Well it’s that time of the year again. It comes around quickly doesn’t it!

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a marked increase in the number of enquiries from the public looking for kittens, puppies, small dogs and rabbits. Most have been quite open that they are looking for these as surprise presents. As such they do not want the person, for whom the pet is for, to know anything about it! Clearly this is so disappointing as every year the mantra  ‘A pet is for life, not  just for Christmas’ is widely extolled, and for good reason. We, just like all responsible rescue centres, would never allow an animal to be re-homed without those involved in it’s welfare coming to see it first. We need to see that there is good interaction and understanding of the responsibilities involved. Indeed, with our dogs, prospective adopters are required to visit on a number of occasions and agree to a home check also.

Taking on a pet is an important responsibility and one that, with a cat for example, could last for the next 20 years. Careful consideration of all that this entails is crucial to making the right decision. To think that they are suitable as surprise presents goes against everything that makes sense to us. If however you are thinking of buying a pet for your children, this Christmas, please bear in mind that the day to day care will probably end up falling to you since most kid’s understanding of responsibility isn’t fully formed. In addition the initial excitement may soon fade and you could be saddled with a pet that you have to look after in every respect.

There is no doubt that Christmas brings with it a lot of joy and happiness but it also heralds many challenges for our pets in general. Lots of noise and excitement; lots of visitors coming and going; lots of people who perhaps have had a wee bit too much to drink and simply a major change to the normal household regime all add up to a potentially stressful time for our pets. This can be difficult enough for animals that are already well settled into the family unit; to bring a new pet into this environment isn’t necessarily in it’s best interests.

As with any time of the year the most important issue, from our point of view, is that all the factors and responsibilities involved in owning the proposed pet have been fully thought through.  If they have and they can be met then go for it…..and enjoy!