How to Give a Rescue Animal as a Gift

You know the scene: a kid hanging out downstairs in pajamas with feet. She ran to open her holiday presents and shed tears of joy as she hugged a new puppy rescued from a crowded shelter. The music plays, the heart grows bigger, and faith in humanity is restored.

While it’s a sweet thought, surprising a lover and sentient being together is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Before taking this step, there are a few things to consider.

First is the element of surprise. “The timing can be a surprise, but this animal definitely shouldn’t be a surprise,” said Leslie Granger, president and CEO of Bideawee, a New York shelter and animal welfare organization. The decision should be based on multiple conversations, with everyone involved understanding the long-term implications – including children. Parents may consider assigning responsibilities to their children before the new pet comes home.

Next, you’ll choose whether to adopt from a shelter or from a rescue. Shelters are usually government-funded, tend to be larger and process applications faster. They offer physical locations where you can meet many animals at once. They are full of cute animals all over the country. Rescues are small and funded by donations; they often rely on foster care for animals.

Whichever you choose, here’s a tip: Apply and get approved as an adopter before you find a new family member. Applications and their processing times vary and may include tasks such as proving that your landlord allows pets. Check to see if you can apply online, and if you’re applying in person, make sure you know what to bring.

If you’re worried about the enormous responsibility of choosing someone else’s best friend, Katie Hansen, director of marketing and communications for Animal Care in New York City, recommends wrapping a leash or litter box as a surprise, then bringing the prospective pet owner to the shelter. Julie Castle, chief executive of Best Friends Animal Society, said some shelters were offering gift certificates to cover adoption costs. “You can achieve this in a thoughtful way, not just with animals showing up at your house on Christmas morning,” Castle says.

I adopted my dog ​​Peter in the spring. He didn’t jump out of a box with a red bow on his collar; I didn’t cry in surprise. We came into each other’s lives without any holiday fanfare. But every day, I wake up to his dripping nose and perfect dog breath. I can’t think of a better gift than this.

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