Do NOT Give Animals as Gifts!

Most of the people reading this blog are smart enough to *not* do this, but they might want to pass the word onto the less informed:

Many people think it is so cute to give a child a baby bunny or chick or duckling on Easter, thinking it will be something like this:



When often, it ends up like this:

bored-child-22795096 Jack_exasperated

Well, last night. I saw this:

screaming-womanBlond Boy Crying

My neighbor knocked on my door shaking because the baby bunny her BF got her daughter had escaped from the huge wire dog crate he had put it in (ProTip: Rabbits are very flexible. If it can get his/her head through an opening, they can get the rest of their body through it) and was “terrorizing” them around the house.

Like baby bunnies that you can fit in the palm of your hand do.

The infant (she was like 18 months to two years old) was screaming and crying. The mother was freaking out and wouldn’t go near it because it reminded her too much of a “rat.” And the kit (baby bunnies are called “kittens” or “kits”) was of course terrified and traumatized.

I lent them a cat carrier that he could not get out of, gave him some water, lettuce and a couple pieces of carrot, and told her to tell her BF to take the bunny back from wherever he got it from. If he did not, call the shelter. When I told her how long rabbits lived, her eyes got wide. Yes, it’s an 8-10 year commitment.

DO NOT GIVE ANIMALS AS GIFTS TO UNSUSPECTING PEOPLE. If you must consider an animal as a gift, go with that person to pick one out that they actually want.


6 thoughts on “Do NOT Give Animals as Gifts!

  1. When the hell will people learn that animals are not toys?!? Btw, when I saw that pic I got a terrible shock and just want to say NEVER, EVER GIVE BABY HUMANS AS GIFTS!

    • “When the hell will people learn that animals are not toys?!? ”

      I don’t know.

      I’m preaching to the coveted here, I know you know most of this, but I’m just putting it out there for others.

      One of my first jobs out of high school was working in a pet shop, and of course every Easter they would stock up on chicks and ducklings and baby rabbits and and I would just dread what the final fate of 90% of those animals would be. I would either try to quietly dissuade customers or stay out of it. I think a lot of pet stores have gotten away from that now. I know I have not ever seen it at Pet Smart.

      When I moved to a pet shop that sold dogs (this was back in the 1990’s before I knew how evil the puppy mill industry is) I talked people out of buying puppies as gifts for those who were not looking for a pet. One couple came in and said their friends’ dog had recently died and they thought it would cheer them up to have another puppy in the house.

      Oh, no. As you know, it’s not like they are replacement parts on a car. Each dog or cat is an individual and the grief of loosing that unique family member is not something that can be immediately cured with a replacement pet. They have to get over their grief and find another unique individual that suits their family. (One friend I had swore “never again” and it took her eight years to get to the point where she could give her heart to another dog.)

      The shop owner was so pissed when I talked them out of it.

      And then you go through the “fads”. Every time there is a “101 Dalmatians” movie, animal shelters, dog and Dalmatian rescue groups cringe and batten down the hatches. Oh, the puppies are a adorable, but they grow into 50-70 lb balls of extremely high energy. They were bred as “carriage dogs”, to run along side horses. That is the exercise level they need. If they do not get the exercise they require, they get destructive. Like tear-your-couch-apart destructive.

      Hence one of their nicknames: “Damnations.”

      And once the cute wears off and the first couch cushion ends up scattered all over the floor, out the adolescent dog goes, confused, not understanding why its family has abandoned him/her.

      And then the demand, which creates the need for breeders and puppy mills to pump out large numbers of a breed can be a problem. That almost destroyed the American Cocker Spaniel after Lady and the Tramp. Breeders were trying to meet demand (particularly for buff-coloured ones, like Lady was) so they were inbreeding their dogs to the extent that what was a intelligent sporting breed became a high-strung nipper with the brains of a cabbage (particularly the buff-coloured ones). The breed is finally recovering and becoming a real dog again.

      As you said so aptly, they are not toys. If someone is seriously looking for a pet, their friends should take them somewhere (shelter, breeder, etc.) they can choose one they want and the gift giver can pay for it and then the required trip to the pet store for supplies. If they have not mentioned seriously thinking about a pet, give them a stuffed animal.

      Which reminds of another time I was working in a pet store. I had a woman come in who wanted a dog that did not need exercise, shed hair or make noise.

      I told her there was a Hallmark store down the street. (With stuffed animals.)

  2. Hallmark store! LMAO! Thankfully in Australia it’s getting increasingly rare to find a pet store that sells puppies or kittens. Part of that is the excellent job animal rights organisation have done in educating the public about puppy mills. The main reason they don’t sell kittens is that by law all kittens have to be sold desexed and vaccinated. Shops used to be full of kittens that they’d sell for the equivalent of a kid’s weekly allowance. Shops would get them for free from people who just wanted to offload the litter so they could afford to sell for a pittance. Now they need to charge at least $120 to cover vet costs so it’s not worth it. People who want kittens go to shelters or their local vets. It’s no longer an impulse buy.

    • That’s great. Several states here have outlawed to retail sale of dogs and cats too, as well as started to crack down on puppy mills. It’s a good start. 🙂

      • The whole puppy farming thing is a disgrace, a dreadful reflection on the silly anthropomorphism that permeates the modern western psyche, I blame Disney myself. Actually I blame Disney for quite a lot…

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