The holiday season brings special consideration for those who are thinking about adding a new pet to the family. This is a decision you must make with your heart and your head.
While the holidays usually mean the highest adoption rates at shelters, by January, many of those pets are returning as reality sets in. Be sure this is what you want to do and plan to make more than one visit to the shelter as there are new dogs, cats, bunnies, sometimes even guinea pigs, coming in all the time. Be honest when you talk to shelter or rescue adoption counselors so they can help you find the best “fit.”
Remember, the animals in shelters and rescues are safe and warm. For those who have spent weeks or months on their own as strays, it is a comfort to get regular meals and to have someone speak kindly to them rather than shooing them away. As for puppies and kittens, as long as they have another puppy or kitten to play with, they can make any day a holiday.
There are no warranties on pets. But there are three things you can always count on: they will love you unconditionally; they will share your joys and sorrows; and no matter how your day has gone, the simple act of a pat on the head or belly rub helps melt the stress away. In many ways, adopting a shelter pet during the holidays is the ultimate gift because you save the life of another living being, and that falls into the category of priceless. Just be sure you won’t be standing in the returns line when the holidays are over because in this case, the item you return will know exactly what is happening.