OPINION: Living Creatures Are Not Gifts


Phil Roeder

Cute cat posing with it’s cute little bow! Also, it’s Christmas!!!

Amara Whited, Print Copy Editor

As the holidays approach, gift ideas swirl in the minds of nearly every parent, and plenty of students’ minds as well. While tempting to do, giving surprise gifts of animals and pets is a practice that needs to be phased out of our society. The sudden, forced role of caretaker is surprising and overwhelming.

Big holidays like Christmas and Easter are some of the peak times that animals like rabbits, cats, dogs, and hamsters are bought as gifts, especially to inexperienced children. I want to write about this because no animal deserves to be in a shelter because they were an unwanted surprise. It’s cruel even, to show the animal that they were going to have a loving home and life, just for it to be taken away from them again.

Animals like cats and dogs should not be given as gifts without the recipient being well aware of all aspects. The recipient may not want that type of pet, have the money, space, attention span, time, or patience for the animal, especially if it’s young. In the case of children, they especially may not have the attention span or patience for an animal like a guinea pig or fish. These pets require special care, a lot of time, and possibly a lot of money. They are a liability that young children simply aren’t mature enough to handle. 

In the case of elderly people, pets are often given to them as something to keep track of while they’re alone, or something to keep them company. While well-intentioned, these people may not have the attention span either. Especially in dogs, when working breeds like Huskies, German Shepherds, and Australian Shepherds need more exercise than their senior owners can handle.

No pet deserves to be mistreated just because their owners did not know they would receive them. Unless the recipient is fully aware of the gift, pets should not be given for presents. When the holidays come around, be mindful of your loved ones and be aware of what they are expecting.