Pets as holiday gifts become a big commitment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pets as holiday gifts become a big commitment

Updated:

December 6, 2007

Albany -- No gift will get you a bigger reaction than a puppy or kitten under the Christmas tree. But that excitement can be very short lived.

"Normally after the holidays, early spring, we get a lot of animals turned into the shelter because it is a more than some bargained for. And they didn't realize that it was so much," said Albany Humane Society Director, Donna Strickland.

Pets are not toys that can be tossed to the side when you're done playing with them.

"You are looking at 10 to 15 years for the life of that animal. It's a nice idea, but you want to make sure that they know that this is a long term commitment for them," said Strickland.

And the gift will end up costing the recipient a lot more than it did to give it.

"The basic needs that a puppy or kitten need as far as food, water, and vet care, all those things, that's an annual thing. So there are expenses that the recipient of this gift will be faced with over the years," said Strickland.

The timing of the holidays can make it worse.

"The holidays are not always a good time to bring a pet home. There is always so much excitement on Christmas morning, and the pets always get lost in the shuffle. Do it week in advance with the whole family, but I don't recommend giving a live animal on Christmas morning," said Strickland.

So before you take the plunge, think it through.

"That cute little lab puppy at six weeks old in three months is going to be a large dog. So they need to think about a breed, their lifestyle and where they live. So your present doesn't end up being another underestimated mistake at the shelter," said Strickland.

So your present doesn't end up being another underestimated mistake at the shelter.

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