kids

The big problem with giving pets as gifts.

I don’t see my god-daughter as often as I’d like. She’s the sweetest funniest girl and I wish we lived closer. Luckily for her I am plagued with guilt over how infrequently I see her (and over a few forgotten birthdays). The reason that god-mother guilt is lucky for her is because when I saw her recently I tried to make up for it by giving her an extra special gift PLUS a few bills in the envelope.

We then started talking about Christmas and she showed me a list she’d been working on. Gotta love her organisational skills. I wrote my name down next to one of the entries. Most of them were things I’d heard of before except for one item that said:

Bichon Frise

Clearly there was a new toy or toiletries range or stationary range or even clothing or shoe range I’d never heard of before. I asked her about it and she laughed when I suggested it might be a clothing range or a brand of fancy ice-creams.

With one last shake of her lovely head she grabbed my phone and typed it in. Then she showed me this.

Oh my gosh I want one! Image: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/bichonfrise/

It turns out that Bichon Frise is a French breed of dog descended from both the spaniel and the poodle. Bichon Frise is French for "curly lap dog" and like all poodles these dogs don't shed, require constant combing and live for 12-13 years of adorableness.

After the words, "I want one", landed in my brain my next thought was, "How much would she love me if I bought her one?!?"

Closely followed by, "Her parents would kill me if I bought it for her."

And then, "You can't afford to buy her a dog, idiot, back to the original item you marked off on the list."

Best compliation of puppies being given as gifts ever courtesy of YouTube channel About Everything. Article continues after this video.

Video by About Everything

Plus, is it even a good idea to give a dog as a gift?

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Stefania Kubowicz, Media Liason for RSPCA NSW says, "Don't do it." She says pets being surrendered after the holidays isn't as big a problem as people think, with pets more likely to be dropped at the RSPCA before the holidays because people are going away or pets have escaped during fireworks displays.

"In terms of giving pets as gifts, we generally try and recommend to actually have them really involved in the process and to pick the animal so they're really happy and understand all the responsibilities that come with that pet, and to meet that pet, and check that there's a connection, which is all part of our process."

Kubowicz also recommends involving existing pets in the process. "We always recommend if you have other pets to make sure that everybody is introduced, all the family members are introduced, everyone gets to sort of suss each other out and make sure there's not going to be any disagreements of personality once everybody goes home."

An RSPCA spokesperson says when considering giving a pet as a gift it's best to involve the recipient in the process. Image: iStock

Choosing a pet from a rescue centre is a great first step and Kubowicz says they do have pure breeds come through the doors so check with them first, then contact a breeder.

"If you do want to go through a breeder go out and meet the parents of the puppy, you see where that puppy was raised..."

At this stage I commented that it sounds like a lot of work, too much work to consider giving a puppy as a surprise gift to anyone.

"It is a lot of work," Kubowicz confirms. "I think that in general it sort of prepares you. Having a pet is going to be a lot of work so it pays to really do your research." She also suggests letting the parents of any child you are considering buy a pet for be informed, as they are the ones who will most likely be left caring for that pet.

To find out more about choosing a pet contact your local RSPCA.

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