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  • Kadiri Praveen Kumar

Why Pets Can Make Good Gifts, According to Animal Adoption Experts

(PICARD, 2019)

We've all heard the advice: Never, ever give pets as gifts. But what if that conventional thinking is misplaced? That's what some animal adoption experts want to change.

"When people think about pets as gifts, they’re thinking about the worst case scenario — that [the recipients] have no interest in getting a pet," says Christa Chadwick, CAWA Vice President of Shelter Services for the ASPCA. "We think it’s perfectly cool and okay to give pets as gifts as long as you have an understanding that the person you’re giving the pet to has an interest in owning one."

The nonprofit's philosophy stems from a 2013 study it conducted and published in Animals, an international peer-reviewed open access journal.After polling 222 people who had received pets as gifts, the authors found no significant relationship between receiving a dog or cat as a gift and the attachment the pet owners felt for their animals. Not only were 86% of the pets still in the home, but a majority of respondents said that receiving a pet as a gift had increased their self-perceived love for that animal.

It's okay to give pets as gifts as long as the person has an interest in owning one.

Rather than supporting a blanket ban on the practice, the ASPCA now officially recommends "giving of pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly," emphasizing that the animals should ideally come from responsible animal shelters, rescue organizations, or other trusted sources.


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