolete phone. Pets should not be treated as objects. They're living beings that depend soley on their humans for everything from food to exercise.

Along with extra adoptions during Christmas time, gifted pets cause more pet surrenders later in the year. Most pets are gifted to children, and those children are expected to be their sole caretakers. Once the child gets bored or can't keep up with the task of providing care for the animal, the adults of the house tend to just see the pet as a burden that takes up time and space, and they're rehomed, surrendered to animal shelters, or just abandoned.

Millions of animals are surrendered to shelters. Approximately 55% of dogs and puppies and 71% of cats and kittens are euthanized annually due to health problems or simply overcrowding in shelters in America alone, according to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy - Shelter Statistics Survey.

If you are going to adopt an animal, whether it be for you or for someone else, you need to be sure that the person is responsible enough and financially able to care for a pet.

It's recommended that you spend at least 4-6 hours or more on both a puppy or a matured dog. They aren't just a house decoration that you can set on a shelf and forget. Along with the time consumption, raising an animal is a hefty investment. The ASPCA estimates that with proper food and medical care, along with other pet supplies you may need, you can expect to spend an upwards of $1,314 on a small dog, $1,580 on a medium sized dog, $1,843 on a large dog, and $1,035 on a cat all in their first year. The only payment you get in return is companionship and loyalty from your pet, but unfortunately that isn't enough for most people.

Animals have emotions just as people do. Imagine being placed into a cage surrounded by strangers always looking at you and the other strange animals in cages around you. You've been trapped there for so long. You don't understand what's happening. You can't understand what the strangers are saying, or why they're oohing and ahing and touching you through the bars. You're terrified. You're alone. You're in a shelter. One day, someone comes and rescues you from your unjust prison. You're taken to a warm house with smiling children. You're finally fed and bathed and you get to play! But slowly you notice your new family starting to drift from you. The children no longer want to play. The adults no longer want to tolerate you. Before you know it, you're back in a cage, surrounded again by strangers. Either you'll get lucky and be adopted by a family who will actually care about you, or you'll be put to sleep far too early for your time. That is the life of many of these shelter animals being adopted as cute "gifts".

If you're still considering getting someone a pet as a Christmas gift, do in depth research before getting the animal. Each pet is different. Make sure to look up breeds and their different requirements, proper care, and be sure to only give them to someone who you know will be a good fit. It's also always best to rescue an animal from a shelter, as they face a higher risk of being euthanized if they don't find a home in an allotted time. But most importantly, remember that they aren't just pets, they're family. Treat them as such.


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lexythelou22 is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
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What Guys Said 6

  • Reminds me of the time how certain movies 'popularise' pets and they become the hot new pet to own, only for them to realise they can't handle taking care of the pet and end up abandoning them.

    Sickening... Pets are always the ones that love unconditionally. Really makes you remember that there is always at least someone out there loving you even if they aren't human.

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  • couldnt read this people just chucking their best friends away who love them more than the world was sickening me. fucking animals and im talking about the people here the people who do this are animals and the animals are people. you would just ditch your child thats basically what your responsibility to that dog is and you should love it as such!

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  • 7d

    sad :(

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    • 7d

      Yeah, that really is sad. I don't understand why anyone would buy a surprise pet. Pets shouldn't be a surprise. If the person has wanted a pet for a long time and has done their research, then by all means get them a pet as a gift, but they should never be a surprise to a person, especially those not able to provide for them, love them, and understand them.

    • 7d

      totally

  • Whatever happened to forever homes?

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  • Wait, people just give up their companions like that? Jeez... I'd never give away mine.

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  • That's really sad to know. Pets are supposed to be your companions and they are the ones who are always there for you even when nobody else wants to listen to you. They are not "things" to trade them for the new ones.

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    • I completely agree. People tell me I'm a "crazy cat lady" or "crazy dog lady" because I spend money on good food for them, vet visits, toys, and I flip the fuck out if anyone dares to lay a hand on them with the intention of hurting them. How does that make me crazy? Wouldn't people do that for their children? Because they are my children.

    • 4d

      I really love my pets (cats). I spoil them rotten, love them with all my heart and tell my secrets to them. But no matter what, I am NOT a "pet parent", and none of my pets are my children even though they are part of my family. At some point. vets found they could get more money and raise prices when they could put their clients in the mindset of being a "pet parent" with "fur babies".

    • 4d

      @MikeMcCarrion I'm not planning on having children ever, so these are my children. Fine if you don't feel the same way, but I'll continue to.

What Girls Said 6

  • As a dog carer I'm gonna have to be prepared for the spike in dog sitting jobs in January when everyone is back to school and work, leaving all the discipline and work to me. 🙄

    Issue is that so many people get puppies, and with puppies you have to start EVERYTHING from scratch. An older dog knows commands, doesn't shit and pee in your house, doesn't destroy your house either, they're calmer, so much less work. But people really don't think shit through.

    If you're gonna get a puppy at least wait until summer holidays when you actually have time to get down the basics.

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    • Exactly! People don't realize how long it takes to train a puppy, or how needy they are. My pup would cry if I left the room for even a second without him until he was 6 months.

  • 4d

    I have been wishing for a new dog for a couple of years now... any time now! You have to carefully consider these things!

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  • I don't give pets. But I do love the ones I have. I used to have 12 strays

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    • I got my mutt from a local shelter on February, and I could never imagine giving him up. But I also wanted him and knew what I was getting in to. Unfortunately people dont realize that they need a ton of care, and they buy them as gifts. 😔

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    • I wanted an older dog, but the dog we already have hated other dogs, male or female. We tried with a puppy because she recently lost her litter, so we bought maybe she'd think he was hers and they'd get along. We were right, she loves him.

    • I have to keep my dog and moms dog separate they can not see each other man

  • 4d

    Very true, as sad as it is. If people are gonna gift a pet, they should do their homework first.

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  • People shouldn't get pets if they can't imagine taking take of them for their entire lifespan.

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    • Exactly! I couldn't imagine just tossing out a living creature for a smaller one. If you suggested doing that with human children, you'd get an earful and probably an investigation placed on you, but with pets it's perfectly fine? I just don't get the heartlessness.

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    • You mean they already have a dog, but baby wants a puppy, so they give it up to get a puppy? That's insane! I would tell the kids that they don't deserve a puppy if they are ok with giving the other up like that and tell the parents that they are despicable people with horrible parenting skills!

    • Yes, it happens. Usually people turn in their old dogs, especially those who are actually elderly, around Thanksgiving to make room for the new puppy.

  • 7d

    good point

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