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By Krystal Rinyu

Why pets as gifts are rarely a good idea

With the Easter holiday coming up, people may be considering how adorable their child’s face will be when they see the real-life, fluffy rabbit or the adorable little chick peeking its head out over the top of that Easter basket. But realistically? How good an idea is this?

There has to be a frank and honest discussion about the realities of owning a pet regardless of what kind of pet you may be considering. Are you financially prepared for the additional expenses owning a pet will bring (food, toys, bedding, etc.)? Can you afford potential veterinary bills should the need arise? Owning a pet is not about the look on the face of your child or significant other at some holiday. Owning a pet is about is about caring for another living creature. It is about knowing their needs and being able to provide for them.

Unfortunately, it is all too common for people to think in the short term when it comes to purchasing pets for their household. Whenever a holiday comes around, they think of how cute it would be to have that pet in that moment. Few think about what happens after the moment has passed. What happens when they realize they do not have the time to dedicate to house-breaking and training a puppy? How about when that new kitten scratches their young child? What happens when the chick that you thought would be the perfect thing at Easter turns into an additional expense that you simply cannot afford? Or what if that cute little rabbit is suffering at the hands of your young child who cannot understand how to pet it gently?

The unfortunate reality of this ill-thought-out idea is that hundreds of young animals are surrendered to shelters each year. And some of these adorable gifts end up being euthanized due to lack of space and resources. I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t give a pet as a gift if you have done your research on the animal, and had a realistic conversation (whether with yourself or with a significant other), but there are other avenues that you can explore if at the end of the day your heart is set on adding a new member to your family.

Visit your local shelter or rescue and speak to them about adopting one of their animals; sometimes the best pet is a rescue pet. Research small animal shelters in your area and ask them about fostering a small animal before you commit to adoption. That way if you can’t afford the animal, or find you don’t know the first thing about caring for it, you can simply contact the shelter and surrender the animal back to them.

At the end of the day, only you know what is right for your family. But I strongly encourage you to do your research before you make any kind of commitment to another living creature. It is the only right thing to do.

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