“Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Pet for the Holidays.”

My Biggest “Pet” Peeve …

   My paying job is here at the Arthur Hufnagel Public Library of Glen Rock and I love it.  But, my real passion is my volunteer job at Animal Rescue, Inc.  One day a week I walk shelter dogs.  The exercise and socialization is good for them (and me)!!

   My director, Angela asked me to write a blog about “Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Pet for the Holidays.”  Don’t get me started!!!  But that’s why I’m here so …

   Now I could bore you with all the sad statistics about how many dogs and cats end up in shelters every day, how many are euthanized due to lack of space, how many are returned, etc.  But I’d rather give you the personal viewpoint of someone who sees it firsthand.

   When a dog is turned into the Rescue, his whole world is turned upside down.  Why am I here??  Who are these strange people trying to make me feel better??  Where is my family??  Pets are turned into shelters for many reasons; some valid, most not.  His owner died and nobody else in the family wants him, we are moving and can’t take him with us, and my all-time favorite – we just don’t have time for him.  UGH!!!  I’ve seen dogs sit at the front gate of the Rescue for weeks after being dropped off, looking for their family to return.  They shut down, they don’t eat, they don’t socialize.  It’s heartbreaking and it’s inhumane.  Luckily, most of them will eventually adjust and get adopted into a new home, which hopefully will be their forever home.

   Now I know it’s very tempting to buy a kitten or puppy for Christmas.  Who can resist those adorable little faces ???  But please think long and hard before you buy a pet for a gift, especially if it’s for a child.  A pet is a long-term commitment; not a sweater that can be returned if it doesn’t fit.  Before you buy a dog or cat as a gift, ask yourself – Will this person be responsible?   Will they get bored with the pet after a few weeks?   Will the pet be left alone for most of the day?   What happens when the pet makes a mess on the floor or chews up a new pair of shoes? 

   This is why Animal Rescue has a very thorough adoption policy, including checking references and doing a home visit.  If you don’t have time for a dog, we want to know beforehand and will most likely reject your application.  This rubs some people the wrong way, but we do everything with the dog or cat’s best interests in mind.   Unfortunately, many shelters do not have these safeguards in place and that’s when the returns happen.

  If you’re not completely sure about gifting a dog or cat, don’t do it!!!  But if you think you and your family are ready, there are many books available to guide you through the process.   Reputable rescues will also work with you to make sure the pet’s personality is a good fit for your family’s lifestyle and schedule.  Keep in mind, rescuing means saving a life.  Buying a cat or dog from a pet store encourages irresponsible overbreeding and supports puppy mills, where dogs live in deplorable conditions.

  This article gives some great tips about adopting a pet:


  I hope you found this blog (my first attempt) helpful.  I wish you and your family members, both the 2-legged and 4-legged ones a Merry Christmas.  Woof, Woof!!!

Kathy Heisler

Library Assistant, Dog Walker, Crazy Cat Lady