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My family is a little crazy when it comes to our dogs. Actually, a little crazy is a bit of an understatement—we are absolutely obsessed with them to the point that my husband thinks we (mainly my mother and I) should be committed.
For us, Rocco and Cosmo (both Malteses) are members of the family. We have birthday parties for them, buy them Christmas presents, and dress them in costumes at Halloween. They even wore little doggie tuxes for my wedding a couple of years ago.
But as much joy as they’ve brought to our lives, caring for them is also a lot of work—not to mention incredibly expensive. This thought brings me to my current pet peeve (pun intended): giving animals as holiday gifts. While putting a cute puppy under the tree is a good idea in theory, it’s not something you want to spring on another person, regardless of how much you think they might love the surprise. “There are definitely risks associated with giving an animal as a present, including traumatizing an innocent animal that must be 'returned' or unintentionally placing the animal in a neglectful home,” says pet trainer Joan Mayer.
And the current economy makes this practice even trickier. In fact, MSNBC recently ran a story on how some pet owners are cutting back on vet visits as a way to save money. While I understand the need to save money, this tactic is just plain stupid. According to the article, infectious diseases, parasitism and degenerative diseases such as heart problems, kidney disease and arthritis in pets can go untreated or unnoticed when people skip well-pet visits.
What do you think about giving a pet as a present? Share your thoughts below. –Linda DiProperzio