LIVINGSTON COUNTY — Though giving a puppy or kitten to an animal lover this holiday season may seem like the perfect heartfelt gift, organizations like the ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society urge against it.
According to the ASPCA’s website, selecting a pet that closely matches the owner’s expectations and lifestyle is one of the most important parts of obtaining a pet. When a person receives a pet as a gift, the animal may not meet the person’s expectations and lifestyle. Someone who can’t walk often shouldn’t be given a dog that needs to be walked daily.
In order to be a happy animal owner, a person has to be prepared to provide a life-long home for the animal, no matter how big or small it is. A person receiving an animal as a surprise gift may not be ready to make that commitment, even if they seem like they are. This can cause the person to have to put the animal up for adoption or in a shelter.
According to their website, “the ASPCA does not recommend giving a pet as a gift to a person who has not exhibited a sustained interest in an animal or is not fully capable of meeting all of the needs of the animal.” The ASPCA recommends consulting with the recipient of the pet first and engaging him in the process of pet selection and timing.
The Best Friends Animal Society takes a similar stance on giving pets as gifts. They suggest folks create a gift certificate stating they will cover the cost of a future adoption and give that as a gift instead of the actual animal. This way, the recipient of the gift can choose their own pet and to decide when they are ready to receive it.
The Best Friends Animal Society also recommends the gift certificate be used to cover the cost of adopting an animal instead of buying one from a breeder. Rescue groups exist for almost every breed and type of animal and help save animals who may otherwise be put down.
There are several pet adoption services in the Livingston County area, such as Livingston County Dog Control, SusieQ Dog ResQ, Going to the Dogs Rescue and many more.