HCN News & Notes

Should You Give a Pet as a Gift?

EAST BROOKFIELD — We’ve all seen the videos filled with sheer joy as people of all ages are surprised with an adorable puppy or kitten as a gift. Tears of happiness start to well up in your own eyes. You might even consider surprising a loved one with a pet this holiday, but Second Chance Animal Services recommends a shelter visit as a gift instead.

“What those videos don’t show is all the sad and confused Christmas and birthday puppies and kittens who find themselves at shelters months or even weeks later,” Second Chance founder and CEO Sheryl Blancato said. “Adding a pet to your family can be so rewarding, but it’s also a serious commitment. You need to do your research and think about what type of pet works best for your family’s lifestyle. There’s a lot of work that comes with owning a pet, especially when they are young and as they age. Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment.”

Blancato said no one should ever be completely surprised with a pet. “We always hope our pets all find homes for the holidays, but the best homes are prepared to handle all the responsibilities that come with owning a pet. Second Chance does offer a lifetime return policy on pets we adopt, but being surrendered back to a shelter can be very hard on a pet. It’s heartbreaking to see them waiting for their owner to return.”

Second Chance recommends giving a gift of a pet bed or bowls along with a note that you are considering a pet and planning to research which pet will be best. A handmade gift certificate to visit a local shelter, along with a book about how to care for a pet, can make a great gift for young children.