Saturday, December 20, 2014

PHOENIX -- A whopping 94 percent of pet owners buy gifts for their pets, and more than three-quarters (78 percent) include their beloved pet(s) in their holiday cards or photos, according to a survey by the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA).

AAWL & SPCA, Arizona's oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter, recently polled its adopters and supporters to find out how they celebrate the holiday season with their pets. The findings show that the majority of animal lovers include their pets in every aspect of the holiday.

Seventy percent of respondents said they buy and wrap a holiday gift for their pet(s), with the majority being toys, treats, chews, a new bed or new feeding bowls. Other findings include:

  • 73 percent have a Christmas stocking for their pet.
  • 54 percent let their pets open their own gifts.
  • 51 percent share their holiday dinner with their pets.

Only 43 percent of pet owners will dress their pet up for the holidays, which is probably a relief to some pets.

Among survey respondents, 58 percent have dogs, 15 percent have cats and 27 percent have both cats and dogs. Many have multiple pets: One pet - 28 percent; two pets - 34 percent; three pets - 18 percent; four pets - 7 percent; five or more - 13 percent.

When asked if they have ever given or received a pet as a gift at the holidays, only 11 percent responded affirmatively. The comments revealed that most of these were given to, or by, a close family member. All of them reported that the gifted pet became a beloved member of the family. One person reported that they gave a "gift certificate" for their loved one to go to the shelter to select a pet after the holidays.

"Our views on giving pets as gifts have changed over the years. If the gift is being given to a close family member (such as a child or a parent), we are all for it," says Judith Gardner, president and CEO of AAWL & SPCA.

Ms. Gardner says that pre-adoption counseling is important to be sure the pet and adopter are a good match. The no-kill shelter can also provide a gift certificate, which can be redeemed for an appropriate pet after the holidays.

Sale of Pet Items by Shelter Helps save More Animals

AAWL & SPCA also offers holiday gifts for cats, dogs, puppies and kittens at "BeBe's Boutique," in its main adoption center at 40th Street and Washington and at its PetMatch Adoption Center in Chandler Fashion Center. Every purchase made at those locations helps save the life of a homeless animal.

Ms. Gardner says this is an important time of year for the nonprofit organization, and that AAWL & SPCA hopes to raise at least $50,000 this month to help it continue to save homeless pets.

For more information about AAWL & SPCA or to donate, go to or call (602) 273-6852.

The mission of the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA is to end the unnecessary euthanasia of dogs and cats in our community. Founded in 1971, AAWL & SPCA operates the state’s oldest and largest no-kill shelter.

The nonprofit organization also provides adoption, resource and education programs that improve the quality of life for dogs and cats, and offers support for pet guardians. AAWL & SPCA found homes for more than 4,000 dogs and cats last year, including dozens of animals rescued from puppy mills. No federal or state funding is received and all revenue is from private donations and fundraising efforts.

To find out more, go to or call 602-273-6852.

Original Article