Sunday, December 20, 2009

Selecting the Right Furry Friend for Your Family or Friend

Once again the holiday season is upon us. For the past few weeks, we have been searching high and low for the perfect holiday gift for our friends and family. Some will receive a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant. Nice choice, but once it is used, it is gone. Some will receive clothing. Maybe a nice robe and slippers that will keep them warm and snugly will do the trick. However, is the size correct and will they like the color? So, what gift can be given that stays around for years to come, keeps the recipient warm and snugly but never wears out or gets discarded and comes in many wonderful colors and sizes?

Bringing home a new puppy or kitten during the holidays for a child is a long standing, loving tradition. Watching a child’s eyes light up when they lift off the lid of the box and look inside to see a big-eyed furry friend waiting for them is priceless. However, surprising an adult friend or family member with such a gift may cause them to run the other way. Raising a puppy or kitten shouldn’t be taken lightly. They need to be trained, require near constant attention and, oh yes, potty trained. You have to consider if your friend or family member can handle the obligation and commitment that it takes to handle a puppy's or kitten's needs.

An alternative to a puppy or kitten is to help your friend or family member pick out an adult dog or cat from a local animal shelter or rescue organization. These animals have usually been through all of the necessary training and are ready for a good forever home. Most shelters and rescue organizations have their animals fully examined by a veterinarian including being provided with all of the necessary vaccinations prior to being adopted. Some of the groups also micro-chip their animals for identification in case they stray too far from home.

In addition to viewing animals at a rescue shelter, some rescue groups also bring animals to local adoption events. Observing the potential new family member at the shelter or adoption event will allow you to see how they interact with new people and with other animals. In addition, plenty of research on the type and breed of animal that will fit best into your friend or family member’s household must be done. Ask the recipient of the new four-legged friend to come with you to the shelter or adoption event and be sure to allow sufficient time to interact with these wonderful animals so that the right one is brought home. I have no doubt that you will find the perfect “gift”, or should I say they will find you!

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