via The New York Daily News: (excellent headline!)
When it comes to Valentine's Day, some suitors proffer pets as tokens of their love. Unfortunately, pet-gifting is not always the way to a woman's heart.
"It happens every year," says Mike Rubin, store manager at Puppy Paradise in Marine Park, Brooklyn. "One gentleman last year got a very nice little puppy and the girl freaked out. They were not that close to each other. He was trying to get, how do I say this, an extra score, and she was not into the whole thing."
When the jilted suitor brought the rejected pup back to Puppy Paradise, a sympathetic employee took it in.
At Groom-O-Rama in the West Village, groomer Sal Peretz says he typically gets a last-minute influx of customers - always men - looking to surprise their special someones with a furry Valentine's Day gift.
Peretz finds out about the failures when put-upon girlfriends drop the unwanted pets off at an animal shelter. The shelters trace the pets back to Groom-O-Rama via tracking microchips, which Peretz places on some of his animals.
"We get a lot of animals at different intervals after certain holidays, and Valentine's Day is a big one," says Sandra DeFeo, co-executive director at the Humane Society of New York. "Sometimes it's right away. They'll say, 'I can't take the responsibility.' A lot of times it's a large-breed dog that starts as a small puppy, but when the dog is bigger it requires a lot of exercise and attention that the person can't give the animal."
For some, a pet can be the worst possible gift. The recipient might have allergies or live in an apartment where pets are banned. In the downtrodden economy, some people simply can't afford to raise an animal. On average, cat- and dog-owners spend $700-$875 in food and vet visits per year, according to the ASPCA.
"I think giving a pet as a gift can be irresponsible," says Giancarlo Rachiele, 45, of the Bronx. "My son's girlfriend gave him a 'dwarf' rabbit as a gift two years ago. The rabbit grew and grew to the size of a small dog."
Rachiele and his wife ponied up $100 for a large cage and became the primary caretakers. Tired of the mess their unwanted pet created, they found a new home for the bunny on Craigslist. By then, the girlfriend had long been out of the picture.
Gifted pets don't always end up as disaster stories. John Carmenatty, 33, scoured the pet section of Craigslist for two months before finding a gray, moon-faced furball to surprise his girlfriend of 16 years, Sandra Vasquez, with an early Valentine's Day gift.
"Roses don't last, chocolates get eaten in one day, but the kitten's gonna be around until it runs away or, God forbid, dies," says Carmenatty, a carpenter from East New York, Brooklyn.
Some pet experts say that being a present is an ideal fate for a pet - as long as the gift has been carefully considered.
"There's a lot of mythology around pets as gifts, and it comes up most around Christmas or whenever there's a gift-giving occasion," says Gail Buchwald, senior vice president at the ASPCA. "I would say that when pets are given as gifts, they stand a greater likelihood of staying in a home because they're attached to sentimental value. If someone gives you a beautiful gift, you're less apt to return it."
She stresses, however, that pets are not for everyone. In order to avoid frivolous adoptions, the ASPCA, as well as many other animal shelters, requires that all owners be present during the adoption process.
In lieu of giving an actual pet, animal shelters often recommend buying a gift certificate so that loved ones can choose their own companion.
"It's not something you can return or give back to the person after a breakup," says Rubin. "It's almost like an engagement ring."
xoxo (Please, dogs bought in puppy stores come from pully mills. There are no exceptions to this practice. They are terrible places and we need to stop supporting them.)