Every December, we get a new set of think pieces on the topic of adopting pets during the holiday season. In the world of animal lovers, this may be as traditional as a 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon. Historically, discussions of holiday pet adoptions have come in the form of waggling fingers, or at the very least warnings that prospective owners be extremely thoughtful when acquiring their new pet. Blessedly, the rhetoric has become less judgmental and heated in recent years. Nevertheless, if you are a pet lover, these warnings about “Santa Cats” are the Holiday Special version of a “Never, ever leave your dog in a hot car” admonition – we’ve all heard it countless times, but its potential consequences make it worth heeding and repeating.
At NAIA, we don’t take the absolutist, finger-waggling approach toward this topic – no two people or pets are the same, and let’s be honest: if someone really wants a puppy for Christmas, they’ll find a way to get one. What we do appreciate, are collections of thoughtful and encouraging advice for prospective pet owners, such as the ones listed in this article by the Atlanta Humane Society. Instead of saying you must do this or that, they ask you to ask yourself some questions. Serious questions about how much time you have available to care for a pet. Questions about whether your living space is appropriate for pets – or if it even allows pets. Questions about safety for your family and potential pet. And finally – quite topically – asking yourself whether caring for a pet is something you can afford to add to your monthly budget?
Adding a pet (or pets!) to the family is a wonderful thing that we hope everyone gets to experience. But it is easy to be blinded by the stars in our eyes when falling in love with a puppy or kitten – especially during such a festive time of year. Asking ourselves some pertinent questions before taking the plunge can be just the splash of cold water to the face we need… or, even better, a great way to help us realistically prepare for a new companion.