About Those Christmas Presents…

11 12 2008

christmas-treeThe big day is getting closer and everyone is thrilled about Santa, especially Tax. He has been on Santa Watch since December 26th of last year.  Today, I want to talk about a proper Christmas gift.  As you know, I have been tracking gift ideas for your pet over on the right from my Twitter friends.  I am happy to suggest to you some very nice gifts that you may buy for your friends, as well.  An electric pencil sharpener, a gift card to their favorite restaurant, movie tickets, money, Elvis’ Christmas Album, a toaster, some perfume, a clock, a nice picture frame, socks…  I could go on and on.  But, most importantly, I want to tell people about one thing that should never be considered as a gift, a dog or a cat!  We are not gifts, we are family.

For the parents that are thinking about giving an animal as a gift to one of your children, consider that most of the work and ALL of the expenses necessary for an animal’s proper care will be YOUR responsibility.  Caring for an animal is a lot like caring for a baby, and most children are not ready for that kind of a responsibility.  This is why humans are supposed to grow into adults before they have children.  So, if you think that maybe you can force little Johnny to grow up faster by presenting him with a new cat or dog, think again.  That new cat or dog will be cast aside with all the other Christmas gifts as soon as the newness wears off, but the cat or dog will still have needs whether little Johnny still cares or not. Unfortunately, a lot of parents also do not want this responsibility either, and, ultimately, the ones that suffer are the animals.

If you insist on getting your child a pet for Christmas, then make sure that everyone, especially YOU, is willing to bear the burden. Presenting a child with an animal is not the way to teach responsibility.  Sometimes a friend may think that giving the gift of an animal is thoughtful. This is especially true when it is a impulse purchase. You know that trip to the mall where you see the little puppies and they are all so cute?  So you buy one, thinking that maybe your Uncle Joe needs some company.  What you did not consider is that Uncle Joe has been planning to travel now that he is retired. Where will the dog go?

So you may have paid the initial cost for the animal, but the biggest expenses are yet to come.  Keep in mind, there are visits to the vet, food, boarding when you go out of town, extra deposits if you rent your home, treats and a huge demand on someone’s time.  The time thing is especially true for dogs.  We are very demanding creatures that crave your attention.  I know a few cats that like attention too, but a lot of them just want you to feed them, clean their litter box, and be on call for them if and when they need you.

Basically, this whole thing is about responsibility or the lack of responsibility that is shown when an animal in gifted to someone.  Remember that an animal is likely to live for many years, and that the present that you were so proud of giving may turn into an expensive burden that no one will enjoy.

I hope that every one has a very Merry Christmas. I am planning to have a great time.  Please give a second or third or fourth thought to making an animal your gift.   We live, we breathe, we play,we eat, and we require a lot from humans. If you want someone to have a nice dog for Christmas, consider one with no responsibilities.  Get a stuffed one and you will not have to worry about what happens to him.

Consider this little poem that came across my desk recently.
(Yes, I have a desk. But  Tax broke the part that he keyboard sits on when he saw a cat on the monitor.)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there!
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
No thought of the dog filling their heads.
And Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap,
knew he was cold, but didn’t care about that.
When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Figuring the dog was off his chain and into the trash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to the objects below
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Santa Claus, his eyes full of tears
He unchained our dog, once so lively and quick
Last years present, now bony and sick.
More rapid than eagles, he called the dog’s name
And the dog ran to him, despite of his pain
Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall
Let’s find this dog a good home where he’ll be loved by all!
I knew in a instant there would be no gifts this year
For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear.
The gift of a dog is not just for the season
We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons
In our haste to think of the kids’ Christmas gift
There was something very important that we missed
A dog should be family, cared for the same
You don’t give a gift, then put it on a chain
And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight
you weren’t giving a gift, you were giving his life!

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