Pets do not make good surprise gifts. All pets require care and attention. Getting a pet for Christmas can be a great idea if everyone agrees with the plan, but astounding numbers of cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, and other pets are dumped right after the holidays.
|Adorable, but should not come as a surprise.|
I personally feel that a home is richer with a pet. There are many health benefits to having pets, and they can be a great way to teach children about respect and responsibility. Every pet deserves a good home where he or she is loved and receives proper care.
Some things to think about before getting a pet:
- Different animals have different physical needs. Research the type of pet you're considering, and make sure you can meet them. Do you have the space? Enough money to get whatever equipment you need?
- Are you prepared for a lifetime commitment? A guinea pig can live for five years. A dog can live for fifteen. Some parrots can live for more than 100 years. Can you deal with someone being dependent on you every day for that long?
- Discuss the pet's schedule with the family. All pets require attention, care, and training. If you're getting a dog, he or she will need walks every day, whether it rains or not. Puppies need to go out right now, and not when it's convenient.
- Make a budget for vet costs, food, treats, kitty litter, straw, and whatever else the pet might need.
- Make a plan for emergencies. You need to have some funds set aside in case something happens and your pet needs sudden care.
- A child should not be sole caretaker of a pet.
This list doesn't cover everything, but it's a good starting point for the family discussion.
~ Maria Sadowski ~