Everyone wants a puppy or kitten… right?  The truth is that taking on a new family member is a huge responsibility, and not everyone is up to the commitment.  While the image of a little furry friend sitting under the Christmas tree may be irresistible, giving a pet as a gift is a very serious matter.

With 6 to 8 million dogs and cats entering shelters every year, selecting a pet that is right for an individual family and situation is of utmost importance.  Because having a pet is a decision that an owner must be committed to for the pet’s entire life emotionally, financially, and physically, the selection of an animal is usually best left to the individual taking on the responsibility.  The holiday season is often not a good time to introduce a new family member, either, as new pets take extra time and attention often not available during this busy season.

Please think carefully before giving a furry gift, and certainly do not do so without discussing extensively with the recipient.  Or, if the surprise is a big part of the gift, consider giving a gift card to a local rescue or animal shelter that will cover the adoption costs. That way the recipient will still have the surprise of a new pet, but will also have the ability to pick one out that suits his or her lifestyle and personality.