Montgomery County Animal Care and Control Director David Kaske are asking for the community’s help this Christmas season. Each year, Montgomery County Animal Care and Control, along with other shelters across the United States, receives a high intake of puppies from January through March. The intake comes from well-intentioned individuals who want to give their children, spouse or friend a puppy for Christmas.
Kaske advises people to take their time and think about the commitment before jumping in and buying a new household pet, no matter how much begging takes place.
“Shelters generally see up to a 50% increase in puppies and returned adoptions in the months of January and February compared to other times of the year. If you understand the commitment it takes to bring a pet into your family and you are determined to have a new pet in your home over the Christmas season, we highly encourage everyone to adopt and not to shop. We have many pets right here at our local shelter ready for a great home,” said Kaske.
During this time of year, people often seek new pets through social media, in pet stores, and from breeders. Kaske asks that people do their research in order to make a wise and informed long-term decision before bringing a new pet home during the holiday season.
Here is some helpful information and questions to consider before adopting:
- Most dogs and cats live between 10-25 years depending on the breed and species. Are you ready for that length of a commitment?
- Dogs and cats can cost between $500 to $1,500 per year to maintain including regular vet visits, food, toys, etc. Pets with preexisting conditions can cost even more. All pets come with financial responsibilities.
- Pets need to be cared for daily. Owning a pet means the pet needs to be fed daily, given water, walked, let outside, and given attention.
- Discuss taking on a pet with the entire family and make the decision together as a gifting experience to ensure the pet has a long-lasting loving home. Owning a pet is a family duty and requires everyone to be on the same page.
- Ensure those who will be around the pet often are not allergic or afraid of animals.
- Families with small children should take time to assess whether owning a pet is the best decision at this time. Small children should be supervised around pets at all times.
- We strongly discourage adopting a pet as a Christmas gift. In many instances the intent is good but the person receiving the gift may not be ready, able, or willing to take on a “surprise” gift.
- Lastly and most importantly, give your newly adopted pet time to acclimate to your family and home. Far too often, pets are returned after just a few days because pet owners are not patient in allowing the pet to become part of the family.
Kaske advises, “I like to tell people to remember the Three Dog Rule: three days for a pet to decompress and begin eating and drinking, three weeks for a pet to settle in, figure out the environment and start to develop a routine, and three months for a pet to feel comfortable in the home and create a bond.”
For information on Montgomery County Animal Care and Control, visit mcgtn.org.