So you’re thinking about surprising your family with a dog for Christmas. You can picture it… the cute little dog sitting under the tree with a big bow around his neck. Your family wakes up and rushes into the room, they laugh and are so excited to have a new member of the family. This sounds like a great and magical moment, but there are a few things to consider when bringing a dog into your world.
According to Caitlin Daly, Director of the Fredericksburg Regional SPCA, “Getting a dog for Christmas can be a great idea! Instead of the pup being a surprise, the best approach is to make your family a part of the adoption experience. Bring them to the shelter and let them meet several dogs. There’s nothing like bonding with an animal at the shelter. They know when they’ve been rescued and are very grateful when they meet their future family. This is an awesome experience the whole family should enjoy.”
Caitlin says there are 8 things to think about when adopting a dog.
Is the whole family in agreement on wanting a new pet?
Are there clear guidelines on who is responsible for the pet and in what way?
Do you have clear repercussions for a family member not following through with their responsibilities (that doesn't involve turning the animals back in at the shelter)?
Have family members spent time around animals to be sure they are not allergic?
Have you considered the financial responsibility that goes along with owning a pet, i.e. vet bills, food, and medication?
Are you aware that there is a transition period, where the dog is trying to get use to your schedule and you are getting use to them as well?
Do you have pets at home? Do a meet and greet at the shelter to make sure they’re a good match!
Accidents happen! Be ready for them.
A dog is an amazing addition to any household! Being educated about how to welcome a new pet in the family is key to a successful adoption.
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