Humane Society of
Wayne County, New York

1475 County House Road, Lyons, NY 14489


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More than 25 years of shelter operations

This page was last modified on Sunday November 18, 2012

The Holiday Gift Giving Season, Living Animals Should Not Be Given as Gifts

We all have some very funny stories about outrageous and really weird Christmas gifts that we have received in the past. Talk about the Ghost of Christmas Past! Great Marley's ghost!

You are probably familiar with the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, where Aunt Bethany wraps up her cat and gives it to Chevy Chase (Clark Griswald) and his family as a Christmas present. That is very funny but the kitty does come to a bad end when he chews through the wire of some Christmas lights and get electrocuted.

Living animals should never be given as gifts particularly if you are surprising someone. Cats, dogs and other animals form very special bonds with their owners, and it is important that the potential owner of a pet get to choose the animal that he or she would like to have. Chemistry between a pet and owner is a very strange but wonderful thing!

A pet is a big responsibility and to insure the success of the relationship, the potential owner should not only pick out the pet but should also be made aware that this gift is their responsibility for as long as the pet is alive.

Pets are not disposable, nor are they "things," to be given as gifts. They are living and breathing beings with needs and feelings. We do not give people to each other as gifts. Why would we give a cat, dog, or other animal as a gift?

Unfortunately, pets given as gifts do not as rule work out and come to the shelter a few months later. The following reasons for surrender are given: "The kids won't take care of it." "We have too many animals." "We don't have time for him/her." "He/she won't mind." Often the surrender happens long after the pet is past the puppy, kitten, or "cute stage." Many times it is the shelter's responsibility to try work through these bad behaviors and habits that need to be overcome.

If you are contemplating getting a pet, please make sure that all family members are in agreement and want this particular pet. This is especially important if the pet is going to be the responsibility of one family member. Holiday time is a bad time to get a pet. You are very busy, with shopping, company, baking, and parties. How can you housebreak a puppy when you are not home to take it out? How can bond with you kitty when you are not with it? How can you pay attention to your new pet when Grandma and Grandpa, who you have not seen in a year, are visiting with you for the holidays?

Why not wait until the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is past and we are all settled in for our long winter naps to get a new pet? There is nothing better than waking early on a winter morning, bundling up nice and warm and going for a long walk with the best friend you will ever have in your life. You are particularly blessed if there is a fresh blanket of white snow. You walk along quietly in the beauty and splendor of a winter morning, God is in His heaven and all is right with the world! Happy Holidays!