’Tis the seasoning of giving, and while the heart may be in the right place, sometimes the gift may not be well thought out. People sometimes consider giving a puppy or a kitten as a gift, perhaps to a loved one who has recently lost a pet or as a gift for the children. Before getting a furry present, consider the reasons why it is not a good idea to gift a pet this holiday season:
Pets shouldn’t be surprises : Aunt Sally may seem lonely, but that does not mean she wants to clean a litter box and have the new expenses of vet care, medication, food, grooming and more that come with owning a pet. Also, if her pet recently passed away, contrary to popular belief, getting her a new pet to “replace” her old one is not a good idea. Pet owners need to grieve the loss of a companion animal, and they need to decide for themselves if and when the time is right to get a new pet.
Keep things calm : A new pet should be introduced in a calm atmosphere. All the hustle and bustle of the holidays does not make for a calm environment and can cause the pet to display negative behaviors that it would not show in a calm, routine-oriented situation.
Adopting is a commitment: Make sure the entire family is on board and understands the responsibilities that come with pet ownership. While pets can help teach children responsibility, they can’t be expected to be the sole caregivers to the animal. Children get bored easily, and once the newness is over, Mom and Dad may need to step in and care for this living creature.
Puppies and kittens grow up: Long after the new toys have been tossed aside, the new, once-small puppy, which is now 50-plus pounds, will still need love, care and attention. Pets can live upward of 20 years! Think long and hard about the commitment needed to add a new pet to the family.
If the family is seriously considering a new pet, they should go as a family to adopt a dog or cat. Pet ownership is a wonderful experience, and when the whole family is involved and knows the responsibilities and commitment that come with owning a pet, the experience will be a positive one for all.
FRIDAY: Jefferson SPCA hosts Buddy Break at Lafayette Square in the CBD from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dozens of adoptable shelter dogs are there for unlimited play for kids and adults alike. For more information, call (504) 931-4777, firstname.lastname@example.org
SATURDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans Adoption Event at Barcadia, 601 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, from noon to 4 p.m. Adoptable dogs will be on-site, and Barcadia will donate 20 percent of sales to support ARNO. For more info, email adopt@animal rescueneworleans.org
SATURDAY: Offsite Pet Adoption & Bake Sale, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. A variety of shapes, colors and sizes of four-legged friends eager to find a new home will be available for adoption. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org for more information.
SATURDAY THROUGH DEC. 23: “It’s A Wrap” gift wrapping from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd. The Louisiana SPCA will be wrapping gifts for donations to The Heartworm Fund.
THROUGH DEC. 27: Home for the Holidays —The Louisiana SPCA will offer half off the adoption fee of all adoptables. Regular adoption procedures apply.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to email@example.com; in Jefferson Parish, send to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com; and in St. Bernard Parish, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at email@example.com, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call our recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.