Friday, December 11, 2009
This is completely off topic from books but I think that it is a very important subject that more people need to be discussing, especially at this time of year.
This holiday season, as many of us join the maddening dash to find the perfect gift, I would like to ask that this year, if any of you are considering giving a pet as a gift that you give it some long thought and discuss it with the intended gift receiver first.
The purchasing of a pet should never be something that is done on a whim. Taking responsibility for the life of another, including an animal, is a big decision that deserves time and thought. Time must be taken to consider what animal and then what breed is suitable to the lifestyle of the would-be pet owner. Do they have time to walk the pet, to play with it, exercise it, and groom it? Can they afford regular visits the vet, to worm and neuter their pet, and be prepared to go that extra mile if their pet becomes ill? Far too many people do not consider these issues and as a result far too many pets are abandoned shortly after Christmas.
Pets are also NOT fashion accessories. I was reading just today about how the number of chihuahuas being abandoned has sky rocketed after the breed becoming fashionable thanks to the film Legally Blonde and Paris Hilton toting one in her purse only for people to lose interest in them after purchase. I was also horrified to read in another article that some people, in the face of financial difficulty, would rather abandon their pet than cut back on buying Christmas presents and holiday treats. That materialism could take priority over the love and care of a member of your family absolutely stuns me.
This year, one London animal charity is refusing to let people take pups from them after Sunday, December 20. Anyone wishing to adopt one of the pups must wait until January 2nd to take it home. This is a move to stop people thoughtlessly giving pups as gifts for Christmas only for them to abandoned on Boxing Day and I could not support it more.
If you must purchase a pet this Christmas, do not look to the pet stores where your cute new kitten or puppy may have well come from the cruel conditions of a puppy farm (also known as puppy mills), but consider going to the local animal shelter and adopting a pet that really needs that second chance. Pets adopted from, for example, the RSPCA, will have already been checked by a vet to assess their temperament, and will have been desexed and microchipped as required!
Please also be mindful during your seasonal celebrations, to safely secure your pet so that it will not become spooked and escape only to be hit by a car or end up in a shelter itself.
Please, feel free to check out the links below for more information.
Chihuahuas a 'victim of celebrity culture'
Don’t buy a dog for Christmas, Isle of Dogs MP urges
RSPCA condemns pets as presents
RSPCA NSW Website
ABANDONED: Animal rescue centre is full and it needs your support Can you give these pets a loving home
Animal abandonment rising, RSPCA says
Companion Animals Fact Sheet
Leeloo Dog Blog