Christmas morning is fast approaching and you want to surprise your children with a new puppy or kitten. You have visions of your children running down the stairs Christmas morning to find a new pet sitting patiently under the tree with a big red bow around their neck. Your children squeal in happiness, running over to the new family friend, who gives it a hug and they live happily ever after.
While it would be great if such holiday surprises always went that way, and worked out so well, this is often not the case. More frequently we forget that our children do not know how to care for the pet and this puts more stress on us as parents. All too often, we end up seeing them taken to local shelters, dropped off on the side of a road or put up for sale on the internet.
Before you decide to surprise your family with a new pet for the holidays and make your vision come true, take the time to consider the following to determine if your family is ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet:
- How old are your kids? Different pets are appropriate for different ages.
- Do your kids really want a pet?
- Are you committed? Pets are not something that you can take home, try out and return if they don’t suit you. You’re taking on a responsibility to care for that animal for the rest of its life. You have to remember it is a lifetime commitment with vet visits, supplies needed for its care, and lots of love for many years to come.
- Are you educated about what caring for a pet entails? Don’t forget that an animal is an animal. This means cleaning up bathroom accidents and vomit, chewing and climbing on furniture and many more things.
- What size, breed of pet is best for your family?
With these few tips, we hope that it helps to make the decision easier for you this holiday season.
Written by Christine Attridge-Hardy