As the season becomes more festive, it becomes a time to start thinking of what you may want Santa to bring you for Christmas.
There are many options such as the PlayStation 4, a coffee maker or a new Lego set for those who are still living out their childhood dreams. Although, some may look at Christmas as a time to bring another member into the family, a dog.
Christmas is one of the top times of the year when dogs get bought or adopted out of shelters —especially puppies. Not only do puppies make great companions, but shelter puppies get a chance at a life beyond the cage. Puppies also grow with the family as well as growing in size, and admittedly some families cannot handle the growing of puppies into adult dogs.
Dog breeds like shepherds, hounds, bully breeds as well as even bigger breeds, all start out small and easy to handle. These dogs, surprisingly grow up to be full size animals that, without proper training and attention, can be much harder to handle. It seems as if that aspect of getting a dog escapes the minds of those who may be working under good intentions but are missing the point that getting a dog is bringing a family member into their home, not just a Christmas gift that will find his way back into the pound by the New Year.
Another gift that some families find make great presents are kittens. Coming from my own experiences with cats, they are not as easy as non-cat owners perceive them to be. Their litter boxes require weekly cleaning, even with the best litter and no matter how cuddly they may be as kittens, there is considerable doubt they will be the same helpless kitten when they get older.
So, when the kittens become boring or too much to handle — cleaning their boxes and all — they end up alongside the Christmas puppies in the shelter, waiting for their forever home to accept the fact that animals take responsibility. They take time and patience. They require a lot of attention that sometimes children, college students and even working adults do not have to put toward those animals.
I’m not saying all situations are the same, so I’m merely speculating on the bases of experience. My only hope for this season is to not fall under the same stipulations that owning a pet will be a walk in the park and end up taking those animals to the shelters or letting it go. The feral cat epidemic in Shippensburg is horrendous, due to owners letting their cats into the wild where they can contract feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia.
Be smart this season, and if you are interesting in having your own pet, make sure you check out the local animal shelters for your new best friend.