We can all picture it. Our loved ones running down the stairs on Christmas morning, still in their jammies, to be greeted by a puppy wagging its tail under the tree. As adorable as the image is, giving a live animal as a gift isn’t always the best idea, no matter how good the gift-giver’s intentions. Sometimes it works out, but a lot of times it doesn’t.
Dogs Trust reports a spike in dogs being returned after the holidays every year, which is why they launched The Puppy Promise, a campaign asking people to pledge that they won’t purchase puppies as gifts this holiday season.
So why doesn’t a puppy make a good present? Well first off, puppies grow up. They chew. They poop. Sure, they’re cute, but they’re a lot of responsibility, too. Someone who didn’t ask to take on that responsibility might not be ready for the commitment of dog ownership. According to research by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, not having enough time for a dog is in the top 10 reasons for returns.
But what if you were really set on a dog as a howliday gift? You have some options.
1. Talk to the potential recipient.
Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to dog ownership. Talk about the commitment. You should never surprise someone with an animal. But if your family member or friend decides that he or she is ready to adopt a pup, you can go to the shelter together.
2. Give a gift certificate.
Many shelters allow you to purchase gift certificates. If someone has talked about wanting an animal, you can safely give them the certificate so they can adopt the pet in their own time. Let them know there’s no pressure to adopt if they have changed their mind. You can just count it as a donation to the shelter. And while we’re on the subject…
3. Donate in someone’s name.
You can help dogs in need for your animal-loving furiend without having to ask “How much is that doggy in the window?” Make a donation in your friend’s name — the ultimate gift of giving.
We wish you a safe and yappy howliday season!
Featured image via The Simpsons series premiere