Pets can be an exciting addition to the family, but it's important that the entire household is involved in the decision. 
Giving a pet as a surprise gift is strongly discouraged.
"Pet ownership is a longterm commitment," said Jamey Blair, manager of Animal Health & Protection at the Edmonton Humane Society.
Even small animals can live for a very long time and may need special care. Rabbits, for example, can live as long as 15 years.

The adoption process at the Humane Society serves to ensure that potential owners are ready for the commitment.

"If you're considering giving a pet as a gift, but aren't sure whether the person receiving that gift would be ready for the commitment, the Humane Society offers gift cards," Blair said.
Some pets given as gifts do end up in the Humane Society.
"Pets as gifts can be a well thought out decision, as long as it has been discussed with everyone and everyone is on the same page."
Picking out and bringing home a new pet should be a fun and positive experience for all involved. 


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