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Pets for Christmas not a good idea?

2011 December 1
by Andy Carter

Don’t fry a turkey indoors. Don’t give your child a BB gun (say it with me, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid”). And if you are thinking about giving someone a pet for Christmas, well…not such a hot idea according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. You can read their press release for yourself in our database of Georgia Government Publications.

Many and varied are the helpful tips put out by departments within Georgia’s government. This one in particular caught my eye as the holidays approach. It reads, at first, like a bucket of cold water thrown on the fiery hopes of children everywhere. And it is dispassionate in its assessment of pets as gifts–mildly alarmist even. “Returning home to find a new pet sick or in need of medical care is not the Christmas memory you’ll want to carry through the years.” No, indeed not.

That said, it is full of practical considerations that would benefit a considered holiday purchase. Does the person receiving this gift actually want a pet (what type of surprise would an iguana for your Grandma elicit?).  Will their interest in the pet outlast their interest in the Xbox? And remember, “A dog or cat is not like a sweater that you can return or stick in the back of the closet.”

So this holiday season, before you promise little Johnny a Rottweiler, take a minute to think it through with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

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