Monday, November 3, 2008

So You Want To Give A Pet As A Gift For The Holidays You Should Read This First

Think Twice Before Giving Pets as Gifts This Holiday

American Humane Suggests Leaving Furry Friends Off of the Holiday List

DENVER, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- There is nothing cuter than a cuddly
puppy or kitten under the tree on Christmas morning, perhaps with a holiday
bow attached to its collar. And while that scenario makes a great holiday
card illustration, the American Humane Association cautions that the days
that follow can often result in a lonely pet facing an uncertain future at
the local animal shelter.

"There are millions of animals at local shelters that need homes.
However, giving a pet as a surprise gift is never a good idea, especially
during the holidays," says Marie Belew Wheatley, American Humane president
and CEO. "The holidays are stressful for everyone, including animals. By
surprising people with a pet, you are assuming they have the financial,
emotional and time resources necessary to care for an animal, as well as
the desire to care for a living being for the long term."

Before you pick out the perfect furry friend for a child, grandchild,
niece or nephew -- or anyone -- consider the following:

It's Personal

-- Choosing a pet is a very personal decision. It should not be made by
anyone other than those who will take care of the pet.

Not Much Different Than a Baby

-- Pets, especially young pets, require time, energy and money for
proper care. It can be overwhelming to a family, especially when it is a

All Are Not Created Equal

-- Before purchasing or adopting a dog or cat, take time to educate
yourself on different breeds, how to give an animal a safe and satisfying
home and the long-term commitment of owning a pet. The best pet for the
family is a decision only the family can make.

Pets Are Members of the Family, Too

-- Because many dogs and cats can live 15 years or more, the pet
becomes a part of the family. It is important to ensure that everyone in
the house can and is willing to provide a healthy environment for the pet.

The Holidays Aren't a Vacation for New Pets

-- Pets are not toys. Children can confuse proper treatment of an
animal with the excitement of new toys around the holiday. Pets need a
calm, safe place where they can feel comfortable and begin to acclimate to
their new surroundings. A less-hectic time of year is probably a wiser
choice to bring a pet in to into the home.

Time Is of the Essence When Training a New Pet

-- Since the holidays often come with travel and irregular schedules,
families may miss out on the best opportunity to train a young pet.
Shelters often consider poorly trained or poorly socialized animals not
adoptable, resulting in euthanasia. In most cases, this could be avoided
with more time training.

Owning a Pet Is Life Changing

-- When a pet does not work out for a family, it becomes someone else's
problem, usually the local animal shelter. In the months following the
holiday season, shelters see a sharp spike in animal surrender.

Overall, pets are a fun gift for humans but likely not for the animal.
Rather than a living "gift," consider books or videos about potential pets,
or pet supplies like toys. Should you decide that a pet is a good decision
for the family before the holiday season, check with the local shelter to
see if it will issue an "IOU". That way, the family can make the best
decision about the breed, age and size of the pet during a less stressful
and frantic time of year.

About American Humane

Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the only national
organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a
network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, American
Humane develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to
protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The
nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises
awareness about The Link(R) between violence to people and violence to
animals, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond.
American Humane's regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind
the "No Animals Were Harmed"(R) end-credit disclaimer on film and TV
productions, and American Humane's office in Washington, D.C., is an
advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels.
The American Humane Certified(TM) farm animal program is the nation's
original independent certification and labeling program for humanely raised
food. American Humane meets the strong, comprehensive standards of the
Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (does this need a
trademark?), has been awarded the Independent Charities of America's "Best
in America" Seal of Approval, and has met the stringent standards for
financial efficiency and accountability required by the American Institute
of Philanthropy to qualify as a Top-Rated Charity. Visit to learn more.

Mandy Melby
Carmichael Lynch Spong
(720) 946-6326

Kelley Weir
American Humane Association
(303) 925-9418

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