Understanding the gift of an animal for Christmas

- With less than two weeks left until Christmas many of us are still looking for that special meaningful gift and no doubt some of you will settle on a dog or a cat.

Bringing home a forever friend can be an amazing decision but it also creates an interesting question especially if you go to a shelter.  Bill Lombardi of Gloucester County Animal Shelter says too many people make impulse decisions during the holidays. 

“This time of the year you buy things maybe because they’re on sale or whatever but animals are a different thing.  They’re a commitment, they’re a live creature, that need special attention especially during this time of year.”

Along with being the director of Gloucester County Animal shelter, Bill Lombardi is an animal lover and each year they’re faced with the question, "How do you get people to understand that these aren’t just cute gifts, they’re lifetime commitments."

“A lot of people think that they’re like a present or something that they’re giving to their family. It’s not a present, it’s a living creature that needs some attention.

As we walked through and met all of the dogs and cats Bill made it clear that his goal every day is to find them homes but years ago they determined that the holiday season stress is too much so they started a policy of not allowing adoptions the week leading up to Christmas.

“As of the close of the 19th we’ll stop releasing animals. We’ll adopt it, we’ll tag the animal and they can come and retrieve it after the holiday.”

Different shelters handle holiday adoptions in different ways but Gloucester County just feels like we need to remember that these new family members require attention that many can’t give during the hectic holiday season.

“We have put a lot of thought in it and we thought that if we do this and we hold off then the animal will be given the attention that it really needs when its adopted.”

There are other shelters that do allow later Christmas adoptions. You’re adults and can make adult decisions.  They just hope you remember that the puppy or kitten you adopt Christmas 2017 will likely still be your responsibility Christmas 2027.

So by all means bring a forever friend home for Christmas and if you do, consider bringing home one of the many rescue animals that need a home.  Bill just asks that we make sure we’re making a commitment and not an impulse decision… for goodness sake.

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