13-lined Ground Squirrel
13-lined Ground Squirrel

Seasonal Pets: Why Pets aren't presents

Author: Christine, of Crittery Exotics

Thinking it through

The busy time of Christmas is not a fair time to introduce a new pet to the family. Your children will be excited, noisy and the household far busier than normal. This could be a very scary time for a young animal to be introduced to your household and in the midst of other shiny things it could well be overshadowed by another gift.

Never get an animal for someone else without their knowledge. This puts an unfair burden on them and really increases the chance of them being rehomed after Christmas. Plus in all honesty, isn’t choosing the animal yourself the best part?

Available animals

Any good breeder will never time a litter to coincide with Christmas and many rescues close their doors to rehoming over this period. This restricts the animals available to those from pet shops, unethical breeders and accidental litters this therefore:

  • Increases the chance your animal has been poorly bred and will be prone to expensive health problems later on.
  • Dwarf hamsters bought from pet shops will be hybrids — meaning they may develop diabetes later on.
  • You will likely be supporting practices such as rodent farms and unethical breeders.
  • You have no assurances of good temperament in your animal.

So what is the alternative?

Make it fun!

Why not print out a colourful Christmas voucher entitling the child to one visit to a breeder to pick out their animal(s)?

You can buy the cage and accessories, or merely take a photo of a suitable cage if you are buying it for someone else’s child (especially if you haven’t checked with their parents first).

Place the voucher inside the cage (if bought) or in a cardboard box filled with helium balloons. You could also buy a small toy animal of the same type and have it holding the voucher!

Not only are you then allowing more thought to the purchase, but the animal itself can be more carefully chosen — from a source to give a happy, healthy animal without supporting unethical practices. You are also giving an extra gift as you are promising your time and attention to the child. You can make a day of it, the journey, a lunch out before or after, and all the fun of decking out the cage for the new arrival!

Breeders also often offer regular, photo updates. How happy would your child be seeing photos of these babies and getting to pick which one would be their very own?

The Result?

The child learns that pets are not an impulse buy. It doesn’t feed the culture of animals as disposable things and reduces the chance that the animal will be rehomed later on.

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Christine runs Crittery Exotics and is an experienced animal keeper & content writer.

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Crittery is an educational resource site and small home-based rescue.