An animal activist sent out an email last week saying that it was wrong to get a pet during the holidays, and that rescues and shelters should not be adopting during this time. She claims that people are too busy to properly care for the new pet, and that after the holidays the pet will be ignored and dumped at a shelter.  I do not wholly agree with her. While it may be a true that some people will buy a puppy for the kids for Christmas, then later not have time for it. But is that a reason to call for the suspension of all adoptions?

I think that she was taking the credo of “no pets as gifts” to the extreme. Of course, I could not agree more that a pet should never be given as a gift – all year ’round. And I don’t need to remind all of you that puppies are never to be purchased at pet stores, on the Internet, or from unreliable breeders. (Actually, I’ve heard that the best breeders never schedule a litter to be ready during the holidays.)

But what’s this about no adoptions at holiday times? Come on! Not everyone is crazy-busy at this time of year. For many people, the holidays are a chance to enjoy quiet time at home and with family. Twenty-two years ago, I adopted a dog on December 21 and I had a blissful twelve days off of work to get her settled into her new home. It was a special memory that I will take to the grave.

With so much overcrowding in shelters and rescues, plus with donations lacking this year, it would be foolhardy to stop adoptions now. Wouldn’t we all love to see every pet find a home in time for the holidays?  Yesterday, I volunteered at Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue’s monthly Meet and Greet where people can visit with the adoptable dogs. Happily, there was a nice crowd of people attending and not out Christmas shopping. To tell these potential adopters that they have to wait until January to have a dog would be a crime – for the people and for the dogs. Plus, add in the expenses of sheltering the dogs for a few more weeks.

As you know, I’m all for protecting the animals but there comes a time when we need to be reasonable. Yes, we want every pet to go to the best home under the finest circumstances. All we can do is trust that holiday-time adopters have the best intentions to give a homeless animal a loving home.

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