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Dear Santa

Dear Santa letters are being written by children everywhere, and one of the most asked for gifts is a puppy or kitten. But is a puppy or kitten right for you, especially at this busy time of year? Although there may be nothing cuter than a ball of fluff in a wrapped box under the tree, a new pet is a big commitment.

Before adding a pet this Christmas, make sure everyone in the house is on board. Do not give a pet to someone outside your home. Just because someone may be missing a pet doesn’t mean they are ready for a new pet or ready for the pet you picked out. Instead, give a gift certificate for adoption or to their vet clinic so they can pick out the new addition. Do a lot of research about where you are getting your new pet from. Many online breeders are really puppy mills. They will post cute puppy photos making it look like they are in a loving home when in reality the dogs are kept in small, dirty cages and bred continually. A good breeder will want to meet you and will welcome you to their home or facility to meet all their dogs.

Rescues and shelters are great places to get purebred and mix breed dogs and puppies. There are breed specific rescues if you want a certain breed and all breed rescues if you are looking for that All American Mutt. They will require some background information so don’t wait until the last minute to apply for one of their dogs or puppies!

Before getting a puppy, really think about your lifestyle. Are you active or couch potatoes? Do you work full time and then attend children’s activities? If so, an adult dog or cat may be a better fit for you. Interview trainers now and do your breed research before falling in love with a cute face. Planning now ensures many great years with the right new furry family member later.

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