Facing the gift problem

Local | Georgina Noyce 3 Dec 2019

It is a conversation that goes on at this time of year across the world. "Please, please, can I have a dog/cat/rabbit, I promise I'll look after it."

And the more financially stable your country, the more likely you are to have this conversation within your family.

It is one of those strange twists that if your country is poorer, you are more likely to live closer to nature anyway, to live with animals that are your livelihood or live in a way that gives people closer contact with animals, so less likely for children to ask for a pet.

After all, if you spend your free time helping to look after chickens, goats, cows or sheep, you will also have dogs around to help with the gathering or guarding. Cats are a must in rodent control and will actually feed themselves while doing their work, so what is already in your life doesn't become a must-have issue.

However, as any animal charity will tell you, deciding to get a child a pet for Christmas is not the best time to make a life-changing decision.

Life changing for an animal, that is. Because, sadly, the more affluent a society is, the more it becomes a throw-away society.

Advertising brainwashes us into the idea that we must have something, so it is out with the old and in with the new, which is lethal for animals, because you can't slip a dog into a drawer the way you would your old phone, as you coo over the latest technology.

You can't lock your new puppy in the garage the way you can your new car, as you jet off for a holiday.

These days, it is often cheaper to replace something rather than repair it, but your new tech game won't feel any pain as you trash it, or send it for recycling. But if you don't look after your new puppy or kitten, you are abusing a living, thinking being, who has just as much right as you to have the best possible life. After all, we only get one life, at least that we are conscious off.

All is not lost, however, as there are people around who have come up with some really good ideas to answer that age-old question: "Can we have a dog, please, please?"

But that is a conversation for another time.

Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.

gnoyce2009@gmail.com

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