Believe it or not, we’re getting close to the holidays, and that means the gift requests are going to start mounting up from our kiddos. For lots of kids, that gift list includes a new puppy or kitten.
Animal welfare people suggest that the chaos and craziness of the holidays is about the worst time to introduce a new pet into the house, and I have to agree. But when you’ve made that decision to add a new pet to your family, the Humane Society of the United States and the Ad Council are launching a new campaign to get you to consider a shelter pet as your first and best place to get a pet. It’s called the Shelter Pet Project. Here’s just one fact: Every year, of the 8 million dogs and cats that enter animal shelters, 3 million of these healthy and treatable pets are euthanized.
Most shelters are great at making sure the right animal gets matched to the right home. Petfinder.com, another partner in the project, lets you search by breed and age, and most of the partcipating shelters note whether an animal is good for a home with kids. And at most shelters, you can go and meet any pet you’re interested in and see how they fit with you and your kids. Often, they’ve already been spayed or neutered and have their shots, so you just have to pay the adoption fee (which helps support the shelter programs).
Our dog is a shelter dog, and while she is the bane of my existence in many ways she is a very sweet, gentle, nice dog and is an angel with our kids. And while I was at the cheap vet clinic today waiting to get our new stray kitten spayed (yes, we’re crazy) I heard a shelter worker say that she can’t even take in any kittens because there just aren’t enough homes for them.
Basically, I think shelter pets rule, and there’s never any reason to go to a pet store to find your family’s new best friend.