If you need a last-minute gift idea, this one’s kind of wild

This is the time of year when you might be looking for that last-minute holiday gift idea, or tax-deductible charitable donation — or even both.

And while some animal organizations might ask you to think long and hard before you give an animal as a Christmas present, the Christian humanitarian aid group World Vision offers a different approach.



World Vision, which has an office in D.C. and works in about 100 countries around the world, has animals for sale online — but you won’t have to worry about the mess they’d make in your house or yard.

“These animals will be sent to a family either in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, wherever they’re needed most,” said Brian Duss, a humanitarian aid worker with World Vision.

All kinds of animals are for sale, from ducks and chickens to goats and cows — even alpacas and llamas.

<p>World Vision, which has an office in D.C. and works in about 100 countries around the world, lets you buy ducks, goats, cows and alpacas for people in the developing world — gifts that help lift the recipients out of poverty.</p>
World Vision, which has an office in D.C. and works in about 100 countries around the world, lets you buy ducks, goats, cows and alpacas for people in the developing world — gifts that help lift the recipients out of poverty. (WTOP/John Domen)
<p>Alpacas are &#8220;miracles with fur,&#8221; World Vision says, providing about 20 pounds of lightweight wool each year.</p>
Alpacas are “miracles with fur,” World Vision says, providing about 20 pounds of lightweight wool each year. (WTOP/John Domen)
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<p>World Vision, which has an office in D.C. and works in about 100 countries around the world, lets you buy ducks, goats, cows and alpacas for people in the developing world — gifts that help lift the recipients out of poverty.</p>
<p>Alpacas are &#8220;miracles with fur,&#8221; World Vision says, providing about 20 pounds of lightweight wool each year.</p>

Ducks “have protein-rich eggs and in places like Southeast Asia, where there’s flooding, when the water comes, chickens don’t do so well in the water,” said Duss. “But ducks, they just float up and when the floodwaters subside they just get down on the ground and keep on waddling.”

Alpacas are a great gift, Duss said, because they provide about 20 pounds of lightweight wool each year and can live to be 25.

“You can make sweaters and clothes for your kids. (If) you have excess, you can sell that and then the family has money for things they need, like maybe school fees or medical supplies.”

Duss added: “When you give an animal like this to a family in need, they can lift themselves out of poverty; they just need a little bit of help. This season is all about giving back.”

The animals are what he calls “miracles with fur.” And when those animals have their own babies, they’re then passed on to other families. “The amazing gift continues over and over again,” said Duss.

There are also programs and donations you can make that have an impact, both in the U.S. as well as around he world. Because World Vision is a nonprofit, “any of your donations are actually tax-deductible,” said Duss.

It might be the one time that impulse buying a goat or alpaca now won’t have any disastrous consequences for you later on.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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