Hot new toys come and go, but the gift most often requested by children hasn't changed in decades.
It's not a doll, a bicycle or an air rifle. It's a pet -- most often a dog, cat, puppy or kitten.
Fortunately the Payson Humane Society stands ready to help you pick out the perfect pet. But the society also wants to make sure you know what you're getting into.
The holidays can be hectic, and if you don't have the time and patience during this busy season, a wise alternative is a Payson Humane Society gift certificate. Then you can bring your child in after the holidays and make an adventure out of picking out the new family pet.
"Although we do have puppies available for adoption at the present time, we are aware of a litter of puppies that will be available sometime in January," Manager Ann Campbell said. "We really recommend to parents and grandparents that they buy a gift certificate if they are considering giving a puppy."
The humane society is selling gift certificates, good for a dog or cat, for just $30 this holiday season. That's 50 percent off the normal fee of $60 for an animal and includes spaying or neutering.
The Arizona Humane Society also discourages giving an animal as a gift during the holidays.
"A few days or months after the holidays have passed, many unwanted ‘gift' pets show up at our shelter," Duane Adams, AHS vice president of operations and animal services, said. "What was once a cuddly little puppy has now grown into a big, rambunctious dog and the owner doesn't have time for him."
Additional factors that should be weighed when considering a live pet as a Christmas gift for a child:
- If you aren't the parent, make sure you ask the parent first.
- If you are renting, make sure your landlord allows pets.
- Don't get caught up in fad animals like Dalmatians that might not make ideal pets.
- Taking care of a new puppy is a lot of work and children need to learn responsibility.
- Dogs and cats are better to adopt than puppies and kittens, because they often have some training.
The AHS offers the following gift-giving ideas:
- Purchase a gift certificate and nestle it in a pet bed filled with toys and goodies.
- Give your child a stuffed dog or cat and let them know they will be making a trip to the shelter after the holidays.
- Wrap a book featuring various dog or cat breeds and give the recipient time to research potential pets.
The humane society is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Beginning in January, the shelter will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and will be closed on Tuesday.
For more information, call (928) 474-5590.