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Living With Animals: Pets for the Holidays

Last week’s column urged against giving parrots as holiday gifts, and that led to a long conversation with friend Marge. Based on that, I suspect I need to make my points again. First, parrots (even those bred in captivity) have a hard time transitioning from wild bird to caged bird. What they need and what we humans typically provide can be but most often is not a great match. Second, while I wholeheartedly endorse adding animals to our lives, it is a commitment which we all know is best made after only careful consideration. Website as well as old school print ads promoting the gifting of parrots and other animals for the holidays are bad ideas. That’s not to say, however, that adding a furry, finned or even feathered member to our families is always a no-go around the holidays. It really depends on how you spend those days.

Mr. and Ms. WooHoo and little Wanda WooHoo live a frenzied pace starting mid-December, racing from one holiday party to another when not climbing ladders to add yet another ornament to the lighted rooftop display already giving headaches to extra-terrestrials. Meanwhile, their neighbor Donald Doilies is decorating every horizontal surface in his house with fragile Christmas tchotchkes. Chaos and crashing are what a new pet can anticipate with the WooHoos and Donald, and I don’t recommend it. If new pets are in these families’ future, then this is the time of year for books, bowls, collars, leashes, and the animal comes once the season slows. Syd Still, on the other hand, thinks of the holidays as a time to reflect, to enjoy a quiet meal with good friends, to snuggle up on the couch watching A Miracle on 34th Street. Syd is more than welcome to come down to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA Center for Compassion (1450 Rollins Road in Burlingame) to adopt a pet who, I’m sure, would love to be in his home for the holidays.

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