80% of children ask for an animal as a gift

More than 50,000 dogs and cats could reach homes at the hands of Santa Claus 

Christmas parties are synonymous with reunions with family and friends, sharing and also giving gifts. According to data from the Affinity Foundation, more than 50,000 dogs and cats could reach homes at the hands of Santa Claus. Faced with this situation, the Foundation warns that incorporating a pet into the family requires prior reflection and consensus from all its members, a process that is often not taken into account when it comes to a gift.

According to data from the Affinity Foundation, 11% of people claim to have given a pet at some point. «Giving an animal as a gift is part of a good intention, because those who live with a dog or a cat know the benefits of this coexistence and want the person to whom they give it to live that experience as well. However, the gift is often given without thinking about what it implies”, says Isabel Buil, director of the Affinity Foundation. «What is essential is that there is always a prior reflection of the person or family that assumes the responsibility and the commitment to live with the animal. And this is usually incompatible with the fact of giving as a gift, especially when it is usual for it to be a surprise for the person who receives it”, she adds.

Having a dog or a cat is the wish of many boys and girls. In fact, more than 80% of the little ones have ever asked for a pet as a gift in the letter to the Three Kings, to Santa Claus or at some other time of the year. However, giving pets at the same time as toys can send a mix message.«By giving a dog or cat for Christmas, without realizing it, we are treating the animal as if it were an object and we are putting it at the level of a toy, although later we explain very well to the child that the animal is a new member of the family family , we are not really treating it as such,” says the director of the Affinity Foundation.

One of the options in case you decide to incorporate a pet at this time of year, which is a time when the family can have more free time, is to adopt it in a shelter. These entities follow a protocol to ensure that the animal is not treated as a gift and that the people who will live with it fit into basic issues, such as lifestyle, needs, resources, available time or expectations. “We do not agree with the concept of giving away animals. When those who come to the protector tell us that they want to give away an animal, we ask that the person involved come. A living being cannot be given as a gift, we must begin to discard this terminology. We are going to spend many years of life together with the new partner, therefore, it must be a decision based on planning, not on surprise».

The perfect match

In recent weeks, said protector has detected not only a slight increase in the number of calls from those interested in adoption, but also a change in the applicant’s profile. According to González, the calls received now are from people who see adoption as a gift, while the rest of the year are usually families who want to adopt to incorporate a new member into the family nucleus.

The main reasons for not giving away a dog or a cat at Christmas is that it means cosifying them. Doing it also at Christmas or Three Kings, at the same time that toys are given away, sends a contradictory message to children to whom we tell that animals are not toys.On the other hand, what happens is that the reflection necessary to welcome an animal, in this case, is not being done by the person who receives it. That is, who should be responsible for the dog or cat, and that carries risks. From the outset, the bond with the dog or cat may be less solid when it is a gift than when it is a personal and thoughtful decision.

Also, the whole family must agree. A dog or a cat is one more member of the family and, therefore, the decision must be consensual. This requires talking about it, discussing it, distributing responsibilities and assuming the commitment among all .

In conclusion, it is much better to look for it together. Carrying out the process of finding the animal that fits with us as a family can be more rewarding and full of learning than a single day surprise, since the perfect “match” is the key to success.