I’ve never meet a person that didn’t “ooo” and “aww” at a puppy, or want to pet a playful kitten. Animals are simply the darlings of America. We pamper them, and love them, and share pictures of them. It’s no surprise our culture’s love of domesticated darlings has spilled over to our younger generation. Children have and always will be attracted to animals, be they big or small.
But during the holiday season this urge that kids have to become pet owners often time translates to parents running out to purchase puppies or kittens on a whim. Everything is ok at first; the child is ecstatic, overjoyed and willing to devote endless hours to their new pet. Then their attention wanes, and the bills start stacking up for vet visits, and food, and grooming, and soon frustrated parents are taking their Christmas purchase to the pound to be euthanized. Giving a living creature as a gift is NEVER a good idea, and below are some great alternatives that will make kids happy, and keep shelters from being flooded with abandoned animals during the holidays.
1. Instead of bringing home an actual animal during the holidays, bring home a big bag of animal food. Shelters are in continuous need of donations, and taking the bag of food to the shelter with your child will not only help feed animals on Christmas, but will give you a chance to observe your youngster around animals.
Pay attention to how they interact with them, whether or not they understand the noise, and care, and attention needed to raise a pet. More than likely you will notice how quickly your child’s interest jumps from animal to animal, indicating that their interest will also quickly wander from whatever pet you buy them. Kids just aren’t built with long attention spans, and playing with friends will always be more important than feeding their puppy or kitten.
2. Buy your child a subscription to a pet magazine. Use this subscription as a promise and as a test. Maybe your kid isn’t ready for a pet right this minute, but eventually a child will become responsible and old enough to care for a living creature. Pet magazines are full of stories from pet owners, tips to taking care of pet, and usually quizzes about your ability as a pet owner. Some kids will be discouraged and disenchanted with the idea of owning a pet when they realize how daunting the task is, but for the ones who stay interested, they will only gain knowledge and wisdom from having a constant source of information.
3. It’s safe to say that the thing that kids are drawn towards when it comes to dogs and cats is their playfulness and cuteness; they definitely aren’t attracted to their pooping, or peeing, or eating, or constant barking. One way to get all the cuteness a pet without the mess is by getting an interactive toy pet. The advances in technology in just the past five years have produced some truly amazing things; one of them is toy pets that are surreally life like. Some of these interactive pets can be very expensive, especially the more advanced and realistic ones. But consider this- throughout a dog’s life, owners on average spend over $5000 dollars on food, grooming, and shelter. If your animal falls sick, that amount can double or even triple. Even a top of the line interactive pet is nowhere near the eventual amount spent on an actual pet.
Please, think twice before buying your child a real pet for Christmas. When your kid’s interest eventually runs out with their furry friend, you will be the one taking care of it. Kids can be persuasive, and everyone just wants their child to be happy, but is sacrificing the life of a living creature really worth it? Most Christmas pets end up at a shelter, over 71% never seeing their second birthday. Make the right choice and plan, plan, plan!