Present Pets

As soon as our eyes locked, I knew he was the one.  His body was tan with a white stripe running down to his snout.  And his tail curled into a tiny “q.”

My husband thought I was crazy.  But, despite his protesting, I filled out the adoption paperwork.  After all, this dog wasn’t going to be mine.

I was purchasing this gorgeous puppy for my mother.  She just recently lost her Chihuahua due to a careless veterinarian.  And she had been broken hearted ever since Theo (our first Chihuahua) came to live with me and Matt after we got married.

Mom did adopt an adorable mutt, but, her heart was always longing for another Chi.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this little guy was perfect for her.  I couldn’t wait to get home and surprise her.

As soon as we got home, I called her over.  When she was seated on the couch, I presented her with the little puppy.  Mom thought we adopted it for ourselves.  Her eyes lit up when I told her the dog was for her.

My dad on the other hand….he blew a fuse.  And told me point blank that the dog was not staying with them and needed to be taken back.  I was devastated.  I couldn’t understand what went wrong.

Looking back, I know that the main problem was that I chose to think with my heart and not my head.  And I believe that many people that try to gift pets are doing the same.  Adopting a pet is a big decision.  One that should not be made for you.

Here are some things that I had not considered:

  1. This dog will need to be neutered.  Do mom and dad have an extra $100 for this procedure?


      2. This dog will need yearly check-ups.  Again, could funding be an issue?


      3. How will Declan (mom and dad’s first dog) react to the puppy?


      4. Adding a second dog will increase the pet food bill.


       5. Do mom and dad have time for another dog?


        6. Do mom and dad both want another dog?


Luckily, mom convinced dad to keep the puppy now known as Tito.  And dad adores him.  He even gives Tito his empty yogurt cup every morning.

But, not all pups are this fortunate.  Many dogs that are gifted without the potential owner’s consent are taken to the nearest humane society where they are typically euthanized within the week.  No animal deserves this.

I understand how our country has come to think of gifting pets as a good idea.  There are tons of movies and television shows that involve a child receiving a puppy for Christmas.  Who doesn’t want to see their child’s face light up with excitement and joy?  But, what happens when the dog isn’t a puppy anymore?

Not everyone that adopts a pet keeps him/her forever.  Some only want to keep a pet until it is no longer a puppy or kitten.  While others simply become tired of caring for the animal and seek to rid themselves of the “burden” as quickly as possible.  This is how many animals end up on Craig’s List or dumped alongside of a road.

There are other sticky situations to think about as well.  What if you gift a pet to your significant other…and you break up?  Who gets the animal?  This was the case with Trooper.  He was just a puppy when the owner and his wife got a divorce.  The soon-to-be-ex-wife then enlisted the help of her son to tie the puppy to the back of her ex-husband’s pick-up truck. 

Poor little Trooper was dragged down the Interstate in Missouri for over a mile, unbeknownst to the driver.  Thankfully, the staff at the Missouri Humane Society and their partnering vet were able to save his life.  After being rehabilitated, Trooper found a loving forever home.

Sadly, there are quite a few mentally deranged people out in the world that would think nothing of harming an animal like this.  All the more reason to fight the urge to gift a pet.

Additionally, choosing a pet is a very personal decision.  Not everyone’s version of a Chihuahua is the same.  While my mom was delighted with my choice, others may not have been.

While I believe that most people who want to gift a pet have the best of intentions, I feel that this practice should no longer be an option on adoption applications.  It tends to leave the door open for trouble.  If you would like to adopt a pet for a loved one, include them in the process.  Your significant other and pet will thank you for it!



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