Pets make great gifts for you or a loved one



Many people consider giving a pet as a gift for the holidays. I propose a furry critter can also be one of the best possible Christmas presents for yourself, as well. A pet is capable of loving when nobody else can. However, a pet, like a child, requires time, money and attention. The decision to present oneself or someone else with a pet for the holidays should be carefully thought out.

Approximately 2.7 million animals are adopted from shelters each year, often around the holidays. Unfortunately, that is a small portion of the 7.6 million animals, many of which are euthanized, that enter the shelters annually.

I did not adopt my dog, Jasper, from a shelter. I adopted him from my sister after she realized she was allergic to Jasper’s fur. At first I said I didn’t have the time or resources to take care of a pet. However, adopting Jasper has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made. He’s my best friend, and he always seems to know when I need to be comforted or cheered up.

Although it worked out for me and Jasper, I wouldn’t normally suggest getting a pet for yourself or someone else unless you are willing and able to assume responsibility. The pet will need food, which I consider a minor expense. There are also regular vaccinations, though some shelters pay for this initial expense. In addition, there will be emergencies. Jasper needed more than $700 worth of dental work this year.

You also need time to potty-train. If this is an issue, you may want to consider an older pet. The Humane Society of Genesee County hosted an Adopt a Senior Pet event in November. Part of the reason groups like The Humane Society offer these events is many senior pets are not adopted. Sometimes people consider them too big or not as cute.

Despite veterinary bills, I can tell you from my experience, a senior pet is a lot easier to manage. Not only does my senior pet use the bathroom outside, but he no longer wildly runs off to socialize like he did when he was a puppy.

Years ago, I bought a kitten for my then boyfriend who said he wanted one, and I ended up taking care of it myself. Because of this, I would say if you are not prepared to do everything yourself, consider other options.

You could make a resolution to write to an elected official concerning an animal related issue if you want to show compassion. Animal rights groups like PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) and ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) have causes you can get on board with. Everyone has seen those commercials for ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) asking caring individuals to commit to monthly gifts. This is a great time of year to make that commitment. ASPCA also offers symbolic gift giving. For $25, you can give a nourishing meal to a cat or dog, and for $50 you can offer a clean bed.

I’m glad Jasper became a member of my household. However, adopting him required an adjustment. I know that is not for everyone.

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