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Letter from the editor | Gifting an animal is gifting a commitment

Christmas can bring on warm and fuzzy feelings that tempt some to get warm and fuzzy presents, but it’s not always the best idea. 

A child’s face lighting up as they hug their new furry best friend with a bow on top of its head on Christmas morning is a nice image, but many do not take into account the aftermath. 

If the animal is a gift for a child, the adult who gifted it is most likely going to be the one who takes care of it the most. Be sure you’re willing to clean up messes, feed, water and make trips to the veterinarian to maintain the animal’s health. 

Pets are also a huge financial responsibility. Alongside the adoption fee, there is also the costs of buying food, trips to the veterinarian office — planned and unplanned — grooming, toys, training and licensing. 

For children, the honeymoon phase of a new pet and the eagerness to be responsible for it wears off pretty quickly. Many shelters report a rise in animal abandonment right after the holiday season.

If you do plan on adopting a pet this holiday season, take these tips into consideration;

—Don’t put it in a box. This can raise the animal’s anxiety levels and also potentially suffocate it. 

—If the animal is still growing, make sure it will not grow too large for your home. 

—Make sure you have plenty of space for the animal to get enough exercise. 

—Research the animal extensively to make sure it is the right fit for you. 

—If you’re adopting the pet for a child, educate the child on it.

I heavily encourage adopting animals. I also discourage adopting without thinking it over properly simply because it’s the holiday season. Remember, an animal is not just a one day gift. When you gift an animal, you are gifting a commitment.