What You Need to Know Before Adopting a Pet for Christmas

Pug The Blissful Elefante

As someone who volunteers at an animal shelter, I see an increase in animal adoptions during the Christmas season. Obviously I feel a little pitter patter in my heart every time I see one of the babies leave the shelter with a family. We see animals come in every single day who have been neglected and battered and we spend a great deal of time rehabilitating them so they can be ready for adoption. A family is, obviously, the end goal.

There’s nothing more rewarding!

Unfortunately with adoptions, often comes returns. Individuals adopt these animals underestimating the time, money, and resources that go into raising them and they feel they have no choice but to take them back to the one place they know will welcome them with open arms: the shelter.

In December and January, we see an increase in returns. 

I feel like because we are in December, I need to share an obligatory reminder. A pet is a fantastic present for Christmas. They bring so much love, loyalty, and joy into our homes and none of these babies deserve to be in a shelter or on the streets during the holidays (or ever, duh, that goes without saying.)

With that being said, please remember these four things if you are planning to surprise someone with a pet this Christmas:

1. Be certain that the person you are adopting for is wanting of a pet, and she is aware of all the responsibility that comes with one. 

It really goes without saying. Don’t surprise your girlfriend who just got out of a failed engagement because she’s sad and you think she needs a companion. If she wants a pet, she’ll tell you or get one herself.

2. Remember that a pet is a long term commitment.

Puppies are adorable. Sorta like babies. We are willing to put up with the peeing and pooping and crying when they are infants because they are so dang cute. But will you be willing to make adjustments in your own life during their lifetime to accommodate for their needs? 

For reference, dogs live on average anywhere from 10-15 years.

3. Christmas morning is not the ideal time to gift children a new family pet.

Christmas morning tends to be chaotic and therefor can be overwhelming for both child and pet. Most families simply do not have the time and/or energy available on Christmas Day to properly transition a pet to their new surroundings. 

4. Pets do not require a one time payment.

Adopting a pet goes hand in hand with financial responsibility. Please consider costs for ongoing checkups, vaccinations, food, chipping, unforeseen emergencies, etc.

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Please know that I am not trying to dissuade anyone from adopting a pet. I’m trying to do the opposite. I hope to persuade people to do so in a way that is responsible and will result in less surrenders to our overflowing shelters.

Merry Christmas! And until next time, enjoy these photos of some of our shelter babies.


Highlands County Animal Shelter

Highlands County Animal Shelter

Highlands County Animal Shelter

Highlands County Animal Shelter




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