If your kids are anything like mine, it seems a puppy is always on their Christmas list. I tell them that a pet is one gift that Santa needs permission from the parents to leave under the tree. I spoke with Mary Beth Knapp from the Humane Society of York County regarding this subject, and she gave me some ideas of things to consider.
- Adding a pet to your family is a commitment for the life of the pet. The hope of the Humane Society is that dogs and cats are adopted into FURever families. However, you have to prepare people for the impact of adopting a kitten or puppy. There are good times along with the bad. For example, puppyhood lasts two years. That involves potty training (along with a lot of potty training accidents to clean up), a ton of exercise, chewing things and some destruction of items in your home. And then you don't have the cute puppy anymore, you have a full grown dog.
- It is important that children see pets as a commitment versus a gift that they can grow tired of. Children must learn to be gentle, compassionate and committed. Taking care of a pet means having to feed them, take them on walks, play with them, pick up after them and spend quality time with them … even if they don’t feel like it. These responsibilities, though sometimes daunting, create a bond between your child and pet that is unconditional and worth every minute.
- Every family member needs to be on board when deciding to add a furry friend to your home. Your child will be learning to care for the pet, but the ultimate responsibility falls on the parents. Choosing the right pet at the right time needs to be a serious consideration, not an impulse. The Humane Society welcomes families who want to visit and learn about the pets, and their care, before deciding to adopt.
The experience of having a pet in your child’s life to learn and grow with is invaluable. Just be sure you are prepared to care for your FURever friend before making the leap!
If you are ready to take in a pet, please consider adoption from your local Humane Society or contact them if you need more information in order to make your decision.