Bringing a Pet Home for the Holidays: Are you Ready?

December 18, 2015

Kitsap Humane Society has a monthly column, “Pets and People” in the Kitsap Weekly. The column is published the third Friday of every month.

Bringing a Pet Home for the Holidays: Are you Ready?
You’ll Need to Answer These Questions First
By Rebekah Johnson

“What do you want for Christmas? “, when I was a little girl I was quick to announce, “A kitty”. I never received a kitty for Christmas, but we are all familiar with the sentimental holiday scene of a puppy popping out of a box on Christmas morning and joyfully licking the face of an elated child; a very heartwarming moment.This is the time of year when many families are considering bringing home a furry family member.

Is your family ready for a new addition? Don’t let a pet be an impulse buy! Take time to fully consider the cost and time associated with being a responsible pet owner.Here are three important questions to ask yourself anytime of the yearbeforebringing an animal into your home or gifting one to another home.

1) Who will be the primary caretaker of the pet? Around the holidays, people may decide to give a pet as a gift-do not let a pet be a surprise to the recipient or their family. Just because Grandma is lonely does not mean you should rush out and get her Fido. Make sure your loved one is a willing pet owner and fully prepared to care for the animal. If you are giving the pet to your child, are you ready to care for an animal? Your child may promise to train, feed and clean the pet, but this promise may be short-lived. As the adult in the home, the parent is ultimately responsible for making sure a pet is being cared for properly.

2) Is the home appropriate/prepared for the pet? Being a responsible pet owner means you are able to properly house and provide care for the animal. Will the pet live in an apartment or a house? Will they need a yard? Are there other family pets and are they ready to have another “sibling?” How many hours a day will the pet be left alone? Animals have different needs for space, exercise, vet care and social habits. Make sure to thoroughly research the kind of pet and breed you are interested in and what their space, veterinary and exercise needs will be.

3) Where/who will you be acquiring the pet from? You may have heard someone say “Adopt, don’t shop, “but what does that actually mean when you are preparing to purchase a pet?Adopting not only helps your communityand your pocket book, but it’s also a smart and thoughtful way to do what’s right. When you adopt, you save money on costs since adoptable pets from rescues and shelters are already spayed/neutered, up to date on shots, microchipped and treated for worms and fleas. Best of all, when you adopt, you can be proud that you gave a homeless animal their forever home. Thousands of pets are waiting at local shelters for new homes. Purchasing animals, on the other hand, can support puppy mills, which contribute to pet overpopulation and cause countless dogs lifetimes of suffering.   

Caring for an animal is a major commitment and a long-term responsibility. There are many other questions to ask yourself before bringing a pet into your home or the home of a loved one. If the household is ready for this commitment and you would like togive the joy of a new pet to a loved one, consider purchasing a gift certificate from a local shelter/rescue!

“Gift Certificates are a great way for you to give the gift of a pet to your familywhile still allowing you to bond with the animal and pick the pet that  is right for you and your family’s lifestyle”, said  Natalie Smith, Director of Animal Welfare at Kitsap Humane Society. “Kitsap Humane Society sells gift certificates year-round that can be used for adoptionsfees, microchipsand spay/neuter services, and they have no expiration date.”

Meowy Christmas and Yappy Holidays!