Looking for that perfect last-minute present for the animal-lover on your holiday gift list? Needless to say, actual animals are never wise gift ideas. Companion animals are a lifetime commitment that shouldn't ever be acquired on a whim or for someone else. But there is a myriad of "adoption" programs that offer a perfect way of both acknowledging your loved one's fondness for animals and supporting just about any animal imaginable. (And, all organizations listed here are 501(c)(3) nonprofits, so your gift is even tax-exempt.)
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which has been providing a home for rescued livestock since 2004, offers a sponsorship opportunity in which the gifter's credit card is charged monthly over the course of a year. The recipient receives a personalized photo card of the selected animal, including "a description of that animal's rescue story and personality," plus an optional personalized note from the gift-giver. The recipient may also visit their animal any time of year at the organization's facility in the Catskills region of New York Catskills. Prices range from $10/month for a chicken or rabbit to $50/month for a cow.
A true way to pardon a turkey this holiday season is to "adopt" one of the turkeys living at the Farm Sanctuary shelter for farm animals, either in Watkins Glen, New York, or Orland, California. A one-time $25 adoption fee earns your gift recipient an Adopt-A-Turkey certificate with a color photo and details about their feathered friend; a one-year Farm Sanctuary membership and a subscription to Sanc the organization's quarterly newsletter. Adopt a turkey online or by phone at 1-888-SPONSOR.
Best Friends Animal Society
This Utah shelter has gotten a lot of attention since the premiere of the series DogTown on the National Geographic channel, and also as the rehab center for 22 of the rescued pit bulls from NBA quarterback Michael Vick's dog-fighting operation. But this sprawling oasis has, for 25 years, been quietly rehabilitating for adoption--or providing a permanent home--for those critters considered the hardest-luck cases: abused, abandoned and special-needs animals who are considered unadoptable in shelters due to age, behavioral troubles or medical needs. Nearly 2,000 animals from around the country live at...