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Hey Mom and Dad: Is a Pet an Appropriate Holiday Gift for a Child?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

Welcome to Hey Mom and Dad—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week, we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area.

It's a rite of passage for nearly every child: Begging your parents for that first cat, dog or guinea pig as a Holiday present. The debate on our local Facebook pages took many different turns this week, and we want to hear from you, too.

Do you think a new pet is an appropriate gift for your kids? If so, what age is the right age to even consider this new responsibility?

Leave your opinion in the comments below and check out what some of our Facebook friends had to say:

Jan Rollins: when the are responsible enough to walk it, feed it & potty train — Darien Patch Facebook

Kathleen Bowler Kadolph: after they move out. — Darien Patch Facebook

Jennifer Adelman-Mccarthy: Shelters are filled with unwanted puppies come January. If your entire family wants a pet great! Wonderful wait until January and Adopt. We've had our dog since before we had kids so they are being raised learning to help care for him and how to treat animals. Dogs are a 15 yr commitment. Before you fall for that puppy make sure you are ready to take care of them for the next 15+ yrs. — Woodridge Patch Facebook

Linda Dirks Twomey: What age should children get their first pet? you ask. I say 35. Why? Because by then they have a house of their own to mess up......lol. — Woodridge Patch Facebook

Don Oconnell: Never!!!! Only get a puppy if as adults you are fully prepared to take 100% care of this soon to be past cute puppy and all the work that comes with it... animals deserve FOREVER HOMES equally as humans!!! — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Karen Pulido Salvino: A dog usually ends up being the adults' responsibility. At 10 years old, my son was responsible enough for his bearded dragon. At 8 years year old, my other son got a frog but forgets about them once in a while. My 6 year old usually remembers to feed her fish. It all depends on the kid, how much maintenance is the pet, how interested they are in the pet and how responsible they are. — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Brian Bury: Dogs are not gifts they are pets I would never get a child a pet as a gift. I have rescued all my dogs from shelters 3 of them were owner give aways because the kids lost intrest in the dogs. You see a rise in dogs in shelters around july every year. If there was a movie with a certain dogs in it then about a year later you see that breed alot more in the shelter. People need to wake up and realize dogs are not gifts they are a 10 to 15 year commitment. — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Lorna Shaw: Can we also remind the many considering a dog/puppy of how many are looking for furever homes within our pounds/rescues etc. all depends on the child, some can be ready earlier than others might be. — La Grange Patch Facebook

Jennifer Paul: Kittens are a good first pet...we just adopted some awesome kittens from CatNap in LaGrange. They also foster out, what a great learning tool for kids and a great way to find the perfect pet. We fostered some cool rats from there too. — La Grange Patch Facebook

Chris Hale: When they consistently can keep their room clean. — Western Springs Patch Facebook

Anapat December 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I think a pet is a great gift if the entire family has a real desire to have one, but it should be a gift to the family....if an animal is brought into a home the whole family should take responsibility for its love and care...never use a pet as a way to teach a child responsibility they will eventually resent it. It worked out great for my sister 2 years ago their dog "jingle" is adorable!
La Grange Park Cat Clinic December 11, 2012 at 11:43 PM
The entire family needs to be on board with adopting a pet. If it is for a child, do not, let me repeat - do not get one for a child younger than ten as a rule. Special cases of very mature, responsible children exist. Most children are not grown up enough until that age and some never are. If you get one, adopt from a shelter after the holidays so that the pet is not stressed out by the new home and activity. To give on Christmas; give a gift certificate that isw specially made by the giver for the pet of the recipient's choice.
Darren McRoy December 12, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Wisdom from someone who knows pets well!

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