The dos and don’ts of adopting pets for Christmas

LETHBRIDGE – Finding a new cat or dog under the tree might be a dream come true for kids on Christmas morning. But, the Lethbridge Humane Society says the reality of that happening is unlikely.

“We actually stop pets from going home a week before Christmas,” Barb Grodzicky said.

She explained while getting the animals into a forever home is important, the busy holiday season can be a hard time for the new addition to get settled.

“There is chocolate, there’s paper, there’s tinsel, there’s people coming in and out of the doors and a new pet can easily escape because they are kind of nervous and it’s pretty overwhelming,” Grodzicky said.

For the families interested in getting a new pet for the holidays, the humane society suggests making a gift certificate to put under the tree. After the busy holiday season is over, people can then make a trip to the shelter and to pick out a pet together.

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“Put the card with a pet bed or some toys,” added Grodzicky. Even a stuffed animal can get the message across, especially for children.

“A nice plush thing that they can sleep with and dream that they are going to get a real one soon.”

For the families who already have a pet at home, the holidays can be a stressful time. The humane society suggests taking dogs out for a long walk before having guests over and keeping them in a room to rest while the party goes on.

As for the feline friends, you have to keep an eye on them.

“Be really careful of people coming over because then the doors are opening a lot more and it’s easier for a pet to sneak out,” Grodzicky said.

“Then after a while – about an hour later – people are going, ‘Where’s Fluffy? I haven’t seen Fluffy for an hour,’ and Fluffy is out gallivanting around the city.”

And, for the animals back at the shelter, a Secret Santa has a bag full of toys ready for Christmas morning.