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Pets for Presents, Presents for Pets

All living creatures have their place on the planet. Human society has evolved complex relationships with many other species and for thousands of years people and animals have lived together in various states of harmony. There is evidence of cave dwelling humans keeping dogs as pets or hunting companions almost 10,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians loved their cats so much that they were embalmed, mummified and buried with their owners. Horses were tamed almost 5000 years ago and have been an indispensable part of our world until the car became common about 100 years ago.

When life was short and brutal for humans our animal companions would have shared the same fate. However now that living standards are much improved we are expecting similar consideration for our pets. This makes the decision on having or giving away a living creature both a practical and an ethical dilemma.

Practical considerations:

Animals, like humans, all need feeding, housing, physical space to roam around, mental stimulation, and health care. We could add companionship and social interaction to the list as well for many animals such as dogs, cats, horses and birds. If we are choosing a pet as a gift for someone we need to know that they will be willing and able to provide a reasonable standard of care in all these aspects. Even if your loved one is of considerable material means they may be time poor or like to travel. This will leave their pet neglected and alone. Fine for a goldfish perhaps, but cruel to an animal like a dog or parrot.

Ethical considerations:

This is an intensely personal area and this genie is not brave enough to lay down a set of rules for everyone to abide by. Choosing and keeping a pet is an emotional decision which can lead to both enormous rewards and enormous burdens.

  • Responsibility: If we are choosing a pet for our own companionship we are free to assume the responsibility of looking after another living creature. Should we just assume that someone else shares our commitment and surprise them with a pet as a gift? Or should we only give a pet that they have genuinely asked for and have the capability to care for?
  • Emotional commitment One of the traps that I have seen well meaning folk fall into time and time again is that of buying a new pet for someone whose pet has just died. A person's relationship with their pet is often a huge part of their emotional wellbeing, and when their pet dies they will grieve. Only they know if and when they can form another emotional attachment to a pet.
  • Environmental issues: We are all becoming more aware that we need to conserve the precious resources of the planet. Many animals are natural born hunters and have kept this quality through thousands of years of domestication. Cats and dogs are capable of killing wild life and other pets both in urban areas and in the country. Other animals such as rabbits, goldfish (carp), and cats have escaped into the wild and wrecked havoc on native species. Poachers steal endangered animals from the wild to sell for profit in urban areas. All issues that we need to weigh up when considering a pet as a present.

Gift Ideas for Pets:

Presents for Fish
Presents for Birds
Presents for Cats
Presents for Dogs
Presents for Ponies and Horses
Presents for Mice, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Rabbits and Ferrets



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