Cute and cuddly creatures are a common sight during visits to area shopping malls and pet supply stores. And this holiday season will be no different.
The canines and felines making appearances at the shopping centers are in need of good homes, and local humane societies and animal shelters are hoping the mere sight of a cute puppy or cuddly kitten will win over many hearts just in time for the holidays.
But despite the pleas of children, we ask parents to refrain from purchasing pets as gifts this time of year, or any time for that matter, before carefully considering all options.
There are many responsibilities associated with animal adoption, and potential pet owners should have all the facts before bringing a new pet home.
We urge potential pet adopters to brush up on the various types of dogs and cats available in order to find the best breed for them. For example, find out which animals require special exercise needs, are prone to certain ailments and may not be good with children.
Make no mistake, choosing a family pet means a lot of time, commitment and money.
A pet should never be ignored because an owner is too tired or busy. And owners, including children, should know how and when to provide food, water, care, companionship and exercise for animals.
Cost is another factor. Licenses, food, grooming and veterinary care costs need to be considered besides paying for spaying or neutering, which is of the upmost importance.
Other things to ponder include suitable living arrangements for a pet, caring for a pet while on vacation and training classes.
Stop and think about why many older animals live at shelters. They are there because someone didn't take responsibility to begin with.
The playful whimpers may draw many to four-legged friends this time of year, but we're asking area residents with children in tow this holiday shopping season to research the best possible pet options.
Good things come to those with patience, so study up on the basics of animal care.
In the end, you and your family will be rewarded for your efforts in providing a caring home for a pet for many years to come.