Pets Purchased As Holiday Gifts Often End Up As Returns

A few years back at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, a family adopted a new born puppy as a Christmas gift for their elderly mother.
She wanted a small dog, so as a joke, her adult children chose the notoriously big breed because it was young and small, said shelter spokeswoman Gretchen Fieser. Soon after, the dog came back.
“It wasn’t funny,” Fieser said. “People get a pet for someone else, which we discourage, and then the pet comes back to us.”
Unfortunately, it’s a strange but common occurrence this time of year at the North Side shelter. People purchase pets on impulse, often as gifts, right before Christmas and return them when they come to the realization that they’re not prepared to care for the animals.
“We try to encourage people to really think before they adopt,” Fieser said.
At the Humane Society, staff handle so many strays and surrenders that they cannot be so selective, Fieser said. In one weekend last month, people surrendered 132 pets. About 14,000 animals, dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, reptiles and a duck went through the doors last year at the shelter’s two locations.
Surrendered pets suffer emotionally when they return to shelter cages, but they can adapt to new homes, Fieser stated.
Before purchasing a pet, be sure to plan for the adoption properly. You must start by buying food, dog bowls, toys, shampoo and bedding in advance.

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