Holiday Gift Guide SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2012
14 Think twice before giving pets M
any people consider pets great holiday gifts. But in spite of their popularity as presents, pets do not al- ways make the most appro-
priate holiday gift. Giving a pet as a present seems like a
great idea, but shoppers might want to give it more consideration before giving a gift that is such a considerable responsi- bility.
A puppy at Christmas or a bunny at Easter may be given with good intentions, but that well-meaning sentiment can easi- ly backfire, ending with the pet being giv- en up for adoption when recipients don’t feel up to the task of raising a pet. In such instances, the companion animal pays the steepest price.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppies and kittens born in the United States never reach their second birthdays.Th
ey die from be- ing hit by cars, are euthanized by their owners, succumb to starvation, or suffer fatal injuries in fights with other animals. Though it often is, buying a pet should not be an impulse purchase.You see sad eyes looking back at you from behind a cage door and want to give that animal a new home. However, introducing an ani- mal into a family is not a decision to take lightly.You must factor how well the pet will fit in with the family dynamic. Do schedules allow for quality time spent with the animal? Is it a financially good time to care for an animal that will cost money? Are you aware of how long the pet will live? Making those big decisions for a person on the receiving end of your well-intentioned gift may be crossing a line.Would you want to have such a life- changing decision made for you? Furthermore, the holiday season is not one ideally suited for making careful deci- sions. People are often swept up in emo- tions and even stress, and shoppers may not be thinking rationally. The hectic nature of the holiday season
Traps Continued from page 13
Electronics, for example, are often subject to restocking fees, which means consumers will have to pay a fee if they return
can be a difficult time for a pet to grow acclimated to its new environment. He or she may be frightened to assimilate or take longer to settle down. Pets often need several weeks of quiet and constant care to become comfortable in their new environments. Here are some other rea- sons why the holidays are not a good time for new pets. • Holiday visitors may frighten the new pet and he or she may become weary of strangers at the outset. • The activities in the household may pose safety hazards for the young ani- mal. An abundance of rich foods and vari- ous decorations could be ingested, po- tentially causing illness. • New pets should be carefully super- vised around children to see how they behave. A child may not be accustomed to handling a puppy or kitten and could injure the animal. Similarly, the pet may be skittish and lash out at the child. Adults busy with holiday obligations may be easily distracted and miss how their child is interacting with the new pet.
an item that is not in its factory- sealed box. These fees can be substantial, as some retailers’ stocking fees are as much as 25 per cent. •
* Once the glow of the holidays wear
off, children may be disillusioned with the new responsibility that has fallen into their hands.Th
ey may not like the responsibili- ty that comes with being a good pet own- er.
Reputable pet breeders and animal shelters often discourage individuals from adopting or purchasing pets as holi- day gifts. Many organizations and animal businesses require a careful vetting of potential pet parents to ensure the ani- mal will be placed with a family and in a home that is suitable. Animal welfare groups warn that an es- timated 50 per cent of pets adopted dur- ing the holidays end up right back at shelters. This can scar the pet. Avoid the temptation of giving a companion animal as a present. If it is your intention to gift an animal, talk to the gift recipient and discuss the pros and cons beforehand. Then you can work together and make the right decision for all parties involved, including the pet.
— Metro Creative
Varying return policies. Some retailers change their re- turn policies depending on
where the item was purchased. For instance, in-store purchas- es might be subject to different return policies than items pur- chased on the retailer’s Web site. This is especially difficult during the holidays, when peo- ple are buying for family and
friends who don’t necessarily live near the store where the item was purchased. Before buying, always acclimate your- self with the return policy, in- cluding an differences between the in-store and online return policies.
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