We are a pet shop and we sell pets. We also care about their welfare, so what is our pet shop Gloucester stance on selling pets around Christmas time?
Should you buy pets for Christmas presents? On the face of it this is a no brainer. Pets are for life – not just for Christmas is a phrase that is parroted everywhere and in principal seems obvious. However the phrase is misused these days. What is meant by it is that the pet shouldn’t be bought as you would buy say, the latest trendy toy.
A child see’s a toy that comes on the market and remarks to his/her parent that that’s the one for them, they will be sooo good if only they could have one for Christmas. By the time they open the gift on Christmas morning the fascination has already gone, their friends have moved onto another model, they use it for a couple of days and you hardly ever see it again until you find it amongst all the other rubbish under the bed. If this is your reason for buying a pet at Christmas (or at any other time of year for that matter) just don’t. The amount of times I have had parents and kids in the shop and mum has left convinced that little johnny would do all the housework for the next twenty years if only he can have a rat/rabbit/snake/spider, he’s never wanted anything so much in his life. When we say we’ll see you next week and they return and when shown his favourite ever animal, little johnny says “Yeah great, can I have a look at…” whatever has now caught his fancy; mum realises her lucky escape. At Christmas parents are just as convinced that because they have been in the shop and their child has expressed the same level of interest, on Christmas morning they will still be as interested. Pets should not be bought at Christmas for these superficial reasons.
However a pet, the housing and all the correct equipment can be expensive. If a child and parent come in repeatedly throughout the year and the child (and the same is true for us big kids too) has retained their interest all year but the parent cannot afford to buy it now, in the middle of summer and then get something else at Christmas there is nothing wrong with delaying the purchase until then.
The important thing about buying a pet is what is informing the decision, not what time of year it is. Pets should never be purchased on a whim. So buying a pet for someone because you can’t think of anything else, because someone mentioned they “like” rabbits, because you are “sure” they will like it, is definitely wrong. You can put the jumper someone bought you in a drawer and forget it, you can’t do that with a pet. The person you bought it for is going to have to clean it, feed it, provide it with exercise, enrichment etc. Are you sure they will want or be able to in a few months (or years, or decades!). That should really be their decision, made in the cold light of day with all the information in front of them, not forced on them on Christmas morning. Also children (and a lot of adults I meet) are fickle. You have to be absolutely sure that they will fulfil their commitment and responsibility to the animal. This is best ascertained over a period of time, with repeated visits.
So the basic message is don’t buy a “surprise” present of an animal on a whim at any time of year. The chances of it being not wanted are too high. If you are convinced your recipient really wants a pet and has shown consistently they have the ability and the will to look after it properly over a period of time, you have done you research and know what you and/or they are taking on then don’t let others make you feel guitly about combining a purchase they really want with Christmas. It should really be “A pet is for life – not just for any particular day of the year”
Let us help you make that informed decision by informing you of everything you need to know about your chosen pet BEFORE you buy it. Pop in and see us in our pet shop Gloucester anytime to ask us anything you need to know.
The Angell Pets Team