Picture this: it's your friend's birthday and you've known him to be fond of animals his whole life. So on D-day, you decide to gift him a “pet” puppy and think he will be overjoyed. This is a wrong move for many reasons. Firstly, taking on the responsibility of caring for an animal is a big decision and should be made only by the family that is going to keep the pet for the next two decades. No third person should assume that the family is ready for this. Secondly, if these animals are from a shelter, they are sent back when the recipient feels he's no longer fond of his ‘gift' or didn't want one in the first place. The hapless puppy soon finds itself back in a crowded shelter after getting attached to his new family, causing trauma and anxiety. Worse yet, the recipients might feel that they will be judged harshly by the giver for returning the puppy to the shelter and may just drop them off in a strange area, where it will die of starvation. Pedigree pups that are returned to breeders might not be welcome there either.

Thirdly, birds as gifts are a bad idea as they perpetuate extreme cruelty. Every bird bought in the market encourages trappers to kill mother birds and steal babies from the nests for sale. Imprisoning birds is no way to celebrate a joyful occasion especially since it spells doom to birds in the wild as well. Lastly, it's best to avoid objectifying animals by giving them as presents. If your friend is absolutely sure that he wants a companion animal, go with him to your local animal shelter and adopt a domestic animal (no birds, turtles etc). Celebrate by getting a new family member but only after careful consideration.