Animals are not gifts: why I will never give a puppy as a present for Christmas
End of year celebrations are a joyful period for most, but they can be particularly stressful and tragic for dogs and cats that are given as "gifts". If the recipients do not want or are not ready care for an animal, they get rid of them soon after the holidays.
Close to 100,000 animals are abandoned each year in France and the month of January is especially dark for already bursting animal sanctuaries faced with a new deluge of sweet four-legged beings who have been rejected. Those who aren’t lucky enough to find a new home languish in cages. Many are euthanized when there is not enough room nor resources to care for them.
This is an issue that particularly affects me, having visited many animal shelters myself, and met some of my closest four-legged companions there.
Adopting an animal is pure joy
Having done it numerous times in my life, I know how enriching it is to rescue an animal in need and to develop a close bond with them, which only grows stronger over time.
A rescued animal will be eternally grateful to you for giving them a second chance.
Today, I share my life with my loving dog Zeus, who lives with me in France. We are inseparable and he brings me love and happiness on a daily basis. But I can’t help but well up when I think of all the animals who are just as affectionate, loving and endearing as Zeus, yet are put down or, even worse, condemned to a life behind bars, deprived of the loving family they deserve.
Please never buy animals from pet shops or breeders – who profit from "producing" sentient beings as though they were goods to sell. Each time someone buys an animal from these places, a perfectly adoptable shelter dog loses his chance at being taken in by a loving family.
They are sensitive beings, not gifts
Who has never received an ugly sweater or a useless gadget for Christmas? While one can easily exchange, give away or even store and forget an inanimate object, getting rid of an unwanted animal is another matter. In addition to contributing to the overpopulation crisis plaguing animal shelters, it is an incredibly traumatic experience for these sensitive individuals.
Welcoming an animal into your family means committing to taking care of them for the long run - about 15 years on average for a dog. This is not a decision that can be taken lightly, let alone one that can be made for someone else!
A far better alternative to make your loved ones happy
If you are certain that person in question wants to welcome a furry new member into their family and that they are ready to take on all the responsibilities that come with, why not gift them an "adoption coupon"? You would therefore cover the adoption costs, and the recipients of the gift coupon can visit their local shelter – after the hectic holiday season – to meet their ideal companion and experience that wonderful spark of love-at-first-sight I felt when meeting all the wonderful rescued animals I’ve been lucky enough to share my life with.