The famous slogan "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas" was created by the Chief Executive of the Dogs Trust back in 1978 and I am sure that you will agree that it is still relevant here in 2011.
The Dogs Trust's campaign raises awareness to the consequences of treating dogs like presents which will soon be discarded when the novelty wears off.
I think a pet is for life, not just for Christmas. This applies to other animals we humans like to keep as pets; cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, parrots e.t.c. All animals need (and deserve) love, care and attention throughout their lives so if you are thinking of adopting/buying a pet as a Christmas gift please stop and think seriously before doing so.
Before committing ask yourself the following questions:
TIME... Do you have the time and commitment to spend with your pet? Look into what your animal will need on a daily basis and decide on whether you can provide this. Are you available to exercise your dog regularly? Do you live in a place suitable for a cat? Are you able to clean out your rabbits home regularly?
Pet ownership is a long term commitment, dogs can live for around 15 years and I have known dogs to live a lot longer. The same goes for cats who on average live around 12 to 15 years and quite possibly a lot longer. Before getting a pet research the life span and ask yourself honestly if you can commit to them for the duration of their life.
MONEY... Pets cost money, food, toys, vaccinations, insurance, vet bills... Are you able to afford this?
CARE... Are you prepared to arrange for someone to care for your pet if you go away on holiday? If you go abroad every year then you will need someone to look after your pet whilst you are away.
YOUR LIFESTYLE... Is this the right time for you to consider getting a pet? Life is full of surprises and all sorts of things can happen, your pets must be considered. It isn't fair for them to join your family in the midst of upheaval. Are you planning on moving house? Pregnant or planning to be pregnant? Have any significant health concerns? Away from home or travelling regularly?
OTHERS.. You need to ensure that everyone in your home is happy about a new addition, including any other pets you may already have. Introducing a new playmate may not be what they wanted for Christmas!
If you have asked yourself all these questions and can provide a stable, loving, forever home for an animal then please consider adopting from an animal sanctuary in your area. There are all sorts of unwanted animals waiting to be re-homed so investigate the possibility of adoption before anything else.
If you are set on buying a puppy, please ensure that you buy from a proper breeder. There is a high possibility that if you buy a puppy from a pet shop, an advert in the paper or from an unreliable source that you will be contributing to the puppy farming industry.
Remember, a pet is for life - not just for Christmas.