One of the most famous lines about pet ownership comes from the charity Dogs Trust and is one nearly every child has been told whenever they ask for a pet.

The important message of how a dog is not just a commitment for Christmas but a commitment for life was initially said by Clarissa Baldwin OBE in 1978 on behalf of the charity then known as the National Canine Defence League to emphasise that a pet should not be seen as a gift to be forgotten about by January but as a family member.

A pet owner needs to take care of them every day, make sure they are fed well, take them to a vet to ensure they are vaccinated, do not have long-term health issues, update microchip information so they can be easily returned if they ever get lost and so many other important milestones and steps.

The short answer to the initial question is no. The long answer is that a pet can be a wonderful life-affirming addition to a family, but it should not be seen as a gift and almost certainly should not be done at Christmas.

Christmas, despite being one of the most common times for new pet ownership, is ironically the absolute worst time to get a pet. With so many new faces, extra potential hazards and decorations that would not ordinarily be in the house, it can create a wildly overstimulating environment that can make it harder for new pets to acclimatise themselves.

As well as this, a pet is not a gift, in the sense that pets are not an object or piece of property that a person can own, but a member of the family that is loved and cherished throughout their life, and in return provides a lifetime of love, affection and incredible memories.

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