Why you might rethink getting that puppy for Christmas

WASHINGTON — If you’re thinking about gifting your loved one an animal for Christmas, you might want to put that decision on hold.

Lauren Lipsey, director of rehoming for Humane Rescue Alliance, said that picking a pet should be a group decision and no choices should be made without the consent and full preparation of the person who will be taking care of the animal.

Lipsey said that the Alliance’s biggest fear is that the animal that is adopted eventually ends up unwanted, and that is more likely to happen if the person who is given the adopted animal did not even indicate they wanted an animal in the first place.

In lieu of purchasing a pet for Christmas, Lipsey said that you can, instead, give your loved one a card or any other stocking stuffer letting your loved one know that you are willing to cover the adoption fee of an animal of their choice. Then, you and your loved one can go to the adoption center together and make a fun day of preparing to welcome in a new buddy.

While adopted animals are returned every so often for a variety of reasons, Lipsey said that the team wants to decrease the chances of that happening, primarily by making sure that the caregivers are fully prepared to take care of their new friend, especially during the winter season.

One thing people sometimes neglect to think about is how to properly care for a pet when taking them outside in the cold. Lipsey said that letting animals outside should really only be for your pet’s bathroom break and that salt on the roads can easily get caught in an animal’s paws, which can make walking and other activities very painful.

“If it’s cold for you, it’s cold for your animal,” said Lipsey.

Lipsey encourages those interested in adopting a new pet to come in to one of the Alliance’s adoption centers and have a conversation with an employee about what they’re looking for in a pet and their ideal lifestyle. While there, employees can help potential pet-owners make the best match possible.

“It’s an opportunity for people to spend the time that we encourage people to take to find their new best friend,” Lipsey said.

The Humane Rescue Alliance has two adoption centers as well as dozens of foster homes in the area and offers many types of animals for adoption, including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, snakes and turtles.

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