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Companion Animals are NOT Presents

by Nancy Smith Seigle

Ahhh … the holidays!

Doorbells ringing, loud music playing, noisy new toys, games and families making merry can turn an even quiet household into total chaos this time of year.

And, while those heart-tugging videos or DVDs in which fluffy puppies in red bows appear under the Christmas tree may tempt us, hard statistics show giving a companion animal as a holiday present is a terrible idea.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), many “present” animals, by January, will have joined the more than 6 million that enter shelters in the U.S. every year.

Just like all the pretty wrapping paper, the novelty and joy of a new pet wears off pretty quickly and owners are left realizing there’s a whole lot of responsibility to welcoming a new member into the family.

Giving pets as holiday gifts to children or adults can cause real problems. Households considering a new pet need to honestly assess if they have the time, money and energy to handle all that comes with pet ownership. Consideration has to be undertaken as to if it fits into their lifestyle and do they have the will to commit to a relationship with a new pet that could last 20 years, do they have a connection to their new pet. When given as a present, the new owner did not have a choice to take on these new responsibilities and often will surrender their new “present” to local rescues and shelters.

If a household truly feels they are ready to commit to giving an animal a lifetime of love, veterinary visits, housetraining, food, treats, toys, bedding, exercise, playtime, etc., then the best option is to adopt, with all family members meeting the new addition prior to adoption.

Reliable animal shelters or rescue groups can help guide future pet owners to the best possible match for their families. Many different breeds and species are readily available for adoption and essential research will assure a good fit for any household looking to love up a companion animal.

More About Our ‘Pittie’ Friends

For those looking to offer a forever home to the perfect rescue dog, look no further than a pit bull. Historically, the it was considered a generic name covering a variety of breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bulldog.

Today, we can find any number of different breeds within the pit bull DNA grouping available for adoption. Sadly, the pit bull has been on the receiving end of some very bad press. High-profile stories about dog fighting rings and deadly attacks have led some to erroneously believe the dog group is vicious by nature.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Pit bulls are extremely affectionate, loving and devoted animals. For those looking for a real snuggler that likes to cuddle, wiggle and give you kisses, look no further than the pit bull. They are smart, easy to train and have a ton of personality. They are great with kids and are natural caretakers. Low maintenance and healthy, be sure to give the pit bull consideration when picking one’s next fur baby.

Holiday Gift Ideas

People that want a gift to open during the holidays for the “wanna-be” or “soon-to-be” pet owners, wrap up a nice collar and leash or create a gift basket filled with pet goodies. A gift certificate is always a good option. They can even be purchase from an adoption center—to use after the holiday season.

Pet ownership is a huge responsibility that can bring a lifetime of joy and love if approached with proper respect and care for all sentient creatures.

Happy Holidays … And Remember to Spay and Neuter!

A few local shelters and rescues

Homeward Bound Shelter -

Gloucester County Animal Shelter

Voorhess Animal Orphanage –

Animal Welfare Association –

Burlington County Animal Shelter –

Burlington County Animal Alliance –

South Jersey Rescue –

You can also look on you will find every breed and age dog available in your area.



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