Opinion

SOUNDOFF: What gifts not to give this Christmas

By Laurie Cecil

The holiday season has arrived. People may think that a puppy, kitten would make a great gift. Here are three good reasons to wait until after the holiday season is over:

1. The noise and busy atmosphere of the holidays may frighten the puppy at a time in its life when it may be least able to deal with the stress. Baby animals go through a natural fear imprint stage, which occurs between 7 and 12 weeks of age, the time when a puppy is handed over to new owners. During an animal’s fear imprint stage, an animal can encounter something, almost anything that frightens it, and can remain fearful of these same things during its entire life.

2. When you wait before getting your animal, you avoid the new toy syndrome: to be played with and then ignored when the excitement of being new is lost. Saving the thrill of a new animal until after the holidays means that the whole family will be involved in the responsibility a new animal brings.

3. Successful house training needs a regular schedule. Most of us cannot provide this needed routine during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Don’t forget that you’ll probably have guests coming in and out and you won’t want to clean up the little messes that come with having a new animal around.

If you do want to give an animal as a gift, here are some suggestions:

1. Wrap up a photo of the new puppy or kitten. The breeder or humane society will be happy to let you take a picture and to hold onto your new animal until after the holidays. This way you will have time to set up the necessary items to make your new family member comfortable in its new home. This will also show that you are a responsible animal owner and that you don't want to subject your new animal to any unnecessary stress.

2. Make up a special animal package (all items size-appropriate to the animal in mind) of items that can include:

l Kennel

l Cage

l Food and water dishes

l Leash and collar

l Grooming tools

l Treats

l Toys

l Bedding

l Gift certificates for pet supplies, grooming, veterinary care or training

For everyone who shares their lives with an animal, take some time to spend some quiet moments this season with those animals in your life. Many times people get caught up in all of the activities that go on during the holiday season and forget about their animals. People stress over things that should be fun to do during the holiday season. Enjoy the season for what it is and what it means to you. Share that joy with your animals by spending some quiet time with them.

Holiday activities can be really stressful for animals. Animals don't understand everything that's going on. Please make sure that your animals are safe and comfortable during holiday activities. This may mean that you will need to set up a dog kennel or room just for them. Make sure that your animal has its own bed, food and water dishes and favorite toys to keep it occupied during your holiday festivities. Giving your animal its own safe place will also prevent it from running out the door when holiday guests come in and out of your house.

If you are trying to think of a good gift idea, you can make a donation to WAIF or any of the local animal shelters or rescue groups. Sharing with those in need will give you that special Warm and Fuzzy feeling. What better way to share the holiday spirit!

Wishing everyone a safe, happy, healthy and warm and fuzzy holiday season!

Laurie Cecil is the owner of Laurie's Warm Fuzzies Professional Animal Grooming on Whidbey Island. Go to www.whidbey.net

/laurieswarmfuzzies

1. The noise and busy atmosphere of the holidays may frighten the puppy at a time in its life when it may be least able to deal with the stress. Baby animals go through a natural fear imprint stage, which occurs between 7 and 12 weeks of age, the time when a puppy is handed over to new owners. During an animal’s fear imprint stage, an animal can encounter something, almost anything that frightens it, and can remain fearful of these same things during its entire life.

2. When you wait before getting your animal, you avoid the new toy syndrome: to be played with and then ignored when the excitement of being new is lost. Saving the thrill of a new animal until after the holidays means that the whole family will be involved in the responsibility a new animal brings.

3. Successful house training needs a regular schedule. Most of us cannot provide this needed routine during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Don’t forget that you’ll probably have guests coming in and out and you won’t want to clean up the little messes that come with having a new animal around.

If you do want to give an animal as a gift, here are some suggestions:

1. Wrap up a photo of the new puppy or kitten. The breeder or humane society will be happy to let you take a picture and to hold onto your new animal until after the holidays. This way you will have time to set up the necessary items to make your new family member comfortable in its new home. This will also show that you are a responsible animal owner and that you don't want to subject your new animal to any unnecessary stress.

2. Make up a special animal package (all items size-appropriate to the animal in mind) of items that can include:

l Kennel

l Cage

l Food and water dishes

l Leash and collar

l Grooming tools

l Treats

l Toys

l Bedding

l Gift certificates for pet supplies, grooming, veterinary care or training

For everyone who shares their lives with an animal, take some time to spend some quiet moments this season with those animals in your life. Many times people get caught up in all of the activities that go on during the holiday season and forget about their animals. People stress over things that should be fun to do during the holiday season. Enjoy the season for what it is and what it means to you. Share that joy with your animals by spending some quiet time with them.

Holiday activities can be really stressful for animals. Animals don't understand everything that's going on. Please make sure that your animals are safe and comfortable during holiday activities. This may mean that you will need to set up a dog kennel or room just for them. Make sure that your animal has its own bed, food and water dishes and favorite toys to keep it occupied during your holiday festivities. Giving your animal its own safe place will also prevent it from running out the door when holiday guests come in and out of your house.

If you are trying to think of a good gift idea, you can make a donation to WAIF or any of the local animal shelters or rescue groups. Sharing with those in need will give you that special Warm and Fuzzy feeling. What better way to share the holiday spirit!

Wishing everyone a safe, happy, healthy and warm and fuzzy holiday season!

Laurie Cecil is the owner of Laurie's Warm Fuzzies Professional Animal Grooming on Whidbey Island. Go to www.whidbey.net

/laurieswarmfuzzies

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