Off Topic

I think, therefore I harm

A Puppy for Xmas

Just yesterday, as I was leaving the mall, I overheard that woman talking on her phone. She was asking the price for getting a kitten sterilized and declawed.

Oh! I’ve been a good boy. Those who know me know that I am rarely a good boy. There were so many things wrong with these few words that I didn’t know where to start. Maybe it was those two heavy grocery bags that I was carrying, but I did nothing. I simply stared at her with angry eyes, and walked to my car. She didn’t even notice me, but her friend did, and moved away.

I wish I took a different decision. I wish I didn’t play the good boy. Since yesterday, I can’t think of anything other than what I should have done. I see myself walking to her, put my bags down, take the phone off her hand and put it in her chest pocket. And then answer her questions and begin my speech.

A pet costs more than the price tag

Sterilization is $60 for a male, $120 for a female. Declawing is $135 for all paws, $70 for just the front paws. But before you get there, you will be charged $25 just for meeting with the vet. They will charge you $70 for the vaccine, and $70 more 10-14 days later for the booster shot. Vaccine is mandatory for the kitten to be allowed in surgery.

Kittens sell for $25, some small puppies for $60 to $80. Pet are inexpensive, aren’t they? But they cost a lot more than the price tag. You will also need some accessories. For cats, you will need a litter box. For dogs, a bed is desirable. I estimate that the cost of setting up a pet – that is, buy accessories and food, have it vaccinated and fixed – is about $400 for a first kitten, and $500 for a first puppy. Afterward, the pet will cost nearly $200 a year in food, a few hundred dollars more in vet visits and several more hundred dollars if the pet gets sick or has an accident.

If you need to consider these costs, you are not ready to adopt an animal. Is the person you are buying this kitten for ready for this?

Furthermore, do not ever get a cat declawed.

A pet as a gift

christmas-puppy-alaskadogworks-comYour 4-year-old niece asked for a puppy for Xmas. How cute! How would you dare turning down her request? As she walks down the stairs on the morning of the 25th, she sees the puppy under the tree, with a red ribbon on the forehead. She will smile, and the day will likely be one she will remember for a long time.

Each year, the majority of pets received as gifts are sent to shelters. Some shelters report nearly 100% rate of return of animals adopted in late December. The vast majority are returned right away in early January, while some are more lucky and lasts a few months.

In most cases, the family was not ready to receive the pet. They may find they don’t have time to take care of the pet. They may find scratches on furniture or chewed shoes. They may find their angry neighbors are eager to find sleep again.

The family may not be prepared to get the new pet. They may not have the equipment required, or even lack the space to accommodate the new family member.

When talked to, the child who asked for the pet may promise to take care of it. Everyday. But children are children, and when the novelty wears out and school returns, the parents will be those taking care of the pet. If they can’t do it, they will get rid of it.

You may be well intentioned, but if you forget to do research, the family may soon find that the kind of pet chosen may not suit their lifestyle. The day you wanted to be remembered may soon become a nightmare.

Family Decision

A pet concerns the entire family. All the family should be involved in the decision of getting one. The whole family should decide together what species and breed they should get, and visit together to pick one.

No family member should be left alone when taking the decision, and all members should be taken into consideration.

The wrong time for adopting a new pet

Holidays are the worst time of the year to adopt a new pet. Being introduced in a new house is already very stressful for a pet. Think of all the guests you are expecting for this big party. Think of all those nights you will spend outside the house at others’ parties. Think of those days that begin late in the morning and finish late in the night.

Your new pet needs a lot of care and love for its first few days. It also needs to be included in the family routine. These cannot be provided during the holidays.

Introducing a new pet to a new house at the wrong time may cause the pet to begin his new life with bad behaviors, which will also cause stress on the family, and most likely end up in the pet being given up.

What you should do

Do not gift a pet for Xmas. A puppy or kitty is not a sweater which can be returned or exchanged if the color or size don’t fit. If you feel the huge to please a loved one with a pet, offer a gift certificate instead, or a pricey pet accessory. If you want to create that magic day that your children will remember, buy a cat tree or a dog bed. When it gets unwrapped, explain that you will visit a shelter together, as a family, to decide on a pet and adopt it in January. That should bring the smiles that you are looking for.

Do not encourage pet stores, which in turn encourages mass production of pets in unhealthy locations. There are shelters everywhere where pets are waiting for adoption. Shelters are already filled up to capacity, and adopting new kittens and puppies produced for monetary profit does only encourage this phenomenon. If you want to offer someone a gift certificate, get one from a shelter that you have visited and trust. Do not blindly buy a gift certificate from a random shelter.

Animals are living things. Do not waste a life for Xmas.


23 comments on “A Puppy for Xmas

  1. Pup the Rabbit
    December 11, 2013

    I 100% agree and know what you are talking about. I have 2 rabbits (I’m an avid bunny lover) and the same thing happens to them around Easter. Parents buy bunnies for their kids to come downstairs to on Easter morning. Soon the novelty wares off. They don’t realize how much work (and money) rabbits require to live a great life. Then they end up dumped off the side of the road or in a shelter. It’s a shame that people don’t do their research before buying an animal.

    • Tom Duhamel
      December 12, 2013

      Exactly. It hurts to see these small rabbits, chicks and ducklings in the display window of these pet stores just before Easter. Really, who buys a chick thinking to keep it once it becomes a full grown hen? People may think of rabbits as easy, caged rodents. Must be painful when they find rabbits are actually quite noisy animals.

      Thanks for passing by and commenting. Really appreciated!

