Articles Tagged with: Pets as Gifts
Pets As Gifts… CAN Be a Good Idea!

5 factors to consider before you give pets as a holiday gift

It seems like a no-brainer… Giving a pet as a present can be a win-win situation for everyone involved: the animal has a cozy home to call its own, the recipient is in a state of awe, and the giver (you!) has made your loved one’s holiday even more joyful.

While this is the gift-giving scenario that every animal lover dreams of, make sure it really is the purr-fect present for the person on your list.

If giving your loved one a new pet as a present is on your mind, here are 5 things to consider:

  1. Manage the surprise. Even at the risk of spoiling the surprise, make sure that the intended recipient wants a new pet. Check in with someone who currently has pets or has recently lost one to make sure they are ready.
  2. Don’t make them sneeze. That’s not a twinkle in their eye; it’s allergies. 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 pet, ensure that their building and development allows them. If their home is pet-friendly, be sure to confirm any weight or breed restrictions.
  4. Find out what they can handle. You want to know that 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 adoption centers, also has many practical benefits. All our adoptable animals, for example, receive spay/neuter services, vaccines, and a health and behavioral screening.

Keep in mind… It never hurts to run the idea by your loved one beforehand or take them along to pick out their new pet. They and their new furry friend will be thanking you for many years to come!

ARL has many deserving animals looking for a home!

It’s not just snowing cats and dogs here at ARL’s shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham. We have many special small shelter pets like birds and rabbits who are looking for loving homes!

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Pets As Gifts—Not a Bad Idea

Give the Gift of Love, Joy and Cuddles

You may be surprised by this, but giving a pet as a gift is not a terrible thing. We can say that our shelter animals would love nothing more than a home for the holidays.

According to our friends at the ASPCA, there’s no significant relationship between the love or attachment the pet parents had for their animals and receiving a dog or cat as a gift, whether they received the pet as a present or not.

Very importantly the ASPCA discovered that pets given as gifts were not more likely to be returned or surrendered!

Involvement in the decision did not impact love or attachment, said the ASPCA: “In fact, a higher percentage of those who were surprised reported that how the pet was obtained increased their love and attachment!”

You can read the peer-reviewed study, published in Animals, here.

Puppy Wearing Bow

The ASPCA study is not the first to challenge the conventional wisdom that pets given as gifts were more likely to be returned or surrendered. Dr. Gary Patronek, now a research consultant for the ARL’s Center for Shelter dogs and our former vice president of animal welfare, and colleagues Doctors Glickman, Beck, McCabe and Ecker, examined risk factors for dog relinquishment at one shelter and concluded that dogs received as a gift were at significantly decreased risk of being relinquished, compared to dogs who were purchased or adopted.

Dr. Jan Scarlett et al found that “unwanted gift” was rarely a reason for relinquishment of dogs and cats to the shelters surveyed.

Now that you’ve taken all of this to heart and decided to give your loved one a pet for the holidays, please keep the following things in mind.

1.  Test the waters.  Before you give someone a pet as a gift, make sure to establish they are open to bringing an animal into their lives.  Maybe they’ve hinted at the fact that they’ve been thinking about getting a pet.  Maybe you’ve hinted at the idea and they seemed enthusiastic.  Both are good signs.

2. Confirm any allergies in the household or residency restrictions.  If your intended recipient has expressed an interest in adopting an animal, the next step is to confirm he or she can have a pet.  If anyone has an allergy to cats in the household, for example, a kitten or adult cat is probably not a good idea.

3. Match to lifestyle. If the recipient you have in mind leads a busy lifestyle or has physical limitations, make sure to ask about an animal’s exercise requirements and personality.  Grandma’s been lonely ever since Grandpa has passed and she’s hinted at wanting a pet. She has arthritis and trouble walking for extensive periods of time.  A wiggly Lab puppy is not the best fit for her. Perhaps she’d do better with an older and small adult lapdog.

Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations, summed up our thoughts pretty well. “We feel that our shelter visitors who come in looking for a pet to give as a gift to a friend or family usually know their loved ones and what they are looking for.”

Maryann went on to say “we believe that most individuals are not going to get a pet for a friend or family member without the knowledge that their loved one wants a pet.  We have had successful adoption experiences with this process.”

We’re “not suggesting that you bring the gift of a new kitten to the host of the next dinner party… but instead allow your husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners and parents to bring love, joy and…yes…a pet home for the holidays.”