The one gift with a ‘no return’ policy

However, what many people do not realise, or fail to remember, is that the perfect gift might not actually be perfect in the long run.

Every year this newspaper publishes the same plea from animal shelters across Joburg. A dog or cat is a long-term commitment, and should not be given to a child, friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife lightly. A pet should not simply be returned to the shelter when the recipient of the ‘gift’ gets bored with the animal or it gets too big.

My sister recently adopted a sweet little puppy from the SPCA. When I heard about the story of how the puppy landed up at the animal welfare organisation, rage and anger filled me. A woman did not know that her dog was not spayed and so you can imagine her surprise when she found out it was pregnant.

After a couple of months her dog gave birth to a litter of puppies. The woman decided that not only did she not want the puppies, she no longer wanted mom and dad – and so off to the SPCA she went.

While the puppies have some hope of being adopted because they are cute, this woman was practically signing the older dogs’ death warrant. Not to say that older dogs are not cute – I am one of those people that believes anything with fluff is cute, no matter what age, size or breed – but the sad fact is, when most people decide on a pet they want a little puppy or kitten.

If I can make one request this Christmas, it would be to please think before buying a pet as a Christmas gift. I am all for adopting pets, but think about it before you do something you know you will regret in the long run.

A pet has a ‘no return’ policy, and needs your constant and devoted attention. If you are not sure, rather think of fostering a pet over the holidays and into the new year.

Megan McLean
Group Editor

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