Tubby and Sammy were brought to my patio by their abandoned mom, Gigi. My friend adopted Tubby (L), and I adopted Sammy (R). He has my heart wrapped around his paw already! Gigi will be fostered until a home is found.
The biggest jump in pet adoptions happens during the holiday season each year. This is great! Then, after the new year, the biggest surge of unwanted pets trickle back into animal shelters, discarded, abandoned, and unwanted. This is terrible!
The reasons for this are simple. Everyone wants a cute, furry friend (puppy or kitten) for their kid for Christmas. This is wonderful except that most people who adopt a shelter animal or purchase a puppy or kitten from a pet store don't stop to think about what pet ownership really entails...a lifelong committment.
I whole-heartedly encourage adoption of pets from shelters, but before you make that leap, read the following reasons why you should or shouldn't adopt a pet for Christmas.
5 reasons NOT to adopt/purchase a pet for Christmas:
- If you work long hours and don't have time to spend with a pet, don't get one.
- If your kids do not understand that pets need attention and care daily, do not get one.
- If you do not have enough room in your home/around your home for a dog to run and get exercise, reconsider.
- If your budget doesn't include at least $150 in discretionary funds each month to cover food, (litter), flea control meds and/or veterinary bills, do not adopt a pet. Pets are expensive. They need food (good food, not cheap stuff that would lead to digestive problems and veterinary care later), fresh water every day, flea control medication which lasts anywhere from 30 days to 7 months depending on whether or not you use a flea collar or Advantage/Frontline serum directly applied to the skin. Just like humans, things happen with health that might require a trip to the vet's office. Such visits can cost anywhere from $65 - $300 depending on diagnosis and treatment. On average, it costs around $4,000 to $6,000 a year to care for one pet.
- If you are not committed to keeping a pet for the rest of its natural life, do not adopt/purchase one.
5 reasons TO adopt a pet for Christmas:
- A pet provides companionship proven to be beneficial to the health of the pet owner. Having a pet inspires one to get outside and get some excercise. Dog owners on average maintain a more normal body weight and a healthier cardiovascular system.
- By adopting a shelter pet, you help provide a home to a previously abandoned/neglected/possibly abused animal. There is no greater good a person can do than to open his/her home and heart to a shelter dog or cat.
- A pet gives completely unconditional love to its owner. There are no strings attached, no pre-qualifications needed. The animal just loves you. They also make great listeners, never contradicting your point of view!
- Pets make great security alarms and alarm clocks! They warn you when a stranger is near (even cats do this), and they learn your schedule, reminding you to wake up, go outside, and go to bed.
- Pets make marvelous best "furry" friends. For those who feel lonely, pet ownership can change that, and even help you socialize more with other pet parents. Letting a pet into your heart will change your life for the better.
Visit your local animal shelter if you are prepared to provide a forever home to a lucky dog or cat. Pets are just like children, you should be ready care for them for the rest of their lives, and eager to show them off to friends and family with pride!
Newly Published! HARVEST, an original short story by Michele Gwynn is now available for download in PDF on Lulu.com. Harvest tells the fictional tale of what happens when human greed and gluttony override compassion and humane treatment of cattle in feedlots. When Dave Forrester wakes to discover that everyone he knows in Farley, Oklahoma has disappeared, it's up to him to discover why, and figure out how to save the few who survive ... the harvest.
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More from Michele Gwynn: Ms. Gwynn is also the San Antonio Sex & Relationships Examiner. Her humor in explaining "the unexplainable" goes hand in hand with her candor. She has even interviewed celebrities for her column, and a former UN Ambassador for a local San Antonio newspaper.
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