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Angie Wood: Carefully consider pet for holiday gift

<p>Marcus, a 2 year-old Beagle/Boxer mix, is available at the Naperville Area Humane Shelter. &nbsp;| &nbsp;Photo courtesy of the Naperville Area Humane Shelter</p>

Marcus, a 2 year-old Beagle/Boxer mix, is available at the Naperville Area Humane Shelter.  |  Photo courtesy of the Naperville Area Humane Shelter

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holidays are a time to exchange gifts and spend time with family and friends. It’s often a time when families consider adding a pet to their household, too — especially if the kids have been asking for it all year!

Many people envision the classic puppy under the Christmas tree with excited children already playing with it. A new pet is a very special and meaningful gift to give, but there are many things to think about before taking home a new furry friend. Timing is key, so make sure Christmas is the perfect time to welcome a new pet.

Adopting from an animal shelter is a good choice when it comes to getting a new pet around the holidays. If you have already spent most of your Christmas budget, never fear! Adopting from a shelter is affordable, and it is a great way to give back to the community.

There are a lot of homeless animals this winter that could use a warm, loving family. The holidays are a time of generosity and charity, so adoption is definitely in the spirit of the season. Not only will you make your family and friends happy, but you will also make a difference in your community by helping an animal in need.

Of course, getting a pet should never be a quick decision. There are many important questions that need to be asked, especially at this busy time of the year.

Is there enough space for a pet in the home?

Will the new owners be traveling for the holidays?

Would frequent house guests affect the pet’s adjustment to their new home?

The lifestyle of the family during the holiday season, as well as everyday lifestyle, should be taken into account. Adding the pressure of a new pet to the holidays might stress out the recipient.

However, even if you adopt the pet after the holiday, you can still surprise the recipient. Surprise your friend or family member by wrapping up pet supplies as a present. This builds excitement about the new puppy or kitten on the way. It also allows the recipient to help pick out the pet personally without giving up the element of surprise. Picking out a new pet together is a way to bring family or friends together for the holidays. It can also ensure that the pet is right for the new owner.

Naperville Area Humane society is always looking for new people to adopt cats and dogs, so consider giving a friend or family a special gift this year. A puppy or kitten will be a unique, personal gift, and make it a holiday to remember.

Naperville Area Humane Society (NAHS) is a nonprofit, limited admission animal shelter accepting cats and dogs. The mission of NAHS is to promote the humane treatment of companion animals and create lasting human-animal bonds. Our dedicated and highly trained staff and volunteers offer compassionate care to each animal and work to address his or her individual needs.

To continue the work we are doing and offer additional services to the community, NAHS needs the continued funding from our friends. Community support allows NAHS to help more than 600 cats and dogs find good homes annually. Support comes in all forms, and is always appreciated! From attending a fundraising event, to volunteering at one of our community outreach days, or even purchasing items from our wish list during your weekly shopping trip. For more information or for ways you can get involved, visit www.NapervilleAreaHumaneSociety.org.

Angie Wood is executive director of the Naperville Area Humane Society.

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