They say it is better to give than to receive. This year, if you make the right gift choices, both you and your recipient can feel good about it! So let your holiday spending be a statement of compassion towards everyone who shares the planet with us. Here are some animal friendly gift giving ideas:
Make a statement about animal welfare: Although PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) may have some controversial ways of getting their message out to the masses, they definitely make a statement. Their clothing line helps spread messages of treating animals humanely. Buy it here.
Bring attention to adoption: The Rescued Me collar and leash collection comes from The Today Show’s Jill Rappaport, an advocate for animals. This unique collection is designed to bring attention to rescue and adoption, bearing catchy slogans like “I’m a Heart Melter from a Shelter” and “Opt to Adopt.” Buy it here.
Adopt an endangered animal: This is one of my favorite gifts to give to children. The Defenders of Wildlife organization has 30 endangered animals you can choose from, whether you adopt a single animal or an entire family. Adoptions are a wonderful way to protect endangered wild animals and share the importance of conservation. With the adoption, you receive a cuddly plush animal, activity booklet, personalized certificate of adoption, 5x7 photo, animal fact sheet, and eco-friendly reusable tote. Named “America’s Best Wildlife Charity” by Reader’s Digest, Defenders of Wildlife has been a leading innovator in developing the most effective ways to conserve imperiled wildlife and wilderness for over 65 years. Adopt here.
Give a lonely dog a toy: If you donate $12 to PETA, they will give a lonesome dog a toy. PETA caseworkers see companion dogs who are forced to sit outside all day long. With your donation, PETA will give a durable toy, which will offer some joy to these lonely dogs. Send the toy here.
Give a “Kind News” animal magazine subscription to a child or a classroom: Keep the kindness coming year-round with a gift subscription to Kind News, the Humane Society of the United States magazine for children in grades K-6. This eight-page magazine is filled with profiles of amazing kids, features about rescued animals, pet care tips, and how-tos on helping backyard wildlife. A home subscription is only $8 per year and includes one copy of each issue of Kind News, delivered to a child’s home bimonthly throughout the year. A classroom subscription, a great gift idea for teachers, is $30 per year and includes 28 copies of each issue plus a teacher’s guide, delivered to schools five times throughout the school year. Subscribe here.
Give to charities in lieu of gifts: Instead of giving physical gifts this holiday season, why not donate to a local charity in honor of your recipient. Most charities will mail your gift recipient a notification upon request. You can also avoid traffic and long lines as most of these charities allow for online donations. Here are some animal charities in Santa Barbara to choose from:
Make sure those stocking stuffers haven’t been tested on animals: Before you buy lotions, perfumes, and other items to stuff in those stockings, look for the “leaping bunny” logo on products to ensure that what you are buying has not been tested on animals. Here’s a list.
It’s okay to give animals as gifts: Yes, you read that right. Many animal shelters do still have policies that state that pets should not be adopted as gifts based on the longstanding belief that animals who weren’t specifically chosen by their new owners may be considered less valuable.
However, a 2013 study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that there is no correlation between getting an animal as a gift and an owner’s love and attachment to the pet – even if that pet was a surprise gift – and there was no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as gifts. According to the ASPCA, “These are exciting findings that may help open new adoption options for shelters, allowing more animals to be placed in loving homes.”
The ASPCA recommends the giving of pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and who have the ability to care for it responsibly. If you aren’t sure if your recipient is ready for a pet, place a stuffed animal in a box filled with needed pet supplies – food, leashes, toys, etc. Then you can suggest a trip to the Humane Society to adopt a pet if your recipient is ready.
By thinking of others during this holiday shopping season, you will not only save lives, but you will also share the gift of compassion with those you care about!