By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist
The holiday season makes us all feel warm and fuzzy, and looking at an adorable puppy or kitten up for adoption can take this to a whole new level. What would your wife say when you brought home that little bundle of fur? How would your kids react to that little dog with the big red bow under the tree? While these are fantastic thoughts to have, the real questions you need to ask yourself relate to how prepared you really are for a new family member.
I started working at my first animal hospital in June of 2010, and it was certainly a learning experience. I learned two very important lessons during my animal hospital work: There is a lot of joy in this world, and there is most certainly a lot of pain.
I remember February of 2011 well. I met a dog that would change my life. The hospital was located inside of a pet retail store, and one of its associates informed me that a dog had been left in a shopping cart. I thought that maybe the owner had just somehow forgotten to take the cute little West Highland White Terrier, but I was told that she had been there for about three hours. I waited all day for a call. Surely someone would call, right? Hours passed and the hospital lights were shut off. I looked into the cage where we stored the cute little dog, and she just looked at me with hopeful little eyes. I didn’t want her to be alone for the night, and I took her home to sleep at our apartment. My husband thought she was cute, and obviously felt bad for her because he didn’t panic over me bringing home yet another dog. The next morning we realized she had an eye condition that makes her eyes goop up with green goo, and a somewhat expensive eye medication was needed three times a day. That was it. No other medical issues. No behavioral issues. Eye goop.*
Now I can speculate (and I still do think about this often) about why someone would leave a dog like that. I scanned her microchip only to find out it was registered to a pet store that had gone out of business. She was purchased the year before in December. We had seen quite a few clients who would purchase or adopt a pet around the holidays, only to take them back a few months later. I am not saying that pets should not be adopted around this time of the year, but I do think it is wise to make an informed decision when it comes to this. Pets should never be an impulse buy.
Take a look at your lifestyle. Do you have time for this new addition? Do you have the resources to take care of this pet if things get tough? The ASPCA® has conducted research on the number of pets relinquished to shelters after being given as gifts. They concluded that there was not any increased risk of a pet being taken to a shelter or given back since it was given as a gift. The study can be accessed here. My hope is that we are becoming more informed about what it takes to be appropriate pet owners. PetSafe® gives countless hours and donations to provide education to our consumers about pets. We want to make sure you have every available resource when bringing home a new fur baby. Our store offers a variety of options to help make owning a pet a more enjoyable experience for you both. If they need more freedom, we have it covered. We’ve got some incredible wired and wireless containment options. Our line of pet doors helps you let your pet outside without the hassle of standing by a door to open it. We have toys to let you interact with your pets, and a great array of other products that are available to help you.
If you decide to adopt a pet this holiday season, just remember that a pet’s life is not the only one that changes. Pets are an incredible addition to our lives, and they need a good commitment from their owners. Consider what you can offer this dog or cat, as they will provide you years of dedication, love and fun.
*And just so I don’t leave you in suspense, my little Westie girl went to a wonderful rescue group and was quickly adopted by a great family that was able to take care of her minor medical needs.