It's that time of year again... when we hope to have time to relax with family & friends (both two-legged and four-legged)... and to create some great new memories. Not all animals are fortunate to have homes of their own, and many wait in shelters, rescue organizations, and foster homes, hoping to find permanent, loving homes.
You may have heard about the popular campaign called Home for the Holidays, which promotes adopting homeless animals into families in time for the Christmas holidays. While there has been some criticism about it -- mostly worries that people who get a pet "just for the holidays", won't be committed to that animal in the long-run -- lots of positives have come from it.
Good families who will love and commit to their pets for life will adopt pets any time throughout the year, including at Christmas. Many people have extended time off during the holidays, which gives both the pet and the family extra time to get adjusted to one another and to get the pet settled into their new home.
Puppies are always a favourite for adoption (who can resist puppy breath and puppy bellies?)... but there are many wonderful adult and senior pets who also need homes. And just think, no need to go through that puppy housebreaking and chewing-everything-in-sight stage! Adult pets adjust well to new homes and have plenty to love to share with their new families.
In addition to visiting your local shelter or rescue organization, PetFinder.org is a great place to search the photos and bios of thousands of pets needing homes.
While giving an animal a home for the holidays is wonderful, giving someone else a pet as a gift is never a good idea. Even animal lovers who don't currently have a pet, may not want a pet at the moment. Everyone should also be able to choose their pet - different pets will require different amounts of time, commitment, and cost for feeding, grooming, medical care, exercise, and much, much more. After all, pets can live 10 to 15 years or even longer, so it is a huge commitment.
Rather than choosing a pet for someone, give the gift of choice:
- Ask an animal shelter or a rescue organization if they sell gift certificates, which can be redeemed whenever the recipient decides they're ready to choose their new pet.
- Hand-make a certificate or make one up on the computer, offering to pay a certain amount of money towards the adoption fee of a new pet.
- Package up the gift certificate with a few handy pet supplies. Wrap it up in a pretty box or basket. Or put a collar on a stuffed dog or cat, and attach the gift certificate to it.
Here's hoping that many pets currently in shelters and foster homes will find their forever-homes! We'll leave you with this poem ...
'Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,
Every shelter is full... we're lost, but not found.
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,
We hope every minute that someone will care.
They'll come to adopt us and give us the call,
"Come here, Max, or Sparky, come fetch your new ball!"
But we sit here and think of the days...
We were treated so fondly... we had cute baby ways.
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew...
Now we're no longer young and we're no longer new.
So out the back door we were thrown like the trash,
They reacted so quickly... why were they so rash?
We "jump on the children," "don't come when they call,"
We "bark when they leave us," "climb over the wall."
We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed,
Now we suffer the consequences of the errors THEY made.
If only they'd trained us, if only we knew...
We'd of done what they asked us and worshipped them too.
We were left in the backyard, or worse, left to roam...
Now we're tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off here and they kissed us goodbye...
"Maybe someone else will give you a try."
So here we are, all confused and alone...
In a shelter for others who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
With so many to care for, they can't stay or chat,
They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer...
We know that they wonder how long we'll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads...
Of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears...
Our friends filled with emptiness, worry and fear.
If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn...
Could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year...
Can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat...
And help get us something special to eat.
The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,
And more of us will, if more people give.
SPCAs and pet rescue organizations rely on public support to help them operate their shelters. Your donation can help provide a homeless animal with nutritious food, a warm place to sleep, and a chance at a new life. If you're looking for a suggestion, we suggest SAINTS, an end-of-life sanctuary for senior and special-needs pets.