Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
The element of surprise is an important part of giving a Christmas gift, but if your child has a pet on his or her list, local experts say you may want to check it twice.
Pets are not only a huge responsibility but they also require a lot of time and attention, according to Oxford veterinary technician Anne Perkins.
Perkins, who works at Animal Care Center, said children and their parents need to bond with the pet right away and that can be difficult with the chaos on Christmas Day.
“In my opinion, it’s too busy of a time; it’s too much commotion; you don’t have that one-on-one that a pet needs right then. They’ve got to make that connection right then. With so much stuff, there’s toys, there’s wrapping paper, there’s other siblings running around, so I just don’t think it’s good,” said Perkins.
Oxford Humane Society Director Sarah Layton has been with the organization for three and a half years. She said they do not allow pets to be adopted as Christmas gifts.
According to Layton, many people end up surrendering animals to shelters that they received as unwanted gifts.
“People surrender animals for all sorts of reasons; some people do not fully understand the added financial or time commitments prior to adopting, etc.,” said Layton.
When it comes to assuming full responsibility of a pet, Layton and Perkins both agreed that a child is not ready for the job.
“When they are completely out of school and have a full time career they are ready for a pet, and I say this because I have a 20-year-old daughter in college with a part time job and there is no way she could assume a responsibility like that because she doesn’t make enough money. I won’t allow her to buy a pet,” said Perkins.
At the Oxford Humane Society, anyone who is not 21 or older is required to give his or her parents’ numbers on the application. After looking over an application, the Humane Society calls the parents to get their permission before allowing a pet adoption.
Responsibilities of a pet include feeding it properly, taking it to the vet for necessary treatments and giving it proper exercise. Pets require a lot of time and attention.
Before putting a puppy or any other pet under the Christmas tree, do some research and really consider if your family is ready or not.