Animals are not toys to be tucked under the tree for Christmas. They are living beings that require love and proper care to flourish, just like you and me. While gifting an animal might be well intentioned, it is unfair to give an animal to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that the person wants that particular animal and is willing and able to give a lifetime of proper care.
Adoption is a permanent commitment and owners must be ready to care for their pet physically and financially for the rest of the animal’s life. Before adopting, consider the time and money involved in proper animal care. Will someone have the time and patience to exercise and housebreak the animal? Is someone prepared to pay for food, accessories (such as toys, grooming supplies, leashes and harnesses, and bedding), regular veterinary care, flea treatment, worming, and emergency care?
If you’re looking to adopt a pet, every member of the family should go to the local shelter together to choose the animal, having already discussed the obligations and long-term commitments involved. It is also necessary to be aware of local, state, and federal regulations that govern animal ownership. Most communities require annual licensing for dogs and cats, and many require that animals be on the custodian’s property at all times and that they be spayed or neutered.
Animal shelters are filled beyond capacity. Many of these are former pets that, for one reason or another, didn’t fit into someone’s lifestyle. Many people experience little or no guilt when turning an animal over to an overburdened humane society or animal-control agency that is likely filled to capacity with other abandoned animals. Many animals are simply abandoned on the road or in the yard when the family moves away.
What This Means For You