A Puppy for Christmas? Might Want to Think Twice

Animal shelters and pet shops alike want to discourage shoppers from impulsively buying pets this holiday season. After the holidays, many shelters are burdened with unwanted animals, because not everyone can keep those pets they receive as gifts.

By Victoria Price

LUBBOCK, TX -- While an adorable puppy under the tree may seem like the perfect thing to wake up to on Christmas morning...you may want to think twice before giving that special someone a new four-legged friend this holiday season.

Mary Hatfield of the West Texas Humane Society says a new pet isn't always the best idea for a Christmas gift. After the holidays, many shelters are burdened with unwanted animals, because not everyone can keep those pets they receive as gifts.

"It's stressful for us, to take these animals that had kind of an unhappy experience, because it was a wrong choice," Hatfield says. "So there is a spike, and it is a sad thing."

Hatfield also says the chaos that surrounds Christmas isn't always the best environment for bringing in a new pet.

"The holidays are so hectic," she says. "Everyone's cooking and decorating, it's just too hectic of a time for a little baby animal."

Although sales go up by as much as 20% during the holidays, Pets Plus here in Lubbock also discourages folks from putting new pets beneath the tree.

"Well, really any time of the year we don't suggest giving pets as a gift," says Richard Evans, the store's owner. "That's an important decision, and the people who receive the pet need to make sure they're ready for that responsibility."

But, if you do insist on getting someone that new puppy or kitten this Christmas, some pet shops can offer you a good compromise.

"If they really want to do something like that, I would suggest buying a gift certificate," Evans says. "That way the person could come in and decide what they wanted to get."

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