Think Twice Before Giving A Pet As A Present

By Dr. Megan Weiler, Veterinarian

Let me share a personal, relevant story. My grandfather, the reason I am a veterinarian, always loved animals. My grandmother – not so much. She was known to take good aim with her BB gun at the squirrels in their backyard. So, for Christmas my mom decided we should get grandpa a dog. I was all in. A sheltie named Teddy. Grandpa named all his dogs Teddy. I paid the tax for her purchase. It was everything we hoped on Christmas morning. Grandpa was so surprised and so happy. Fast forward to mid January. Grandma threatens to send Teddy to a farm. She had had it with that puppy. All I asked for my 16th birthday that January was a plane ticket to Michigan to get Teddy before said farm scenario occurred. Teddy had a happy ending but most cats and dogs given as gifts are vastly more likely to end up in a shelter.
  1. The person receiving the pet may not have the financial means to care for the pet.
  2. They may not have the time or energy to take care of the pet properly.
  3. Maybe it isn’t what they would pick for themselves. Maybe they would rather have a bearded dragon than a kitten.
  4. The novelty of a pet as a gift can wear off just like a new toy. Then the pet ends up being neglected.
Parents buy pets for young children and grown-up children buy pets for elderly parents. Both are usually not great ideas in the long run. So think hard before you gift a pet and if you do, be prepared to save that gift from “the farm” if it doesn’t work out as planned!

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