Experts say anyone considering giftwrapping a puppy or kitten for Christmas should reconsider.
Introducing a new pet to the family on such a hectic holiday can be troublesome.
"Christmas Day is so busy and not the best time to have a new pet coming in," said Donna Evans, the president of the Columbia County Humane Society. "You don't really have time for it."
Linda Fulmer, Columbia County's director of animal care and control, echoed Evans' sentiment.
"The problem you run into with giving out a pet at Christmas is that it is the Christmas holidays," she said. "Kids are out of school. People are visiting family, going back and forth. There's a lot of turmoil."
Establishing a routine early with a new pet is important, both Evans and Fulmer said.
"Your conditions after the holidays are going to completely change and it should be more settled for the pet," Fulmer said.
They both suggested potential pet adoptees wait until January.
"What we encourage people to do is give the collar, the dog bed, chew toys and then get the pet after Christmas," Evans said.
By waiting until after the holidays, the pet recipient can then become actively involved in choosing a pet.
"A pet is a personal choice and you need to take that person with you," Evans said. "This is a commitment of 10 to 15 years."
While Fulmer said she has little choice in when a pet is adopted from her agency, Evans said the Humane Society will not allow pet adoptions as Christmas gifts unless it is a parent adopting it for a child.
"Pets are not just for Christmas," she said. "They're for life."
Also, it is important to gauge if someone truly wants a pet.
"I would definitely make sure that the person you're going to get it for is aware of what you're going to do," Fulmer said. "You may think, 'Hey, this person is lonely. They need a pet.' It could be an entirely different situation."
Many people, especially seniors, may not want to be tied down by a pet, or financially capable of properly caring for it, Fulmer said.
For the pet's sake, it is an important consideration, Evans said.
"They're not gifts," she said. "They're alive."
For more information from the Columbia County Humane Society, call (706) 860-5020, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Columbia County Animal Care and Control, call (706) 541-4077.
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