The best home for a pet is a home for life.
If, after giving much thought to these questions, you still think a pet would make a good fit, consider doing some research to find out which animal might make the best pet for that person.
Also, consider waiting until after the holiday rush so that you can take the person with you to pick out the pet. Your recipient will get the pet he or she wants, and the animal will go home to a much more welcome and calm environment. We recommend you look for your dog or cat at a shelter such as Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem (www.northeastanimalshelter.org) or PALS (www.palsanimallifesavers.com). Nevins Farm in Methuen is an MSPCA shelter where many rabbits, guinea pigs, cockatiels and other exotic pets may be adopted.
A listing of all the animal shelters in Massachusetts can be found at www.secondchanceanimals.org/localshelters.htm.
If you search online, make sure you are dealing with a rescue organization and not a puppy mill posing as a rescue organization or a breeder. A reputable rescue organization will have dogs or cats homed temporarily in foster homes in the Massachusetts area after being rescued. You should be able to speak to someone who can give you the medical history and background of the pet and how it was rescued.
Always talk with your veterinarian if you have any questions about getting a pet for someone you know as a holiday gift. If you don’t have a veterinarian currently, schedule a consult appointment with one and spend some time talking about your future adoption or purchase. All veterinarians support humane treatment of animals and will welcome your questions.
Dr. Elizabeth Bradt is a 1986 graduate of Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is the owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem (www.creaturehealth.com). She is a member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists. Email your pet questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please title your email “Vet Connection.”