Humane Society: Don’t give pets as gifts

Molly looks out from among the scratching posts at the Paws Along the River Humane Society.

Looking for the perfect gift this Christmas?

Paws Along the River Humane Society asks that pets not be on the list.

“We ask the families who are thinking of adopting to wait until after the holidays,” Executive Director Karen Kolos said.

Selecting a pet for someone else is a particularly bad idea.

“People may think their nephew wants a puppy,” Kolos said. “Do the parents want one, are they willing to take care of it, have the money for vet care and want to clean up and train it?”

“Perhaps someone would want a trained pet instead of a kitten or puppy,” she said. “Matching to each family is key.”

“Pets are not gifts,” she said. “Planning and being ready and choosing based on matching to what you want and can care for works out best. We ask for people to choose their own pets.”

Even in cases where someone gets a pet as a gift for their own family, there are concerns.

“Many parents, caught up in the holiday spirit, buy a pet without considering whether or not their family is ready for one,” according to information provided by the Humane Society. “Do you have time, time, and more time?”

“Many people purchase puppies based on pressure from their kids or the puppy’s appearance,” the Humane Society said. “They do not take into account how big that puppy will get, that the breed may not adapt to young children, or that it is high-spirited and needs room to run.”

Those kinds of considerations are best handled without the pressure for holiday shopping, Kolos said. “We do want people to adopt a pet, just not right at the holidays.”

Christmas Day is not the best time for a pet to get acclimated to a new home. “Holiday season is a very busy time for most families,” according to the humane society. Dogs and cats will have trouble getting used to their new homes — and finding the time and attention then need — with so much else going on. “Wait until after the holidays are over.”

“We can always accommodate families with children to putting a big red bow on a pet that has already been pre-planned after the holiday is over,” Kolos said.

“Know what you are getting,” Kolos said, “not a spur-of-the-moment gift.”

Wish list

While pets should not be on the gift list, gift for pets are encouraged.

And, the Humane Society has its own wish list this season. In addition to Purina Cat and Kitten Chow, soft dog treats, Kong toys, Nylabones, collars and leashes, and blankets and towels, the Humane Society is looking for cleaning and office supplies.

A detailed list, including items that are not accepted, is on the Paws Along the River website — www.pawsalongtheriver.org — under the Help Out tab.

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