Pets as presents: Think twice before gifting a furry friend, shelters say



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The coronavirus pandemic has made for an emotional year, and many are searching for meaningful gifts to wrap up this holiday season on a more positive note.

While pets, undoubtedly, can be a source of happiness, animal rescue organizations urge gifters to resist placing them under the tree. The Humane Society of West Alabama encourages those considering gifting a pet to do their research beforehand.

“Giving a pet as a gift should never be a quick decision, even an emotional decision, or a surprise gift,” Tina Miller, a volunteer at the Humane Society of West Alabama, explained. “As a matter of fact, many rescues don’t even adopt [out] during the holidays for that reason.”

Pets are a financial responsibility that take time, care, and attention. Providing the basic necessities for a pet will put inevitably put a dent in one’s pocket. Many factors should be considered before committing to pet ownership, Miller advises.

“The food alone is expensive, the vet costs, the preventatives, the grooming, the pet sitting, the training—[and] if they’re a puppy, all of that can be thousands of dollars per year,” Miller said. 

Also, the chaos of the holidays can be stressful for pets trying to adjust to a new home.

“We all know how excited a house can get…It’s already going to be stressful for that puppy, dog, kitten, or cat—so don’t add to the stress of them coming to a new home by putting them [around] a lot of noise and excitement. Wait until after the holidays,” Miller suggested.

Shelters like the Humane Society of West Alabama recommend gift certificates that loved ones can use toward pet adoption if they are prepared to do so after the holidays. Furry friends are wonderful additions to families, but it’s imperative to adopt at the right time, shelters say.


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