It’s that time of the year again. The Christmas lists are being written, stuffed into envelopes and mailed to Santa. Parents glance over the lists before mailing them to 1 Reindeer Lane, The North Pole. The children gleam in excitement as they await their new kitty, a puppy or a horse!
Santa Clause holds your child on his lap and looks at you anxiously as he reads this amazing list. He looks for a sign on whether or not the live animal entering your home is the best idea! You shake your head NO profusely, praying Santa understands or give the wink of approval for the beloved new animal!
Many of us explain to our children why Santa can’t bring these animals. Excuses range from Santa can’t fit it on his slay, elves can’t make actual animals, we live in an apartment, horses can’t live in an apartment, cats aren’t allowed in our complex, dogs need to be walked and we are rarely here and many other reasonable reasons why another living creature can’t come into our home.
The other half of us decide that we,indeed, can bring a new animal into the home and that Christmas is the best time to do it! We decide that wrapping an animal in a box would be so exciting! Our children will laugh and “oh the joy” that our child will have when they hug that puppy or kitten!
The big day comes and they open their new box that is meowing. (The kitten in the box is loosing its mind at this point and we are about to unleash it onto our children.) Out pops the cat! It runs as fast as it can searching for the best hiding spot. It stays under the couch until the chaos slows down. Your dog, that you previously owned, is giving it a heart attack as it smells under the couch for 2 long hours! Everyone is screaming to see the kitten and your holiday just became stressful!
Obviously this is not how we would want our Christmas animal to be introduced into our world! So how do we introduce a new animal into the home on a holiday?
- Introduce old animals to your new animal prior to the big day: Picking up the new Christmas Pet on Christmas Eve isn’t the best decision. Bring the animal in the house or a friends house prior and introduce it to any other animals that live in the home. Introducing them sooner will allow them to become friends, they’ll grow bored with each other and you won’t worry on the big day!
- Review animal rules with your children: Explain to your children weeks prior how to hold an animal. How we feed them everyday just like they are children. Discuss how we buy them treats and gifts and show them love. If they are too young to understand this, then they are too young to have the pet be “theirs.” Remember different pets are better for different age groups!
- Explain to the kids that animals are hard work: Remember that your new puppy will have accidents, on the floor, in the middle of your holiday party. Kittens will try to climb your Christmas tree and into every box that is open. They will disappear and eat your favorite shoes and your mail. Shake your head and remember: These are just animals and it is a part of their charm. The excuse “the puppy ate my homework'” will work at least once!
- Schedule your Veterinarian appointment: New animals risk having many complications such as fleas, ear mites, worms, and other undetectable issues. Routine checkups will keep your pet, other pets in the home, and your family safe. Often times the veterinarian will give you free samples and advice on being a new pet owner. Have the children come to each appointment. It’s a checkup just they have to go to!
- Love,love,love your new animals: Enjoy the moment with your new animal and laugh with your children. You are in charge of how these animals are treated. Love them even if they are being a slight pain! They are small and harmless. They will thrive and bring enjoyment to your family for years to come once you train them.
Happy Holidays to you and your new Pet. Enjoy their love and snuggles now because soon they will be adults!