Instead of a Surprise Gift of a Pet, Families Should Adopt Responsibly Together

EAST BROOKFIELD — In the heartwarming videos circulating every holiday season, the joy of receiving a surprise puppy or kitten is undeniable. The excitement is infectious, and you might be tempted to create a similar moment for a loved one this year. Second Chance Animal Services suggests a thoughtful alternative: consider a shelter visit as the gift of a lifetime.

While those viral videos capture the immediate happiness, Second Chance founder and CEO Sheryl Blancato emphasizes the unseen aftermath of pets surrendered to shelters shortly after festivities. “The decision to bring a pet into your family is immensely gratifying, but it’s also a substantial commitment. Extensive research and careful consideration of your family’s lifestyle are critical. Owning a pet is a considerable responsibility, both when they’re young and as they age. Adopting a pet is a pledge for life.”

Blancato advocates against surprising someone entirely with a pet. “Of course, we hope all our pets will spend the holidays in their new homes, but we want them to find homes with committed, loving families ready to take on the responsibility of caring for their new, furry family member. Being surrendered back to a shelter takes a serious toll on animals. Witnessing them wait for their owner’s return is truly heartbreaking.”

To encourage responsible pet adoption, Second Chance recommends gifting a pet bed or bowls accompanied by a note expressing your intent to explore pet ownership responsibly. A handmade gift certificate for a local shelter visit, paired with an informative book on pet care, can be an excellent present for young children. This approach ensures that the decision to welcome a pet is well-informed and creates a memorable experience of the joy of going to the shelter together to choose the pet.