Jack’s Walk

Jack wouldn’t look at me for this photo. He was too embarrassed.

Despite the silly photo, Jack and I would like to talk about something serious today, and that is why it’s a bad idea to give an animal as a gift at Christmas. It seems like such a fun thing to give a puppy or kitten at Christmas, but it’s a terrible time of year to bring a new animal into your home, so Jack and I would like to share this list from Paws for Hope with some excellent reasons to not get a puppy or a kitten at Christmastime.

The holidays are a busy time of year. We are often coming and going, more often than usual, from our homes to festive celebrations, shopping etc. When bringing a new pet into your home it is important for them to have your attention so that you and your new family member can create a trustworthy bond. This can be a very stressful time for pets, and an extra busy household that is full of excitement can make the transition process very difficult. If you are adopting a young animal the training required can be very time consuming and some animals require lots of exercise. Training should start immediately, not after the holidays are over. Most of us don’t have a spare moment during the holiday season, making if very difficult to find the time to train. The best way to alleviate the stress and fear a pet may have coming into your home is be home as often as you can, keep a consistent schedule and maintain a calm environment.

Gifting someone a pet for a present is just a bad idea. Choosing the right pet is a very personal decision and not one to be made by someone other than the new adoptive parent/family. Picking the right pet personality to suit you/your families is something for you and only you to do. Pets are not products, they are living creatures, like us, and they should NEVER be sold in a retail setting and purchased as presents. Even if adopting from a local shelter or rescue, gifting a pet gives the wrong impression, especially to children, that this new pet is a toy. You want your children to understand the responsibilities of caring for an animal and for your new pet to not end up being ignored after the novelty wears off.
Hold off bringing a pet home from a shelter and head on down to your best friend’s chocolatier and by them a box instead! Or give them a gift certificate for a pet adoption after the holidays are over.

Deciding to expand your family to include a pet is also committing to taking on the financial responsibility that comes along with them, much of which is unforeseen. This may not be fully thought through if you decide on a whim to adopt during the holidays as you are swept up in the magical time of year and decide to help a pet in need and bring home an animal from your local shelter. Purchasing or adopting an animal is a costly decision, from food, litter, regular and emergency veterinary care (like when your Pitbull Lucy gets pneumonia from eating goose poop!). And let’s not forget the pets who will require walkers, daycare and will need somewhere like a boarding kennel or pet sitter when you take your annual vacation or frequent business trips. Please fully consider all of the responsibilities that go along with having a pet any time of the year.

I’d like to add winter weather to the list, which makes it a difficult time to house train a puppy or a rescue dog.


From Paws for Hope Animal Welfare, B.C.



  1. says

    I agree, the holidays are frantic enough without adding a frightened stressed animal to the mix. The same goes for Easter and bunnies and chicks.

    When I hit the big six-oh, I adopted a snowy owl from the Audubon Society. I got a certificate, a year’s membership, and an adorable plushie owl that made the appropriate noise when squeezed. Audubon has all sorts of birds now, and they’re a good organization.

    Consider doing something along those lines. You may get sick and tired of electronic bird noises, but you’re doing something good and the kid gets something to love that doesn’t need to be fed, walked, or taken to the vet.

  2. says

    Jack’s so cute! You can tell he’s just doing it because you asked.

    Agreed about gifting pets. It’s good to get to know them beforehand to reduce stress. Give a stuffed animal as a standin

  3. says

    Awww, cute Jack.
    I think the only way to do “gifting” a pet right is by not putting a pet under the tree, but by making it a long process in which everybody is involved. Of course you got to have a “no magic Santa” tradition at home. I think it’s ok to say “this pet is your christmas present”. After all, a pet costs money, and it needs stuff that costs money, and if your kid wants a pet and you have discussed what having a pet means then you can say “OK, the pet is your christmas present”. And then the pet arrives whenever the pet and you are ready to arrive. I don’t care if it’s October the 7th.

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