Are you thinking of buying a pet as a gift for a loved-one this Christmas?
That is a STUPID idea!
I’m sure you mean well. Giving someone a pet as a present is perhaps a sweet sentiment, but it’s not really fair to the gift pet.
If you give someone a pet you absolutely have to be 100% sure:
- They want a pet
- They are allowed to get a pet where they live
- A member of their family/housemate isn’t allergic to that pet
- They want that specific species
- They want that specific breed
- They can afford to care for the pet
- They have actually TOLD you they want to get that pet.
… And even then I wouldn’t recommend it.
Many unwanted (or perhaps just unaffordable) gift pets end up abandoned and/or in shelters. During the festive season there is also an increase of people just abandoning their pets when they go on holiday or simply leave them at home, alone and unattended. Animal Rescue shelters reach crisis time during the December holidays, due to the shear number of inmates. Many of them run out of food and space.
This festive season, if you’re thinking about getting a pet, rather adopt than buy. Go to your local shelter and find a friend who will love you forever for giving them a new home.
Don’t however adopt a pet as a gift for someone else. You don’t want the poor animal to be recycled and simply end up back at the shelter.
In honour of International Homeless Animals Day, The Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre will be hosting a fun day. You can adopt a dog for the day and take it for a walk. This is a good option for those of us that want to adopt animals, but can’t. It’s not as good as giving a doggy a new home, but at least you will gave a homeless dog one wonderful day filled with love. Wes Nose is just outside of Pretoria .(View the programme)
I for one am a firm believer in pet adoption. There are so many abandoned and abused animals that just need good homes. There should definitely be strict control on dog breeding and the sale of dogs. However if you do prefer to buy instead of adopt, play close attention to where the dogs come from (refer to the Dog Advice section). Dogs a sentient beings and loving pets that should not be treated as cash cows.
(Refer to my post on pet adoption.)
It easily happens that people buy a dog but grows bored with it once it passes the cute puppy phase. There are many stray dogs on the street, neglected and abandoned by heartless or clue less people. Not to even to mention those who are abused.
Animal rescue shelters are full of unwanted pets. These poor dogs are usually kept in fenced kennels and do not have as much room to roam as your average pet. Those who work at shelters are passionate to the welfare of the animals, but it is no substitute for the warmth and security of a good home. The dogs don’t really get the special individual attention they deserve, because there are just too many of them.
Rescue shelters are NPOs that rely on donations and adoption fees to stay to enable them to do their work. Animals don’t have free will like humans do so there are not as responsible for their circumstances.
Shelters also get intake of dogs rescued from puppy mills. Puppy mills are ruthless breeders that mass-produce puppies. Whenever a puppy mill is exposed it is a victory for rescue organizations and animal rights activists like PETA.
If you really care about dogs, adoption is a better option than buying as it decreases the demand for selling dogs. You can adopt almost any breed from shelters at a fee much smaller than the price of buying a dog. Breed specific animal shelters also exist. Do a Google search for “adopt (dog breed)” click on “pages from (your country)”
You can also look in the pet classifieds for dogs that are up for adoption. Often owners who can no longer keep their dogs will advertise them in the classifieds. They often wish to have their pets adopt privately so that they won’t end up at a shelter. In many cases these dogs will be given away for free to a good home.
Dogs know when they’ve been rescued, rescues will always be thankful and loyal to you for saving their life.
You can also find links to several South African pet adoption agencies on: www.adoptapet.co.za
Picture Coutesy of: Hartbeespoort Animal Welfare Society (HAWS)