  2. heretherebespiders
    December 11, 2013

    I have one disagreement with your post – over here, we get so much time off for Christmas, we are available to be home with a new pet. Also, we have just a few people over – great for socialisation, especially for a puppy.

    But no- never ever buy a pet as a gift for someone else, unless that pet is already on their wish list. I’m sickened by those statistics.

    • Tom Duhamel
      December 12, 2013

      You are right, it depends a lot of your own situation. I wrote this thinking of the worst case, expecting people to think of it and decide if their own situation was suitable. I know I don’t receive for the holidays, though I will likely sleep a few nights away.

      You know, I was traumatized by these statistics. I decided to research them, and they were worst than I expected. As usual, I made sure to have three independent sources which sounded trusty, and they all had the same troubling numbers.

      Thanks, your input is always welcomed πŸ™‚

      • heretherebespiders
        December 12, 2013

        That said- I rather rushed into getting Neko, as time was short for our window of being home to care for her. I hate to say it…but she isn’t the dog I wanted.

        • Tom Duhamel
          December 12, 2013

          She doesn’t meow! But I know she’s with a good person who takes well care of her πŸ™‚

          • heretherebespiders
            December 12, 2013

            She does not meow! But… Despite the fact she isn’t my favourite dog, or favourite pet – I would never, ever, EVER just give her away. She is ours, and our responsibility, for life.

            • Tom Duhamel
              December 12, 2013

              Thanks, you said what I wanted to hear πŸ™‚

  3. sledpress
    December 11, 2013

    I wish this post would go viral. Sometimes I am almost crushed by the despair I feel over the way people treat animals like THINGS — expendable, disposable things. People don’t even treat things very well — buy it, treat it roughly, throw it out, get a new one. There was a time when people took much better care of what they owned, back before Cheap Crap From China blanketed at least the US I suppose. I don’t know how much that relates to how other people and animals get treated, but maybe a little.

    I read every day about animals horribly neglected and abused, treated as I wouldn’t even treat an inanimate doll — declawed, or tied out, or devocalized, or made to fight… sometimes I just about break down. And I do want to take these people and shake them. That would be the danger for me if I walked over and broke into a conversation like that — I’d be the one who ended up jailed for assault.

    • Tom Duhamel
      December 12, 2013

      I agree with every single word you wrote. Cheap China stuff isn’t unique to the USA, in Canada we have a major chain of dollar stores which relies on this market.

      I’m glad I didn’t do anything. I don’t want to end up in jail πŸ™‚

  4. sarasinart
    December 11, 2013

    Reblogged this on Sarasin's thoughts……. and commented:
    Here is a blog so important that I feel the need to reblog it. This is a great post, Tom.

    • Tom Duhamel
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks for the great honor of being reblogged πŸ™‚

      • sarasinart
        December 12, 2013

        You’re welcome Tom. It was such a great and important blog with so much good info!

  5. Indian Rocks Bridge
    December 11, 2013

    WOW, Well said!!! You could have used some significantly more demonstrative adjectives, but being the exquisite lady that you are, and you are, you didn’t. That’s why we love and respect you so much. But really, think of the big picture of giving a puppy, a kitten, or any dependent living thing as a Christmas present. It’s like giving a bunny rabbit as an Easter present. How many of them do ya think are hopping around by the time the Fourth of July gets here. Irrespective of the time of year, accepting responsibility of any pet ownership is tantamount to Parenting. Period. Not for the squeamish at all. It’s irritating, inconvenient, but most importantly: extremely rewarding. Parent with care.

    • Tom Duhamel
      December 12, 2013

      Confused by the long hair on my picture, or didn’t realize this was a reblog and you were on someone else’s blog? I’m a guy, but I won’t take this as an insult πŸ™‚

      Thanks for passing by and commenting, and I hope you find other posts you like here. Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

      • Indian Rocks Bridge
        December 12, 2013

        Confused?….Didn’t realize???…..EVERY moment of the day. As I stumble thru these here internets, I always forget to leave breadcrumbs so I can find my way back. Sarasinart reblogged your post and I thought I was on her site, my bad. But, your post was powerfully written and deserved reblogging and I thank you for putting it out there. BTW, I’m at least twice your age and my hair is at least twice as long, so I was going thru that “is it a guy or a girl thang” 40 years ago. Remember…..It’s not what’s on the head, it’s what’s in the heart that counts. Keep on bloggin’ bro cuz you, like me, look like ugly girls. Peace out from sunny Florida. -Gregg

        • Tom Duhamel
          December 12, 2013

          Haha Thanks for the laugh πŸ™‚

          So, you are 70 and you need to dry your hair after using the toilet. I hope I will be able to say the same one day!

          I don’t think anyone used these particular words to describe any of my posts before. Thanks for the great compliments, and please feel free to get lost on my blog again.


  6. suth2
    December 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on Gippsland Granny and commented:
    This post struck a chord with me. Taking an animal into your family is a huge decision and certainly one that should be made by the whole family. As this post demonstrates there is so much more than meets the eye when you take on a pet. A pet is not something which should be given as a gift by someone outside the family. What are your thoughts?

    • Tom Duhamel
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks for reblogging. I think this is important stuff which only gains in being shared with the most people πŸ™‚

  7. Cats & Co
    December 17, 2013

    We don’t give human babies as gifts either, right?

    • Tom Duhamel
      December 17, 2013

      Haha! Good point! I had not considered that one!

      So that’s the one I was researching about when I emailed you about the other idea. But I assume you guessed that πŸ™‚

      • Cats & Co
        December 18, 2013

        I did! πŸ™‚ I still have to email you back, but I will soon!

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This entry was posted on December 11, 2013 by in Holidays, Pets and tagged , , , , , , .
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