Posts Tagged ‘gift ideas’

What to get the dog or cat who has everything

In this season of holiday giving, most everyone is sure to remember family members when making a shopping list for presents. And since most of our households include companion animals, who we consider family members in the fullest sense of the term, it has become commonplace to buy holiday gifts for dogs and cats. What should you get them?

People with pets probably know exactly what their animals would like in terms of a present. Most animals are extremely good at conveying this sort of information to anyone who is paying even a little bit of attention.  So you already know what your dog’s favorite treats are and what toys your cat would appreciate most of all.  But I’d like to make a suggestion.

In my estimation, the one thing that every cat or dog wants more than any other gift, the one thing that they can never seem to get enough of, the one thing for which there is absolutely no substitute is your time.

Our attention is, to our pets, the most valuable gift of all.  Perhaps you can give them a bit more of that over the holidays and into the year to come. Take an extra walk with your dog, spend a few minutes tossing a toy for your cat.  The gratitude you’ll receive will be nearly amazing. 

All of our animals, whether recently acquired or lifelong friends, whether young and rambunctious or old and sedate, will relish a few more moments of our time and attention above anything else we might give them. That’s what makes them family.

Happy holidays to you and your families from your friends at the Washington Animal Rescue League!

A New Home for the Holidays?

With the winter holidays rapidly descending upon us, we are suddenly reminded at every turn of the need to be buying presents.  Our radios, our televisions, our computers are all full of offers to sell us virtually anything that could even vaguely be considered a present. These days, you can buy seemingly everything and anything for your loved ones. Except, that is, for a pet.

 The sight of a new kitten or puppy under the decorated tree, sporting a festive holiday ribbon around his or her neck, is a bit of Americana that has gone the way of the Yule log. It’s not done any more.  At least not in the same way.

Animal shelters, like the one where I work, are largely to blame for this. For decades we were held captive by a Grinch-like paranoia that convinced us that holiday shoppers, running amok in a materialistic frenzy fueled by seasonal excesses, were in no state of mind to make rational choices about the kind of animal companion they should get. And what’s worse, they might not even be buying the animal for themselves: the kitten or puppy could end up under a tree in someone else’s house. And that someone might actually have no more interest in a pet than in the yearly fruitcake from Aunt Myrna.

So shelters across the land used to close their doors to adopters in December and leave them closed until after the holidays had passed and people regained their sanity.

That’s no longer true. The fact is, we now realize, that the holiday season may be the perfect time to introduce a new dog or cat to a household. People have time off from work and school, the family spends time together, and the busy-ness of life as we generally know it subsides just a bit. Provided that your holiday plans don’t include out-of-town travels or an influx of relatives with severe allergies, the final weeks of the year could be an ideal time to help transition animal to new home and vice versa.

We still don’t condone animals as surprise gifts, of course. The choice of a new family member—and that is just what a companion animal is—is a weighty matter. You’re not always given the luxury of choosing family members, but when you are, it’s probably wise to take full advantage of the opportunity to do so carefully.

So no surprises. And yes, that means no kitten or puppy under the tree. But as an alternative, lots of people these days wrap a box containing food bowl, collar, leash, and harness (or cat toys, brush, and scratching post) and leave that under the tree with a card promising a trip to the local shelter where a host of homeless animals of all ages, sizes, and personalities are waiting to meet their future families.

That seems to work well for all parties, and each year we find early January adoptions booming as people cash in their “adoption gift certificates.” It’s a growing tradition that we heartily approve of, as do the dozens of dogs and cats who walk out of our doors with proud new families this time of year.