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Alternative ways to give pets as gifts this holiday season: CT Humane Society

The CT Humane Society said there is a lot to think about when it comes to adopting and taking care of a pet, let alone giving one as a gift.

NEWINGTON, Conn. — Animal experts are asking people who are planning to give pets as gifts this holiday season to reconsider on behalf of the wellbeing of the future owner and future furry friend.

The CT Humane Society said there is a lot to think about when it comes to adopting and taking care of a pet, let alone giving one as a gift.

"Well, a lot of people think about getting pets around the holidays, whether it might be a surprise for somebody or not," said Susan Wollschlager, the Marketing and Communications Manager with CT Humane Society.

Why experts say pets don't make the best gift:

There's no race to beat Santa. Officials at the humane society said the adoption process takes time and finding the right match is easier if the future owner is part of the process. The recipient has to be ready to take care of an animal, too.

"They may not be ready for that in their life, and the other thing is you want that person who's going to be caring for that pet to be a part of choosing that animal," Wollschlager said. "You want to see that connection, that light, that smile in their eyes when they find the one that they know is meant for them."

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When searching for a pet, Wollschlager said it helps to do the research on what kind of pet to get since a lot of time and finances go into taking care of an animal.

"You want to look at different breeds, and breed mixes, and see if an active lifestyle is necessary," she said. 

If the kids ask Santa for a new furry member of the family, parents will have to be ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of the new pet before making the final decision.

"They can promise over and over I'm going to take care of the pet, but, you know, we need to remember that it's probably going to fall onto the grownups in the household," Wollschlager said. "So, the grownups need to be ready to take that on, even if the kids can help with some of the responsibilities with the animals."

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If the time is right, however, for your family to get a new pet, Susan strongly recommended starting a routine early and keeping at it.

What to give instead:

If a new fluffy member of the family is still at the top of their wish list, there are ways to give a pet-related gift without making the big decision just yet.

"Another way to do that though is to say, 'hey, surprise, I want to pay for your adoption fee', or wrap up a bunch of pet supplies and give them as a gift," Wollschlager said.

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Animal experts recommend shoppers take their time and, again, don't rush the adoption process; Dec. 25 does not need to be the hard deadline for having an animal ready under the tree.

"Maybe you make the announcement during the holidays, 'we are going to be getting a new pet and we're going to be starting our search', and then you bring your little critter back in January when you are back into your routine and things are calmer," Wollschlager said.

The CT Humane Society said these tips apply for all times of the year, including birthdays and other life events.

"You don't want to set this deadline, and rush it," Wollschlager added. "I always say that the pet meant for you will find you, and sometimes it will take longer than we would like, and it's hard to be patient, but you'll realize once you find that pet that I was meant to wait for."

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When it comes time to find a new furry friend, people can go to the CT Humane Society website to fill out an application online.

But after going through the options, and you feel that getting a pet at this time is not right, you can always make a donation to help animals get ready to find their forever home.

"If you still want to help the pets, a great way is to make a donation at CTHumane.org that goes to the pets' medical care so that they are completely ready for adoption," Wollschlager said.


Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at lmyers@fox61.com

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