Pet presents for the holidays

Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Dogs displaced by Hurricane Ike are sheltered at the local center set up by the Humane Society.

Derek Dophied, Staff Writer

During the holidays, people tend to show more compassion than any other time of the year. Charity events are thrown, presents are given, volunteer-work rises and more four-legged family members are adopted. If you’re considering adopting a new pet, be wise and mindful of what this could mean.

All to often, animals are adopted from shelters only to return in less than a year’s time. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 37% of pets that are rehomed will be taken back to an animal shelter shortly after.

Though it’s fun to surprise a family member with a new animal, there are other factors to consider before adopting.

Puppies require a lot of attention and training. They can cause a plethora of damage and inconveniences without proper care and training early in life. Around 52% of adopted canines are rehomed due to inconvenience for the homeowner, according to the ASPCA.

Cats are notoriously territorial and bringing home a new kitten or adult cat into the home of another adult cat can cause conflict between the animals. If not neutered, they may soil the house to mark their territory and become hostile towards one another or other family members. According to the ASPCA, cats follow closely behind dogs in terms of being returned to the shelter at 48% due to household inconvenience.

As long as the proper pros and cons are weighed prior to adoption, adding a new pet can be a wonderful, life-altering experience. Household pets are proven to lower depression and can become lifelong companions if properly trained and cared for. Make sure those involved are prepared to take on the responsibility that a new pet carries before adopting, and remember that pets should be forever.