5 Things to Consider When Giving Animals as Gifts

Celebrating the holiday season with furry friends

It’s crunch time for holiday shoppers and finding that perfect gift that makes a friend or family member stand up and jump for joy remains very much on the minds of many this week.

Giving the gift of a new furry, feathered, or scaled family member is a frequent choice for a real WOW-factor holiday present.  That said, if a new pet is on your mind this holiday season, here are five things to consider.

  1. Thumper would love to come home with you!

    Thumper would love to come home with you for the holidays!

    Manage the surprise. Even at the risk of spoiling the surprise, make sure that the intended recipient wants a new pet.  Check with parents that they are willing to help a child care for an animal, for instance, and ensure they are able to financially take on the responsibility.

  2.  Don’t make them sneeze.  Confirm any allergies among all household members.  No one wants to go get an allergy shot after opening what’s supposed to be an extra special gift, after all.
  3. Know where they live.  Even if you know your intended recipient really wants a cat or dog, make sure they don’t live in a building or development that doesn’t allow pets.
  4. Find out what they can handle. You want to make sure you know the animal you are getting matches the lifestyle, physical limitation, ages, and personalities in the household.
  5. Adopt from a shelter.  When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life.  Adopting from a reputable animal shelter like the ARL’s locations in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham also has many practical benefits.  All our adoptable animals, for example, receive spay/neuter services, vaccines, and a health and behavioral screening.

12-22-14 Pets as Gifts Pic2“At the ARL, the visitors who come in looking for a pet to give as a gift to a friend or family usually know their loved ones, what they can take on, and the kind of animal they would like to have as a pet,” explains Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations.

Sometimes our whole shelter staff even gets to be part of the gift-giving experience.

Recently, one merry gift-giver came in after seeing an adoptable dog he knew would be just what his girlfriend wanted.  The next day, he brought his girlfriend to the shelter to meet the pup.  It was love at first sight, so he surprised her then saying the dog was his special gift to her!

The ARL has many deserving animals looking for a home for the holidays – search adoptables now.