MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Pets make great holiday gifts, if you know exactly what you're getting into. Pet adoptions are on the rise this time of year at Grand Strand Humane Society, but they're urging you to take adoptions seriously. There is an overpopulation of homeless pets and the holidays get a lot of animals into homes. But unfortunately, many don't stay there, because many people don't fully understand what it takes adopt an animal.
Remember that choosing an animal is a big decision. Instead of bringing home an animal right away, consider putting together and wrapping an "adoption kit" to open on Christmas Day. Fill a box with toys, a bed, a leash, a collar, food, treats and a gift certificate for adoption fees at your local shelter. Then, make an event of visiting the shelter to find your next best friend.
"Realize that it's a lifetime commitment for the animal and that the whole family needs to be involved in the decision," said Ashley Crocker, Executive Director at Grand Strand Humane Society. "A cat can live up to 20 years, average is around 12 to 15. A dog can live up to 15 years. Those are a big span of time to not make it a rush decision at the holidays that you think would make a great gift, they can make great gifts."
There are many animals in shelters that need a home. When thinking about getting a new pet for the holidays, first consider adoption. Then visit your local shelter. Some requirements for adoptions include being 18 years or older and showing proof that you can have pets where you live. But the application is just the first step. You then have to find the right pet for you. But making sure you the take the time to truly be ready to care for a new pet is the main step.
"We want it to be that animal's forever home," Crocker said. "The employees form an attachment to that animal when it's here. They want the best they can find for that animal and the best they can find is a home that can keep it for the entirety of its life. We don't want to see them coming back here, we don't want to hear about them going to other homes."
When you come into Grand Strand Humane Society or any shelter looking to adopt, there will be an application you must fill out. You will also talk to an adoption counselor to help find you the right pet.
Getting a pet isn't just a holiday gift, it's a life time commitment.