LAFAYETTE, Ind. (CBS) — The holidays may seem like the perfect time to surprise your family with a new pet, but shelters are asking you if you can make the commitment. Animals are already returning to shelters after the Christmas holiday.
“Having to come back to the shelter is not necessarily fun for them. They kind of feel like they’ve done something wrong when usually it’s just a situation at home,” said Lisa Hughes, shelter manager for Loving Heart Animal Shelter.
Many animal shelters see an increase of drop-offs and surrenders during the holidays. Sandy Fogarasi with Loving Heart Animal Shelter and Lisa Huges of Almost Home Humane Society say pet returns are typically caused by holiday stress and lack of planning.
“People are stressed, people are overwhelmed, and they get to their breaking point in the holiday season. So they decide the first thing and the easiest thing they think to eliminate is to get rid of the pets so they don’t have that, that’s one responsibility they don’t have anymore,” Fogarasi said.
“Unfortunately we’ve had returns already from the ones that were adopted out prior to Christmas. They get the older dogs and then go home with their kids and realize their a little too powerful and rambunctious with the kids,” Hughes said.
While not all situations can be prevented, proper planning and introductions between family members and prospective pets can make adoption easier and last longer.
“Definitely do meet and greets. Bring the family in. The dogs can interact with them and see how they’re doing,” Hughes said.
It may also be worth going through an intensive adoption process, like Loving Heart’s process. Fogarasi requires a home visit, vet checks, and references for all potential adopters.
“We really make sure that we’re not putting that dog in that house that’s the right fit for the dog,” Fogarasi said.
While the moment of your child getting a new pet for Christmas may be a sight to behold, giving your pet a forever home and family for life is more important.
“Get through the holidays, get through the busyness. Adopting a dog or taking a dog in is a lifetime commitment if you can’t make that lifetime commitment, then you shouldn’t do it,” Fogarasi said.
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