The dream Christmas present for many children on this special day is a puppy, but the pet comes with many responsibilities.
The Lakeland Humane Society Shelter Manager Nicole Mbanefo says pets are not gifts.
“Something we like to put out every year is that pets aren’t gifts. The winter can be a very trying time with a lot of house training to do. We want to make sure the family is doing this for the right reasons and not just for the shock value and the heartwarming moment on Christmas.”
“It is an amazing joy to bring to a family but we just want to make sure everyone understands that ideally, an animal is for life.”
Mbanefo says families should be ready to commit to the animal which can be anywhere up to 16 years. With the commitment, must come time, energy, funds, and patience with the animal. The first item on the recommended checklist from LHS for families looking to adopt is time.
“They are essentially babies, they require a lot of time as far as getting all their energy out. As far as training goes you are looking at a good one or two years of constant training and redirection. It is a long process to turn a puppy into a well-behaved dog.” Mbanefo says there are usually a couple of families who have to surrender an animal after the holidays. “We do see a little bit of a kickback of people who go out thinking a puppy will stay a puppy or realize how much time raising a pet takes.”
The Lakeland Humane Society usually sees a couple of animals having to be returned for different factors.
“It is kind of similar to what happened with Covid. There was a big boom in animal adoptions because everyone was home so a lot of the shelters got cleared out and now one to two years later we are seeing a lot of Covid puppies coming to us.”
Mbanefo says any family or person thinking about adopting a pet regardless of the holiday should put thought behind the choice. The Lakeland Humane Society does offer a few other options before adopting to ensure the choice is the right one.