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Pets as Presents: Good Intentions Meets Bad Idea

NAPPS Urges Gift-Givers to Avoid the Common Mistake of the ‘Pet Present’

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of finding that perfect gift to give each person on your shopping list. At the same time, it’s important to take an extra minute to evaluate those great gift ideas and decide whether or not your good intentions might actually be a bad idea.

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals, is spreading awareness about the dangers of giving pets as gifts this holiday season, and is urging gift-givers to consider an alternative to the popular puppy (and kitty) present.

“The gesture of giving an animal as a gift is romanticized over and over again in films and on television,” said Sherry L. Suhosky, president of NAPPS. “The person giving the pet as a present thinks it’s the ultimate gift, but it’s usually an impulse purchase. It’s very unfortunate, but most pets that are “gifts” become neglected, unwanted and abandoned.”

If you are thinking of giving a pet present this holiday season, NAPPS urges you to consider the following and share these tips with others:

The Potential Pet Parent:

  • Would a pet fit into this person’s daily routine and lifestyle?
  • Is this person able to afford the expenses associated with having a pet?

Typically, these are questions that a potential pet parent should be reflecting on, regarding their own lifestyle, rather than someone else making the decision on their behalf. Becoming a pet parent is not a decision that should be taken lightly and it’s important to allow someone the opportunity to determine for themselves whether or not they are prepared for a pet.

The Distracted Child:

  • Is your child ready to take on the responsibilities of caring for a pet?
  • Are you—the adult—prepared to take on the responsibilities of caring for a pet?

While the idea of a cuddly kitten or playful puppy under the Christmas tree paints a memorable picture, the reality is—Christmas morning will eventually be over. Giving a pet as a gift can send the wrong message that an animal is considered an equal when compared to a new doll or video game. It’s common for children to play with their new toys and display excitement, before eventually moving on to the next remote-controlled car or action figure. By giving a pet as a gift, you may be sending the wrong message that pets are disposable and easily replaced.

The Nervous New Guy:

The holiday season can become overwhelming and exhausting—the added decorations, entertaining and out-of-town guests can certainly impact you and your family’s daily routine. If a furry friend is in your future, consider waiting until the holiday hysteria has passed before welcoming Fido or Fluffy into their new home. In order to properly introduce a pet to a new environment, it’s important to create a calm and comforting space, where the animal feels safe and protected. 

“Rather than giving a pet as a present this holiday season, consider alternative gifts and ideas that still speak to the hearts of pet lovers,” added Suhosky. “The NAPPS Pet Parent Membership is an affordable gift that offers education, resources and great benefits to the pet lovers on your shopping list.”

Earlier this year, NAPPS launched the one-of-a-kind membership, designed specifically for pet lovers. As the first organization in the pet sitting industry to embrace pet parents and welcome them into their association, NAPPS has created affordable membership commitments to fit the pet parents’ needs:

  • Basic Membership ($25.00) 
  • Gift Membership ($10.00) – Current NAPPS Members are able to give memberships as gifts to clients, friends, family, etc. 

Exclusive benefits for NAPPS Pet Parent Members include:

  • Access to online library of informative articles for caring for a wide range of animals from dogs and cats to birds, reptiles, hamsters and guinea pigs
  • Access to FREE quarterly Pet Parent Teleconference with special guest speakers to discuss informative pet-related topics
  • Copy of quarterly E-Newsletter, coupons, discounts and more

“The Pet Parent membership is perfect for anyone wishing to enhance or enrich their pet care knowledge on a wide variety of topics—from animal behavior, nutrition and exercise to disaster preparedness and emergency planning.” said Suhosky.

If you are considering a pet pal for your family, NAPPS urges you to wait until after the holidays to make your decision; take the necessary steps to prepare your children (and yourself) for the additional responsibilities that come with being a pet parent. While having a pet can mean having a cute and cuddly couch companion, it’s important to keep in mind that a pet relies on its human companion for proper care, shelter and safety.

About NAPPS: NAPPS is the only national nonprofit trade association dedicated to serving the needs of professional pet sitters. The Association aims to help the pet owning public, those interested in pet sitting, and professionals engaged in the in-home pet care industry by fulfilling its vision statement, serving as "the most respected authority in professional pet sitting." It does so by providing the tools and support to foster the success of its members. NAPPS recently launched a membership designed with the pet parent in mind—the NAPPS Pet Parent Membership is the ultimate resource for pet lovers; offering guides, education opportunities, networking and exclusive discounts and deals to help pet parents care for their animal companions.

To find a pet sitter in your area, check out NAPPS' nationwide "Pet Sitter Locator" at www.petsitters.org. For more information on NAPPS, please follow @TheNAPPS on Twitter or join us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNAPPS.


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