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Compassionate Contemplations

At CA we talk a lot about the positive impact spending time with animals has on humans, so its understandable that the festive season inspires so many to make the leap and get a pet. In this weeks blog our marketing assistant Jess discusses whether or not pets should be given as gifts and the responsibilities that come with taking on a new furry friend. 

woman with cat

The season for giving has arrived and as Christmas approaches, the pressure to give the perfect gift mounts. Every year many people make the decision to gift their loved one with a new puppy or other animal friend. Giving someone a loveable new companion to cuddle up with by the Christmas tree. is sadly often made without a lot of preparation. So what can we do to help us understand what having a pet means?

Owning a pet is a much larger responsibility than people realise and it is a huge commitment to bestow upon someone as a festive gesture. Not only do dogs live a long time (10-20 years!), they are a huge financial commitment. Pet insurance, vet bills and food alone really add up and it’s a big decision to make for someone else. Are they prepared to go for walks twice, sometimes three times a day? Do they have the extra time to train the animal, and clean up after it in the process? Of course in a lot of cases, parents are buying puppies and other pets as gifts for their children. Depending on the child’s age, the parent needs to be prepared to take on most of these responsibilities for themselves. The financial aspect is obvious, but is your child going to be out walking the dog every day or will that fall on you? Are you prepared to take on the tasks your child grows tired of? A pet is not a toy that can be discarded. We must remember that animals are sentient beings who require love and respect. They should not be treated as objects and thoughtlessly given as gifts. Taking care of a living creature requires financial stability and time yes, but it also requires a willingness to care for the animal and treat it as you would a member of your family. 

The unfortunate reality is that when the Christmas decorations come down, “gifted” pets often end up neglected or given to an already overpopulated shelter. With some consideration, this cycle can be broken. If you are thinking to give your child a pet this Christmas, it doesn’t have to be a surprise. Try discussing as a family if you’re able to take on this responsibility. Do your best to make sure that the animals needs will be met. It might not be the right time for your family to be taking on an extra member and that’s okay. What's most important is that we each understand that any pet deserves the best home and we humans need to be responsible and compassionate when deciding to bring furry or feathered friends into our families.

Photo by: Japheth Mast