I’m a dog-person. I train dogs, I participate in hands-on dog rescue and transport, I work with dogs on TV, I write about dogs, and I run a charity to help feed rescue dogs. I’d be quite peeved with anyone who surprised me with a puppy (or dog) as a gift – and I love dogs, having three of my own. Acquiring a pet is a very personal choice. It is also a long-term commitment involving the recipients time, money and emotion.
Before you pick out a gift with a wagging tail, consider these 6 important things:
- Never give a pet as a surprise unless you are a parent or half of a couple that will take 100 percent responsibility for the animal for the rest of its life.
- Adopt a pet, save a life.
- Include your gift recipient in making the choice of a pet.
- If you want the gift to be a surprise, purchase a gift certificate to the rescue or shelter, or if they don’t offer one, purchase a stuffed kitty or puppy and attach an IOU to its collar.
- Along with the gift, include a “new puppy” or “new kitten” package, which includes a collar, a leash (for a puppy), two bowls, pet food, a book on caring for that particular pet, a litter box and litter (or a kitten), puppy pads (for a puppy), a gift certificate for the first visit to a local veterinarian, and anything else the recipient might need in the short-term to care for the pet.
- If the gift recipient runs into trouble caring for the pet, be prepared to take it back and find it a good home – make sure that it is not dumped at a pound.