Monday, December 17, 2012

Adopting a Pet During the Holidays..

When I was in early gradeschool, I came home to an amazing surprise.. two brand new puppies that my Grandpa had adopted for my sister and me. These two little wiggle-worm, Dachshund mix puppies were the highlight of my young life and one of the most amazing gifts I had ever gotten. We quickly named them Domino and Webster and these two sweet pups were our constant companions until we lost them in their senior years. 

Now, being involved in animal welfare, I see the good and bad to pets being adopted as holiday gifts. While I always encourage new pet parents that are looking for a pet to choose adoption, I also want to share some holiday pet adoption tips to help encourage a long-lasting relationship between your new pet and your entire family. 

  • Make sure your entire family is ready for a new pet! This is the most important step in adoption (at any time of the year.) Once you have decided as a family to adopt a pet, chances are that everyone is just as excited as you are to meet your new family member, meaning he or she will be spoiled and loved by everyone!
  • Do some research on pet ownership before bringing your new pet home. If your whole family is on board with the type of training and rules that your new pet will have, the transition from 'rescue' to family pet will be much smoother on your new companion!
  • Prepare your home! Pets can be destructive, especially kittens and puppies. By preparing your home, you can eliminate the chances of shredded couches and chewed up shoes! Stock up on pet-safe toys for your new playmate!
  • Make sure you have a safe space for your pet to call his own. A crate and nice bedding setup just for your new Fido will make him feel special and help him adjust with a calm, cozy place that is just for him!
  • Introduce your current pets slowly. Sometimes the transition period for your resident pets can take time and patience. Do research on pet introductions and talk with a trainer before bringing your new pet home. 
  • Adopt as a family! Taking the whole family to the shelter to adopt is a great experience for the kids as well as yourself. Meeting several pets with your whole family present can help to establish an early bond and gives you the opportunity to see how your new pet will interact with your family.
  • Consider a Senior Pet. Senior pets are often already house-trained and past the destructive stage of life, meaning your shoes are usually safe from chewing and you are past the hyper puppy phase! A senior pet has just as much love to give and (sadly) seniors are often over-looked by potential adopters.
  • Make a lifetime commitment. Bringing a new pet home for the holidays means bringing him home for life. If you cannot commit to a lifetime with your new furry friend, consider fostering over the holiday season. You will still get all of the puppy-love, but without the long-term commitment. Plus, by fostering, you are freeing up a kennel for another pet to be saved.
Adopting a pet during the holidays can be an amazing decision, just make sure it is the right decision for your family and your new pet! Your new pet deserves the best! 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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