Gifting a companion animal: 4 pieces of advice

November 18, 2020

It’s the giving season and what could be cuter than a puppy or a kitten? Before you consider giving an animal, ponder the following pointers.

While it might seem like a good idea, this type of present can have truly unpredictable consequences. When people lack the time to manage them appropriately, the difficulties associated with the arrival of a new pet can snowball rapidly—even more so in a young family. After a brief honeymoon period, it’s not uncommon for exhausted parents to return a newly acquired pet which, naturally, will lead to distress on the companion animal as well as the children who are upset to see their pet go. To stop your good intentions from turning into a nightmare, take the time to carefully think about adoption and do your research. Consider the following.

Avoid an impulsive decision
Your girlfriend has always talked about wanting a puppy? Be up front with her and confirm that the desire matches her current lifestyle. Is her day-to-day routine conducive with having a pet? Does she travel frequently? Does she have an impractical work schedule? Answers to these questions might change the picture … even more so, when you consider the length of the commitment: the life expectancy of a dog varies from 8 to 15 years, depending on race and size.

Evaluate future costs
With a new pet, expenses can add up quickly. Even if your godson’s parents have given the green light, prevent bad surprises by having an open discussion with them about the cost of having a companion animal. Decide beforehand who will be responsible for paying for vaccinations, spay/neutering, toys and accessories. For added peace of mind, suggest pet insurance.

Make it a match made in heaven
Just like human relations, the chemistry between a person and a companion animal is unique. And that’s why it’s so important for your loved one to choose their new 4-legged friend. For an enduring, loving partnership, consider a gift certificate instead a “done deal”. And, in cases involving children, plan a pre-adoption get-together.

Find out about the animal’s antecedents
Shelter animals make for wonderful adoptions. To make it a happy experience, be sure to find out about the animal’s behaviour, which is even more critical for first-time pet owners. If any behavioural issues are identified, make certain that the owner will be able to handle them. A subsequent abandonment will harm both the animal and everyone involved.

Giving an animal as a gift on a whim is never a good idea. No matter how generous the gesture, for the happiest of endings, consider it only when the recipient’s desire is explicit, profound and sustained.


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